Friday, April 21, 2006

Getting It Off My Chest

Over the last wee while I have taken it upon myself to do a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself. Whew. That is some kind of hard work. And then last night I sat with a friend and shared what I had learned. The good, the bad and the very, very ugly. It is great to be heard, accepted, loved, unconditionally. It is great to get it all off my chest.

For me, and I have a hunch it true for others (although some will say they prefer to keep things to themselves), getting it off my chest is a Good Thing. Even if people like to play their cards close to their chest (and I do think I have earned the right to use all these chest metaphors, thank you very much), and I can understand the urge of it, there is a spiritual power in sharing our load, in letting someone else in, and in not doing it alone. But for me especially, let’s break that down and take a look.

For starters, “getting it off my chest”. Think about that. What was it I had on my chest? Be it words, or crazy energy or cancerous lumps I clearly needed to get it/them off, out, free from, you name it…in short, GONE! My chest was bearing the brunt, and the weight of way too much. It was the place I must have been holding it all in, storing it (for what I am not sure, safe keeping?!?). It is even obvious in my body posture, curved shoulders, not hunched quite, more protecting. Protecting from what? From attention? Exposure? Visibility? All! What is with the world that I have to protect the essence of what makes me a woman, a key part of my femininity? Why do I need to hide it? Is it so unsafe out there for me, for us? And is there a way to do something about that besides surgery (and I do know an number of women who have chosen a different kind of surgery than mine for their breasts to hide their wounds behind)?

Second thing is the whole saying it out loud. And through that bold and brave action stopping keeping secrets, stopping keeping it in, stopping holding back my truth, and replacing it with speaking out and speaking up, for myself and for what I believe in. There is a way that this behaviour (the old one of not speaking out and up) is related to my femininity too. Granted to a false femininity, where I thought I ought to be dainty and demure and quiet. Quiet as in shutting up. Keeping my mouth closed and my opinions to myself. Those days are long gone, five years worth of long gone. Not that my dance with cancer is what woke me up and opened me up and got me talking. I was already on that journey before. But cancer is what had me realize that this epidemic (of both cancer and keeping quiet) is something for which I need to be spokes person, a mouthpiece, whatever you want to call it, for all the people who are still keeping it inside. Because I couldn’t keep it inside anymore. It was, literally, killing me.

Where in your life do you need to speak up, or speak out, or stand in your truth?


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