I remember feeling amazed to learn that there is a different formulation for chemotherapy depending on the type of cancer. I thought there was just a Chemo Recipe, and you got more of it or less of it depending on how advanced or widely spread the cancer was. I was also surprised to learn that where the cancer is found, is not necessarily the type of cancer it is. For example, my mother’s cancer was found in her lungs, but it originated in her ovary, so it was Ovarian Cancer and required the correct chemicals to effectively address it, it was not lung cancer, ever. In her lungs is where it made itself known. If her Treatment Team had not been dedicated and expert at understanding the source, they may have been less effective at addressing it so completely, leaving her Cancer-Free in barely 6 months of treatment for Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer. If they had just treated it as the cancer they first saw in the lungs, as lung cancer, it would never have been cured. They had to name it(correctly) to tame it!
Learning and growing have always appealed to me and so I look at most situations as an opportunities to expand what I think and believe. Expansion is key, anything less is painful to my very soul. Anyway, I was thinking of how much I think about the dynamic with my mother and my female sibling and its devastating fall-out. And I guess, because it was insisted for so long that nothing was wrong or that if something was wrong it was me. And the cure for that would be—what?? that I die, disappear, become someone else. It felt hopeless and there was nothing wholesome or helpful to be learned from those shared ideas and beliefs. As with Cancer, a headache, acne, or a sprain, before “the thing” can be effectively addressed/resolved and mended, the source must be identified and understood. There must be the intention first to do that. In my family, I am the only one willing to consider that my existence and personality are not the sole cause for our family darkness and dysfunction, that the abuse and secrets all begin and end with me–that I have single handedly created, caused or imagined them…and am at the same time an asshole for not being over it all already, if it did ever happen or exist.
In my recovery process, I am offered the tools and wisdom to look at my life– seeking an understanding of what is my part, what can I change, what can I accept, and what I am powerless over. I am able to now see that I am and always have been worthy and lovable. Though, I did learn and practice some very unlovable behaviors, which program has helped me to correct and amend. Wisdom(Good Orderly Direction) directs me to steer clear of anyone suggesting I am difficult and impossible to love. An individual’s limited ability to choose kindness as a value, has nothing to do with me. I have learned that any person who is knowingly harmful to another has something wrong with them—but it is up to them and God to help them see and correct that. I now see that there is a notable difference between displeasing someone and diminishing someone. I had believed that they were the same and that the first caused the second. I am guilty of both. Guess what: is not my job to please (accept with my employer-where literally, that is my job), to be understood or to accept mistreatment under any circumstances. SO– what is my job: to keep my words and actions in line with my principles and my program. I am a work in progress. In order to heal, I must show myself the love I need and deserve. Because the stronger my self love and self care, the less what others do matters to me. Some behaviors are hurtful, no matter how I look after myself. Like, betrayal just hurts, no matter what, but program tells me I have choices about how I handle and protect myself with those who are disloyal and righteously harmful. I now see that other people’s behavior reflects their insides, their souls and values and capacity for goodness as well as their mental state, and is in no way a reflection of me and mine. This is an immense relief. No joke. Feeling responsible for all bad feelings, mental health, and behaviors for myself and the people around me, was a miserable existence. Understanding where I stop and others begin helps me strengthen my resilience, boundaries, self esteem and also my own accountability. I cannot blame another for losing my shit or having an unfortunate reaction. I can own and correct my behavior and detach from those who avoid reflection and self correction by shame shifting. Blaming is what some people do to avoid the work of changing themselves and growing. Those people are not my people.
This sort of spiritual work does require that I intentionally reflect and consider deeply what has happened and is happening inside and around me. It is not an obsession, though it often
feels otherwise. My daily commitment to recovery is the most important thing I do, as a mom, a girlfriend, an employee, a friend, a citizen of a world I intend to belong. Sharing helps me to sort, heal, and release the confusing messages of my upbringing. Thank you for being here. I feel you.
Funny, that today, I started to worry that this is all I think of, but it is not. It is a life long course of study that requires deep thought and reflection. I have committed more deeply to this than anything else in my life. I must write, share, connect, laugh, and cry together with those who are also doing THE WORK. It is part of the process. I love recovery life and community. It is the best part of the holidays and all of the days, really. Without recovery, I would unknowingly perpetuate some pretty messed up cycles and dynamics. I get to unlearn one day at a time with and for my children. Everything for them! BOTH of them. All of the days.Much Love,
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