I heard an expression once that made an impression on me: “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man with no feet”. Lately I think I have been crying for shoes but forgot how grateful I should be that I have two beautiful feet that are fully functional. So God/The Universe (insert your own “higher power” expression) sent me a reminder. It’s funny (not in the ha ha way, but in the ironic, coincidental way) how the universe can quickly give you a reminder, a reality check, just when you need it.
This week I went for my periodic mammogram. For those unfamiliar with this form of torture performed under the guise of an xray, let me describe it. You stand, naked from the waist up, in front of a huge machine where the technician places your firm, round orb of a breast in positions where it is repeatedly stretched and sandwiched between two hard, cold surfaces in an attempt to flatten it into a crepe. It’s like having your breast in a vise. It’s tight. You secretly wonder if the slightest movement will cause your breast to be ripped from your chest. Not fun! Of course this exam saves lives and so we are grateful to have it, but I do wonder if the inventor, obviously a man, secretly designed it to exact revenge against all women due to some past heartache!
In any event, there I was, having my exam. When the exam is done, you sit in the waiting room a few minutes while a doctor reviews it. The technician usually comes out and tells me all is well, see me next year. I then get dressed and go my merry way, a little sore, yet grateful. But that didn’t happen today. Today a different, seemingly more experienced technician came out and called me back into the room for a second look. If you have ever had a medical test where the doctor says they think they see something that requires a closer look, you know how nerve-wracking that can be. The other women in the waiting room looked at me. The eyes on one woman grew huge as she watched me follow the technician. Every woman knows ‘the call back’ means potential cancer.
I followed the technician back into the room. As I waited for her to set up the machine, my mind still saw the widened eyes of the other patient. My anxiety was rising. My breasts had just returned to normal from being sore for 2 weeks, which can be a symptom of breast cancer. I had assumed it was due to menstruation but now I wondered. I started talking to myself. “Ok, calm down. Don’t get yourself worked up for nothing. You don’t know what it is or if it is anything. The woman that took the exam today really had not pressed my breasts as hard as in previous years, so maybe it was not a good picture.” I could feel my heart begin to beat harder and faster. My breathing shallowed. “Breathe. Calm down.” I was able to calm myself and get through the re-examination. I was then directed to sit in a chair in the exam room while the doctor reviewed the second set of xrays. I forced myself not to think at all and just exist in the moment. After a few minutes, the technician returned to the room and told me everything was fine and I could go home. I went into the dressing room to remove the hospital gown and put my clothes back on. I locked the door and to my surprise, burst into tears. Until that moment, I didn’t realize how harrowing an experience I’d had. I had a friend who survived breast cancer and I’d gone through the process with her. What if I had gotten a different answer? What would happen if I got sick? All the discussions in the news about health care entered my mind. I was so grateful. I got on my knees and prayed and thanked God for another chance to live my life. On the drive home, I thought about all the aggravations I had been carrying around – problems with work, perceived slights by acquaintances, problems with my teenager and the recurring anger with my ex. REALITY CHECK!!! In that moment, I knew none of that was important. The only important thing is the only thing that really matters to me in this world – my child. I made a conscious decision to simply let all the bullCHIPS go, much like a plate of food I’m done eating, and simply scrape it off my spirit and into the trash. (By the way, shout out to all those who are breast cancer survivors who and are living through this every day. I’ve seen the struggle up close and personal — more than once — and I know it is not easy. May God bless and keep you surviving and thriving!)
In that moment, I gained clarity, I was allowed the gift of reset. I realized the perceived slights were unintended, the problems with my teenager are his struggle to grow up, every other situation is what it is (too many people with problems causing people problems!), so I shouldn’t take it personally even if some of the things that happen are personal. I choose to focus my energy on the important and sit the rest of it down and leave it to decompose and turn to dust like so much trash. As a single mom, I am so
protective of my time and energy. I abhor anything that causes me to waste either one. Why on God’s green earth had I allowed myself to slip into the darkness of throwing these precious commodities away on unimportant bullchips? I’m grateful for the chance to reset my thinking and refocus my energies!
You could do something like that too. I talk to women all the time who say they don’t feel good about themselves, they want to be more confident, have better self-esteem, have more courage, stop feeling inferior or pursue a dream. Just make a decision to do so, because it really is that simple. It sounds crazy but consider that no one is born with low self-esteem or lack of confidence. We are molded into that because someone told us either literally or figuratively that we are inferior. AND WE BELIEVED IT. Because we believed it, we acted like our belief until we became our belief. Situations change when you change your perspective. Change your mind and change your life! All these feelings or states of being are really just decisions your mind made over and over again until your heart believed it and your spirit accepted it. The thing is, only people who feel inferior themselves make others feel that way! Be that as it may, only you are responsible for your personal belief system. WE do not have to let anyone give us their low self-esteem. Decide right now that you no longer believe the lie you were told by someone who didn’t know any better or was incapable of doing better and tell yourself you are exactly who you wish to be. AND BELIEVE IT! Pretend you are that person you want to be and have those qualities you wish to have until practice makes perfect and pretense becomes reality. Embrace life. Live it as you wish. If there are toxic people around you that don’t have your best interest at heart, let them go. Surround yourself with supporters, embracers and celebrators. Let haters go. Do what you want to do. Go after every damn dream you have! Live a good, full life. Let anger, resentment and fear GO. Don’t be afraid to love and don’t be afraid to be you. Choose your truth, create your reality and have fun doing it, dammit! 🙂