When I was 18 I played Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific" In that show there is a song titled, "A Cockeyed Optimist." At the time I was already aware that I had a basically optimistic point of view about things. Nellie sings the song during the midst of WWII and the war in the south Pacific. She is saying that she always sees the good...the beautiful day...rather than the end of the world.
Yesterday I got a phone call...a woman going through chemo and BC--she has had her first round of 8 and has always been a positive person. I believe Cancer is a gift in that it really makes you take stock of your life. What matters becomes clearer and even though the whole journey is crap, you start to make decisions about how to live your best life now.
Anyway--my friend called because she was having a blue moment...she was alone driving home from the market and was having "thoughts." When I was teaching Creative Writing and Lit I told my students about heroes having "dark nights of the soul." Every hero has them. Harry Potter has them while deciding to enter the forest.
People going through cancer treatment have them too. And they are not just once. They grab you in the middle of the night, when you sit alone in your car, when you show up to something that your kids are performing in or playing on. We get bombarded with "thoughts." It is normal, natural and bound to happen to the best of us. What makes an optimist is how long you stay in them. I started the blog...reaching out and describing my journey--with all my cockeyed optimism--helped me to deal with my "dark nights of the soul."
We are entitled to have them. My chemo nurse Mary Lou told me I got to have a "pity party" for 15 minutes then I had to get on with my life. (that was when I wanted to have surgery but got a breast infection that put off everything and I was having 13 days of daily antibiotic infusions).
Christopher would always tell me not to get into it--but once I got cancer he would say---You're entitled. He had faith I would snap out of it. Seeing my kids after school or first thing in the morning, taking a walk, driving in my car singing at the top of my lungs, singing the entire cast album of Mamma Mia with my girls, hitting the bag in the gym, watching junky tv, reading people magazine,reaching out to someone with cancer, hugging my dog, kissing my husband, hugging my kids, going shopping(bad for the checkbook good for the soul) , knitting, exercising, emailing my friends and writing my blog all helped. I never stayed there for long.
I don't know how many times I have been up in the dead of night or early in the morning writing to get it out but you can check the times on my blog posts and see many in the before 5 am hours.
Our friends and family want us to be fine. So we are. Anyone who has not been in the tunnel would not understand. They say---hey you got it all--things are good --they have treatments for you--and all this is true and we optimists are always going to get up again. But we sometimes need permission from someone to allow those feelings to fly, if only for 15 minutes.
So let 'em fly and send them on their way(to quote another Nellie song) they have no place here--they are just passing by as we head through the tunnel.