I refuse to count down days right now, although in the back of my head I am doing just that until the biopsy happens. I have not felt like writing this week, mostly because of the weather. The extended stay of winter, now creeping up on seven months of snow (and unusually big snow at that) is taking a toll on me. I like snow, but I am officially tired of it. I miss the sunshine and warmer temperatures. I just want to be able to go outside without a dozen layers on. It seems a lot to ask.
I digress. I have been thinking a lot about writing here, even though I have not actually made it that far since my last post. I have been thinking about what and how I want to write about everything. Normally, I don’t think about these things. When I write poetry or stories or launch into a novel, I don’t plan. I just write. However, now, I feel like I should do a think on it because writing about my personal experience with breast cancer, hospitals, treatments etc and how it impacts and effect my life, my children, my friends and family could be taken out of this context – a girl from rural Eastern Ontario, transplanted in South Western Ontario, dealing with a fairly serious health challenge, and trying to muddle through, to being something else.
It is that ‘otherness’ that concerns me. How many times have I seen, read, witness, heard about women around the world, sharing their personal journey and then be ostracised for what they are sharing. The sharing has been seen as attention-getting, obscene, too graphic, too intimate, too whatever else. It begs that I ask myself the question, who am I writing for and who will be reading? How much do I care about who is reading and what they might think or what their reaction/ opinions might be? I am not sure.
To be perfectly honest, when I am writing about my ordinary, personal, day to day experience, I am writing for myself. I am writing to myself. Sure, I am writing in a public space, where anyone who finds themselves intrigued or curious can stop by and have a read, but when I write, I am still writing for myself. If someone reactions, positively or negatively, that is secondary to my own harsh inner critic. Just the nature of the beast.
The next question that percolates up to the surface is why do I want or need to write about this? I think others, who are writing about their own personal story and journey, whether it is connected with a battle with cancer or is just a daily journal of what is going on in their life, the reason for writing is pretty much the same, they have a story to share, as do I. The reactions to those stories may serve as a cautionary tale for me, but I still feel compelled to write. It is a release to be able to write about everything and nothing. Today, I feel the need to write about the process, tomorrow I may need to write about my abject fear of large needles and how I am going to handle having one go into my boob next Wednesday, but whatever I feel to write about, I do for the purpose of getting it out of my head. Actually I write because I need to get out of my head.
My head is a big house, much like my soul, and wandering all of those rooms can be a bit confounding and troubling. Writing helps bring a bit of reassurance, resolution, rethinking and challenge to whatever might be giving me the business, which brings me to the last question I am going to address this morning…. to what end? what is the real purpose? To be fair I think I already answered this question with my ‘why’ answer but I think what is niggling at me is a rant someone shared recently on a social media site. The gist was to stop encouraging awareness and educating people about breast cancer and to directing money to research and development – because awareness campaigns have a consumer side to them. So now, I am asking myself, am I writing to be an awareness campaign? Absolutely not. I have no desire to teach anyone or advise. I suppose this is where the warning comes in – there is a very wide range of opinions, passions, views on the subject of breast cancer, care and anything else connected to it. I am not writing an opinion piece. I am not writing to be an authority on any topic. I am just writing. I just want to share my experience, my story and if something comes out of that to help someone else do their own investigation or frees them to write/ share their own story, then great. Because of the backlash I have seen with others who have wanted to do the same, I find myself needing to express that caveat to explain what I am doing here. In the end, I am not a preachy person. I am not so arrogant to believe that my personal experience, even so far, will be similar to anyone else, and what I choose to do is the ‘right’ way. There are no right ways and there are a million different paths.
And after all that blah blah, I may not write another thing for a long while. We shall see!