I was in a store this past week and overheard a conversation that made me stop and take stock of my life, my attitude, and my perspective. From what I overheard there were two ladies who hadn’t seen each other in a while. The first woman complimented the second’s new hair style. That’s normal right? But Second’s response was the turn that floored me. She thanked First then said, in the most upbeat and positive voice, “It’s been quite a year. After a double mastectomy and chemo, I decided to go natural.”
Her words alone were enough to take my breath away. But the way she said it. With confidence and style. Like breast cancer had been just a small speed bump in her life that made her change her mind about how she styled her hair.
She didn’t talk about how the chemo made her sick or the months that she had been bald. She didn’t talk about the pain of surgery, how it felt to have a part of her removed, or having to buy new clothes or a bra that would fit her prosthesis.
I was touched by her attitude of positive. Of seeing her new her hair-do as the part of her experience that she wanted to focus on. I walked away wanting to be more like her.
Having been diagnosed with RA, I make changes everyday. I have clothes I can’t wear because they make me hurt, or they’re too small after so many rounds of Prednisone. I own shoes that I can’t wear due to the changes in my feet. I spend most of the year cuddled up to a heating pad and everyday I’m confronted with a new task that I can no longer accomplish.
When people I know see me out, they ask me why I’m not working any longer. I tell them that I have RA and I couldn’t stand to be on my feet so much any more. Then there are explanations and the conversation never ends up like the one I overheard. That makes me sad.
So I have made a decision: From here on out, I will say that I quit work to write. I will focus more on the positive and what I still have to give. The things I can do instead of the things that I can’t. Then maybe someone who needs the inspiration will overhear the conversation and find their own way to the positives they need in their life. And hopefully I can pay back to someone else what Second gave me that day.