We are all still here, we are all still standing, and 2012 brings with it the promise of hope.
A Little Background Info
When I was in the 8th grade I fell and sprained my ankle. Come New Year’s Eve at midnight mom had me stand up on my own two feet without the crutches because she didn’t want me to start the new year on the crutches.
What can I say? We’re a superstitious bunch.
Although we are stay-at-home folks on New Year’s Eve I always have us standing up in street clothes as the ball drops in Times Square (no jammies ‘til after midnight). I’ve added my own lil idiosyncrasy to the standing tradition; we have to go outside right after midnight even if just for a moment. Why? I don’t really know. I suppose to me it signifies health and ability.
The 365 Days of Carol Anne Project Comes to a Close
Well kids, it’s day 365 of the 365 Days of Carol Anne project. Today brings this yearlong project to its conclusion. All totaled, I posted 318 photos over 365 days, that means I posted 87.1% out of a possible 100%. Not bad. Not perfect, but not atrocious. I’m both disappointed and proud of this statistic. It’s not perfect. It is however the most committed I’ve ever been to any blog project since Soapboxville began.
I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit that I’m more than a little relieved that this project is drawing to a close. I’m also a little sad to see it go. It’s not always easy to take an honest look at one’s self but it also gave me purpose, it gave me something I NEEDED to complete each day. It kept me sane, it kept me honest, it offered me a place to open my heart and mind, a place to express myself. I’ll miss it but I’m ready to move on from daily introspection.
Now, on to the hard part …
I started this project as a way to learn to love myself on the outside. In this particular endeavor I failed quite miserably. I’m still rather self-conscious. I’m especially self-conscious of my seriously messed up and missing teeth. This horrifying problem has nothing to do with my cancer. My hideously messed up and missing teeth are from a lifetime of soda drinking and an intense fear of the dentist. I will eventually have to address this problem. I’m a little braver now but there is a mountain of medical bills to be paid before we add dental bills to the ever-growing pile.
On the positive side of the equation I don’t hate the very thought of the sight of myself anymore. Yes, I’m bald. Yes, my teeth are a hot mess. Yes, I’m overweight. At some point during these last 365 days I found compassion for myself. I don’t know if that’s the right word to explain it but I don’t loathe my reflection in the mirror anymore. It’s a start, I guess. When I look at myself now I can say things like, “I like the shape of my eyes” and “I like my smile” and “I have nice skin”. I suppose then this project has not been a total failure. I’m still a work in progress.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Blog Post
Although this started as a way to learn to love myself on the outside I may have instead learned to love myself on the inside. Before I got sick, before the 4 surgeries, before the countless doctor appointments and medical tests I felt small. I did not have a voice.
At some point in my life I just accepted that I was not as smart, pretty, or popular as others around me. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I’d let anyone make me believe I was less than anyone else, but I did. I’ve spent my life trying to blend into the woodwork, trying not to stick out, trying not to be heard.
I grapple with a fear of success that is much bigger than any fear I harbor of failure. It was not until 2 weeks ago when I started rereading this year’s blogs that I saw myself clearly for the first time in a very long time; perhaps ever. I am not weak. I am not defeated. I am strong and I am human, I’ve stumbled along the way, I’ve fallen apart and put myself back together on several occasions but I did not give up. There were days I wanted to, but with the love and support of family and friends I picked myself up and soldiered on. I’m a survivor. By God’s grace and the power of prayer I am cancer-free as I write this to you.
I AM ALIVE
I AM CANCER-FREE
I AM ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
I HAVE FOUND MY VOICE
I AM NOT WEAK
And so my dear ones 2011 and the 365 Days of Carol Anne project draws to a close here. I am putting 2011 square in the win column. Thank you all for accompanying me on this journey. I couldn’t have made it here without each and every one of you. I love you all. Here’s to a healthy, happy, beautiful 2012 for all of us!
With much love and great affection,
~ Carol Anne