I want to live
A dear young friend of Girlboxing has been diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. Barely 30 she is facing the kinds of challenges and life or death decisions that no one should ever have to face, never mind a person as vital and full of life as she.
It reminds me that all of us face deeply troubling and difficult problems that can be as debilitating emotionally as they are physically or quite frankly, the other way around, wherein feeling crippled by loss or depression can lead to a physical manifestation of suffering.
Cure alls for these sorts of troubles are near-on impossible, but there are ways of coping that can help find a place for laughter and smiles along side the hugely daunting task of getting through a difficult time.
So of course you know where I’m going with this in the sense of “working it out on the bag,” but more so, finding the “daily something,” the space that’s yours and yours alone can be a source of inspiration and hope to keep you going.
My Aunt was just such a person. She had every serious and debilitating disease one can have including four different cancers (one breast each and two lung cancers), two heart attacks, three strokes and kidneys that managed to function despite no registry on her blood tests, oh and the diabetes she managed to “cure” through changes to her diet.
Her philosophy for coping was simple. She’d wake up everyday and tell herself “I want to live.” This became her mantra: “I want to live.” She said this often and always, and most particularly to her doctors who got to thinking that she must have inherited the spirit of several cat colonies because she kept using up lives and coming back.
With each new diagnosis, she’d yell it louder: “I want to live.” And the same with each day after radiation treatments, chemo treatments, blood transfusions, midnight schleps to the hospital, or day-long waits in the ER. “I want to live,” she’d call me and say as we worked through the choices she had to face – all the while never missing a hair appointment or her weekly manicure. And taking care of those details, walking into her doctor’s as decked out as she could muster gave her something to twinkle about – and that made it infectious. Her doctors took on her mantra saying, “She wants to live,” thus rallying around her and giving it their best to ensure that she’d have that chance.
When she did finally pass I felt a deep and abiding sadness, but knowing that she had pushed herself to the limit of what her body could take and then some gave me a peaceful sense that she was ready to be where she needed to be. I also understood that her “daily something” was her effort to stay alive; to give herself the energy and pluck to fight each and every round to its fullest.
As well, I know that we all have that in us. It’s just a matter of finding that one space that helps us work things through no matter if it’s a potter’s wheel a double-ended bag or a simple one line statement. So whatever it is: writing a journal entry, walking a mile, learning something new or throwing nothing but lefts at a punching bag getting ready for the Golden Gloves; while your daily something won’t cure you, it sure will help to see you through.
That “daily something” or space you take for yourself is so important for balance. It’s a habit best cultivated before a crisis hits and all hell breaks loose. When devastating news comes our way, our first thought isn’t about getting into a healthy ritual. We’re too busy just surviving. But if we already have our “sanctuary,” whatever that may be, it can help to ground us as we deal with information overload and emotional upheaval.
You’re point is well taken. Beyond that, I think that given how busy we are with the normal stresses of the day, having a “sanctuary” as you call it can give oneself a moment to just “be.