Jane and I work today on my poem about my last day of chemo, March 7th. I was thrilled, obviously, and reading the poem today, I feel jubilance. I am so grateful I had time to honor the turtle in me, so now, I can hop like a Kangaroo, or Tigger in Winnie the Pooh.
Jane wrote today about that place in the middle, wondering what drives one on to finish the race, or the challenge.
We spoke then of why I do not identify myself as a cancer survivor. I have decided not to do the fashion show. It is not me. I am happy to give money to support the cause, but I do not see myself parading along a runway. I do not need a free leather jacket. I have, in many ways, returned to who I was, with a new confidence, zest, gratitude, and awareness that there are a multitude of cells in me, and they each have their own pace, but my overall unity is not on the stage. My support is within, the ground, and not balanced on a board, floating in the air.
Perhaps, another reason I don't feel a need to claim or display this accomplishment is that I felt I was pulled along, like a car on a track in a car wash. I did not do this alone. You were there, as well as a multitude of others. I realize now that the fashion show is for those multitude of others, so they can see the rewards of their work, a human being, who might be dead, now walking, because of their devoted work, confidently upon a stage in fashionable clothes. Hmmm! Another way to see. I could re-consider though I believe now it is full. Many people want to model the lives they have won, and good and great for them.
So, to return to my original thought, when I was dumped out at the end of my personal car wash, I needed some time to get out of neutral and drive again, and yet, I remember beginning radiation on a day a woman was ending. I congratulated her, and she said, ungraciously, I thought, "For what. All I did was show up." I said showing up was a very big thing, since I certainly had made an effort to get myself there that morning, and not just stay in bed, or fly to Mexico. I felt her achievement as she did not, and, perhaps, now, I am backing away from my achievement. How do we balance honoring what we have done, and moving on, evolving? Is that perhaps the eternal question, at least in the finite world?
I do not want to be seen as a survivor. I back away from that. I don't see myself continuing with programs for "cancer survivors," so, what is that about for me. We moved often when I was a child. I was happy to move on. I was not raised to hold onto the past, to cling to what was, and I see that as a positive, and yet, where, also, is the place to honor what we've done, or is the honoring simply in who we are now? I think so.
When Jane went through the "Untraining," a big piece of it was discussing those who come here bringing their traditions, and those who are happy to discard them, and let them go. In this trying to better understand people from Asia, I now understand some cling to an Asian ideal, and others dismiss it completely. Obviously, there are many inbetween.
I am trying to find a balance for myself in this, to be with all I have gained, and I have, and not cling, to what gave me these new tools. I want to honor what I have been through, and it is not my identity. As I say this, I think perhaps I am not so into identity. I don't like to send a bio with my poems. I want my poems to stand on their own. They come to me. I give them to you. There is no ego involved for me in that. It just is. I am. I am here, a collection of cells on a beautiful morning, given the gift of contemplating that I am a group of cells on a beautiful morning. I give thanks for that.