I am important, I count …

These are powerful words. It took me a long time to understand them, to accept that they applied to me too. I like them because they have no caveats or criteria; they belong to every living thing.

I grew up believing that worth had to be earned. It came with hard work, or hair color, or weight, or any other number of inane benchmarks that have absolutely no meaning whatsoever outside of the construct of social or societal norms. Move somewhere else and they change; live long enough and they’ll change right where you are. It took a tango with breast cancer for me to really look at myself and accept my own value. My one regret … that it took me so long.

I’m not alone in this, the benchmarking of my self worth against what I have accomplished, how my physical appearance conforms to what is considered attractive in our society, or who does or doesn’t like or love me. I remember when I was single, feeling completely unloved and alone, giving no thought at all to the family and friends who adored me. (If it sounds familiar, own it, shame-free.) It took cancer for me to really see the people around me and appreciate them.

Throughout my life I have always felt too tall, first too big and now too thin (societal norms have changed, I have not; I’ve been the same size since college.) I have had few close friends and always felt like the odd man out. My mother has been quick to point out that it is my own doing. But is it? Research shows that some people are just like that. Some have, more so need, gaggles of friends to be happy, others are content with a handful of close friends. Some like/need to be social to be fulfilled, others prefer/need to be alone or with one companion. It’s trying to be something you’re not that messes with you. If you are uncomfortable in the setting you think you should be in, self doubt creeps in and right behind it personal ostracism. If you aren’t content with and accept yourself as who you are, how can anyone else? Forget about trying to fit into a mold the world wants to cram you into and just be yourself.

I’m an odd duck, and I’m the first one to admit it. I like being this way, though. It suits me. Yesterday, high overhead, a momma bear tickled the belly of her cub, his four cloudy paws pointed to the heavens as he giggled in glee. My world is pretty dang fun. I see fantastical images every where I turn and a story beckons from every nook and cranny. What’s not to like? It took me a long time to get to this place. It wasn’t an easy road, and sometimes not a particularly happy road, but every stop along the way had a purpose and was worth it. It made me who I am today, and that’s pretty darn great.

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One Comment

  1. I have just started your book and it is really resonating with me. I am a 15-year MBC warrior on the front lines of treatment. I’d love to share my story with you. I don’t know if you do that or if you’re bombarded with survivors stories but there are a lot of people out there that draw hope from what we are going through and surviving.

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