Category: Women’s issues
Fear is padding around on little cat feet in the lives of too many people I love.
The first email I opened on Tuesday morning was from camparigirl. We’d had a conversation a few nights before about managing the disquiet we felt about a future that suddenly seemed so unpredictable and malevolent.
“Let’s embrace the possibility of possibility”, we’d agreed. “Look outward with optimism. Can only help. We’re all going to die at some point anyway – may as well live until then.”
I have been inhabiting a kind of limbo for quite some time now. Yes, the cancer diagnosis contributed to this feeling of suspension, and I realized it would take some time before I could hit the reset button but, if I put my honesty hat on, I will have to admit my life felt purposeless long before the cancer.
I was laying on the sofa yesterday after a messy attempt at making chocolate truffles. It was 39C/104F outside and only a few degrees less inside the house. But for some reason I had felt I should get this done right now. So I did.
Truffle making requires cool. I should have waited until evening – or, I should have had the fans on full bore, moving the dribbles of cool air around. But I didn’t – I attempted to make the truffles in high humidity, with only one fan blowing (because I should be conserving electricity) using the wrong chocolate and marscapone (because I had it to hand and should use it up). As a result it was a shambles.
I have decided do stop dyeing my hair. Not a popular decision if my (informal) friends and family poll is anything to go by. But I remain steadfast because I have my reasons:
– it costs over half of one month’s salary across a year
– my hair looks good for three weeks then starts to resemble raffia
– the dye process takes over two hours to effect, with another 45mins for the cut: that much time in a salon makes me antsy
– no-one is fooled as to my age.
My stepchildren, when they were much younger, used to tell me I was weird and yes, I did not fit the mold of the suburban mothers they were surrounded by: I did not drive a minivan, I cursed every school sale that filled our house with more gift wrapping paper we could possibly need, and my healthy after practice juices and snacks were gloriously vilified. Under that perceived weirdness, I came to realize they were rather proud of having an eccentric “mother” who made mac and cheese from scratch, who insisted on working outside the house and whose wardrobe was pretty cool.
So a couple of challenges have presented themselves over the past days in NYC. Realisations about ourselves that neither of us had anticipated. Nor welcomed. Proof that no matter how much we may say the opposite – things have changed. We are not the women we once were.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer in October is a double curse: it’s breast cancer awareness month, the time of the year when pink ribbons are trotted out, sob and inspiring stories fill the airwaves and surgeons are paraded on radio and tv to, in effect, market their hospitals. It’s inescapable. And yes, I am very aware.