A year ago I discovered I had cancer. It took six months for shock to pass (aside from the physical recovery from major surgery), and a following four months of crazily energetic distraction to finally acknowledge how much fear, grief, loss, trauma & pain my family and I have gone through. I am finally beginning to process those feelings and its taking everything I have (almost). I emerge from a sleepy crying, snotty ball to teach yoga, to walk my dogs and to be with my family when they need me, all of which I love, and all of which are more than enough for me to deal with.
Before cancer I was a Bullshit Addict. I knew how to paint on a smile, I knew how to save you from my pain, my grief, my suffering and my desperate loneliness. I was a hardcore pretender. Bullshitting like my life depended on it, drowning my sorrows in smiles, and parties, and booze and home furnishings. Before cancer I knew how to say ‘I’m fine’, when you asked me how I was. Before Cancer I was disconnected from myself and from you and the world around me. When I lied to you about how I was, I was hiding from myself and I was asking you to hide from yourself too so that neither of us had to face the truth of our losses and our suffering. I vibrated with a fractured nervous energy which came from my torn up soul, my seething, lost, lonely, raging, desperate soul. I drowned my sorrows in Bullshit until I successfully stopped feeling anything. Underneath the fake smile and pretence, behind the Instagram posts, inside the well-dressed shell of a woman I became, I was screaming ‘someone help me’, ‘someone take it all away’. But we all decided that it would be someone else’s job to do that because we were just not able to face the blinding, painful truth, until Cancer came along and made it all so desperately, painfully real.
Today my tears are cleansing, and the tired and snotty puddle of me is just as OK as it need to be right now. When I don’t paint on a smile to save you from my pain anymore, it’s not because I’m bitter or not coping, it’s because I’m telling you the truth, it’s because this is what coping looks like. It’s not because I’m ‘negative’ I’m simply doing my best to quit my addiction to bullshit and keep it real. I do not need to be saved, soothed, suppressed, placated, medicated, or fixed. I am already all of those things by being broken and being honest with myself and you about it. It looks like a war zone at the end of a long and bitter war. It’s ravaged, ugly and devastating to see, but there is truth here and there is love and if we roll up our sleeves we can at least be free of suffering, despite appearances.
As a recovering Bullshit Addict I need to remove myself from Bullshit. I am on the wagon. So don’t tell me you’re fine when you are not, support my recovery by sharing your truth with me, the joys, the sorrows, the pain, the grief and the love. Enable me to be my best most real self, by being yours too. Pretending only drives the hot and seething loneliness deeper. Pretending is what disconnects us from ourselves and each other. Lets reconnect with truth, because it’s a strong and honest foundation to build on.
“Pretending is like wearing an armour with the spikes facing inward” (said my friend Sam today).
Wearing our spikes on the outside does not look pretty, and it does not conform to the social status quo, it’s braver, and stronger than that. Sharing our stories is what connects us. Sharing our losses and our pain is what makes us human family. Sharing the love and the sorrow and the hurt and the struggle is what makes us collectively stronger and is what heals us and frees us all. Do not diminish your suffering because you perceive someone else to be suffering more than you, it only diminishes theirs too. Pain is pain for all of us. Sorrow is sorrow, joy is joy and the only difference between us is the experience we have which points us towards these feelings.
Standing in my own messy truth, I am stronger and braver than I have ever been. My Name is Lauren, I am a recovering Bullshit Addict.