Kairol and the Thankgiving holiday have inspired me to try and put words to some thoughts that have been bouncing around and changing for the last two years: am I thankful for cancer?
For the longest time I was adamant that cancer was a bad thing, that I would never choose to re-live all of this if given the chance... But now that things are mostly over and done with, I've been re-considering. When you get a certain distance out from most big Life Happenings, so much has gone down and shifted around that it becomes impossible to extricate Life Now from the Life Happening. And depending on how you feel about Life Now or Reality, as I like to call it, it's all dependent LH.
Right before I left Seattle Dinner Club did a Whidbey Island retreat. On a lovely hike along the bluff, we were discussing the happening of our 3 years together and CL said to me, "I don't want you to take this wrong, but you are so much happier than you were [before cancer]" and I realized she was right--really right.
It's hard to say whether it was cancer or just getting older. But I have come out the other end of all of this with more... confidence? It seems like the wrong word because I've always linked the idea of confidence to appearance or aptitude... but really, I feel better at life. I got pitched a doozey and I fucking nailed that sucker. And yes, luck was on my side, but it made me feel more confident about inner-Jessie and her ability to respond to trauma, to find joy and humor in adversity and to keep going.
It's kind of pointless to speculate too hard on what would have happened if I hadn't gotten sick, but I will anyway. I think most glaringly, I would have entered the 2010 class at the UW Evans School instead of waiting a year and going to Berkeley. Everything that happened that last year in Seattle: getting my first taste of being a Boss, calling an end to the Crappy relationship, being part of the Crazy relationship, making lots of new friends, being part of Jessie and Julian's Epic Spring Party Marathon, getting to mentor another fabulous year of AWESOME teenagers... all of which shaped who I am and where I am now.
But at the end of the day, I still decided to be perversely thankful for my cancer (but not anyone else's). And truly thankful for my friends and family, my health insurance, my generous employers, for all the new people it brought into my life, and mostly for the opportunity to be here and now...
And yeah, I have a paper due tomorrow which I am NOT writing because I am updating here. Sigh.
4 years ago