I've been thinking a lot about that presentation. I know that part of it is that I am a bit of a perfectionist, and I do not like myself very much when I do not meet my own standards. Immature, probably, but it's my nature. Funny thing is that if I met my self, feeling like a failure, agonizing about what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done differently, I'd be the first one to try to soothe the person. "You worked hard on this. You tried. Learn from it so that if you do it again, you'll be better at it. Or, if you never do it again, that's okay too. You tried." That's what I'd be saying to myself.
October is a challenging time of the year for me. There are reminders that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everywhere you look, there are pink ribbons and pink merchandise. Even the comic section was pink, with pink ribbons every where. Hundreds of times, I think "Oh, yeah. I had breast cancer..." and it surprises me a little.
I guess my point is this. I wrote a column on breast cancer. I did so last year as well, and I think that it is important, to urge women to be vigilent about their health. Also, I'm so eternally indebted to so many kind people. It is a chance to acknowledge, again, the kindness of those days. That presentation, though, that was different. I thought the talk would be maybe a half hour or so. It never entered my mind that I'd be talking for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I realized that I would have to lengthen that talk. I went back through my blog for more material. I found it, of course, but it was also quite unnerving to be rereading those days. Reading about the day that I cut my hair off, alone in my bathroom on Thanksgiving morning. About the neupogen shots (I reckoned that there were 54 of them. Probably more, though. At one point, I seem to remember that I was on a 10 day stretch, and then it got cut back. There were stories that went with people that are no longer of this world, and that made me a little sad reading those. There were frustrating times too, and I still don't understand some of those days. It was hard to read how Tim and I struggled, initially.
On and on it went. I thought of nothing but this presentation for several days, as I also tried to keep up with school work and housework and all the other stuff. It became a struggle, because the more time that I spent looking back at those days, the more I was not comfortable reliving that. I did not want to look back. I began to dread sitting down at the computer to work on the thing. I began to dread the presentations even more.
Last night, after Bonnie told me how glad she was that I was past all of that, and that she'd followed my column closely during those days, and that she'd been touched by some of the things that I'd written. She said, simply, "You are a very good writer." Her sincerity touched my heart.
I thought about it after she left. We all have hard periods in our life. Times that we do not want to revisit. Emotions that can become overwhelming. Cancer was that for me. Maybe I'm just a big baby. Maybe it is too soon. I don't know. Whatever the cause, I know this one truth about myself. When I think too much on those days, it makes me sad. It makes me afraid. It makes me nervous. I have trouble sleeping.
I wish I'd have realized all these things before the presentation, but by the time that I figured it out, it was too late for a complete rewrite. I was speaking on something that I didn't feel good about. It always shows. Always.
That hindsight: always 20/20.