I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.
This isn’t a post that I really know how to make. It can’t have been lost on you that I am an intensely private person. Even with my family I try to keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on – much to their frustration and consternation, I know. I also know that they love me very much and tolerate if not forgive my fierce independent streak. I am an eldest child, it is my job to take care of others, not the other way around. You can’t erase a lifetime of duty just because life chucks you a curveball.
I quote D. H. Lawrence above for a very important reason. I do not have much patience for pity, much less self-pity. Painted at the top of my stairs, the first thing you see when you walk into my home, is the line “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.” It’s true. Those creatures who live closest to God do not bemoan their fate. They live every moment of their lives instinctively, vibrantly, freely.
In November of 2006, at the age of 31, I was diagnosed with a high-grade, malignant, sarcoma of indeterminate origin in my left forearm. It is very much my style to develop a zebra disease rather than an oatmeal one. I do hate to be boring. I named my tumor Fred and waged war against Fred emotionally, medically, allegorically, psychically, psychologically, metaphorically, and spiritually. And they cut Fred out and Fred was dead, and life was good. But Fred left Fredlettes. In August of last year a small rebel colony was found in my lung. And they cut it out. And life was good. Last Friday, Good Friday no less, they found another rebel enclave in my lung and now I am back under the knife.
I tell you this because it seems hugely deceitful to continue blathering about poetry and fashion when there’s an elephant in my living room. I can’t ignore the elephant. The elephant necessitates scalpels and hospitals and evil nurses and bed rest and time away from you, my darling friends.
I won’t pretend that there aren’t moments when I feel angry, but I try very hard not to give into them because there are people in the world who have much harder lives than mine. There are people in pain, without homes, without food, without family or friends. I have a beautiful life, surrounded by warm, loving family and friends. I have a husband without equal who fills my life with laughter and unconditional love. My life is good and I thank God for every second.
So, having acknowledged and introduced the elephant, know that I do not feel sorry for myself, that I prefer to live as normally as I can, that I detest being molly-coddled or patronized. I’ll keep you posted, but this isn’t going to become a blog about cancer. It’s about me and there is much more to me than the elephant.
My heart is a wild thing that lives and loves instinctively, vibrantly and freely.