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Self-Expression for Someone With Cancer is a MUST

Created September 24th, 2009, filed in Stage 2 Rectal Cancer

Throughout my cancer treatment, I found that nothing less than full self-expression would do. If I needed to cry, I cried. When I found myself feeling guilty or ashamed, I shared it with someone who I knew was willing to listen without butting in, so I could express what ever was there for me, as opposed to having it pent up inside me.

When the cancer was very much alive in my body, I believe I cried every day. Not always about the cancer. Heck. It could of been in response to someone who did something wonderful for a person I don’t even know. It didn’t matter. What mattered was expressing what ever emotion was there.

Of course self-expression must be appropriate, i.e., the most obvious – the expression of anger. It would be inappropriate to repeatedly hit a chair in a hospital waiting room with a wiffle ball bat. However, it would be perfectly appropriate to swing the same wiffle ball at your mattress. Or to scream – into your pillow if you have neighbors :) or out loud if you live somewhere that you won’t worry or upset others.

That being said, I knew my experience of emotions was relentless from the perspective of how often I felt a different intense emotion throughout each day. The more pent up an emotion was, the more overwhelmed I would become if I didn’t express it. After only a short time, emotions were no longer pent up. I wouldn’t have it, unless of course it was an emotion I was yet to become aware of. There were always more layers of them to discover.

Sometimes I would be speaking to a person and decide to warn them that what I was about to share had me feeling very vulnerable. Or I would tell them I had something really intense to express so they understood in advance that what they were about to experience might be much more intense than they were used to. And everyone was really great about giving me the space to stay self-expressed. And sometimes, when I just wanted the person to listen, I would find the listener trying to fix the problem I was talking about. So, I would thank them for caring enough to share their opinion and remind them that in that particular moment, I was just looking for a listener because through speaking I am able to process what I am going through, or at least it enabled me to begin the process and provide a little clarity.

I also was very self-expressed in my blog. It began as a way to keep those who loved me informed. But as time went on, I began to share not only the physical experience & treatments, but also how I felt about it and where I was with my emotions.I imagine it was a bit confronting for some, but as time went on, realized how powerful my own deeply honest self-expression was in my healing process – mentally and physically. The blog became much more than just an update page. It was my heart wide open on the internet for all to read – no password required.

There were times I would have butterflies in my stomach because I was so nervous about what others would think as they saw into my mind and read in detail what I feared most. But each time, I hit the “Publish” button on my blog, I became a little more free from my worries about what others might think. As time went on, I found myself to have much more power in the arena of self-awareness; I had greater and greater clarity as I defined myself, really, to myself. Discovering what truly mattered verses what was just ego trying to survive.

My commitment to full self-expression had me more alive and free than I had ever been before. And it’s still who I am right now. I wouldn’t give it up for the world.