February 19th, was the one year anniversary of me starting chemo for breast cancer. Honestly, that was truly the worst of all of the chemo treatments. The day after that first treatment, I started my period. Two days later, I had the flu. That whole first treatment kicked my ass in every way possible. I was completely out of commission for weeks.
I’ve stated before that I’m not much of a resolution person. Last year, I’d thought that maybe I’d give resolution making a shot. My wild idea was to shimmy at least once every day. Think about it! It is really hard to be grumpy or sad while you shimmy. The act of beginning shimmy preparation causes lip twitching. It is a dance that symbolizes joy.
Then the world shouted Plot twist! and changed the narrative. It’s hard to shimmy with one breast in the ground. The irony of finding the lump less than one week after resolution making was not lost on me. I know that having a breast cancer diagnosis after this particular resolution decision was very Les Misérables or Lurlene McDaniel of me.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the person I was when I was diagnosed. I’m not that different now, but I can certainly say that I’m less comfortable in my skin now. More vulnerable. It’s hard to feel safe–or, hell, even you–when so much of your physical being has been rearranged. I’m trying to be gentle with myself, but I’ve never been good at that. My toleration of this whole cancer thing is about gone. As a result, I feel like I should “just get over it” or something equally unhelpful, but I’m trying to be better! People frequently say how they wish they could go back and give advice to their younger selves. I feel the opposite. For most of my life, I’ve been pretty comfortable in my skin suit. Now, I’m waiting for the “new” Tasha to catch up to the “old” Tasha.
I’ve always loved the song “Miss Celie’s Blues” from The Color Purple. I’ve always tried to be Shug to other people’s Celie. Fuck them! We’re fabulous! or You don’t need anybody but *you* thinking you’re awesome. I haven’t been Celie since I was 12 years old, but I can feel her hiding her smile inside of me. And I hate it. Not her. It. So it’s time for me to shake my shimmy. Cause, honey, this Shug will eventually be fine.