Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 4th April

Humans are funny creatures. In many ways, we crave attention, I think, yet, in others, we want to be simply left to be ourselves.

I go through phases of almost desperately wanting someone (or more than someone) to understand how very hard this cancer thing hits me and still hangs over me – mostly because no-one else really can. Only another survivor will come close to understanding and, even then, they won’t be able to completely know how I feel, simply because they are not me. It seems so incredibly weird and almost unfair that life for everyone else slips back into normal as the threat of the cancer and the horrid process of the treatment has been done with, but I literally have to live with the results and the ‘sword of Damacles’ feeling forever.

At the same time, though, I am so incredibly grateful for not having been treated like a fragile patient throughout the process – and for simply being accepted as being myself, now too (although I have felt less than that at times 🙂 ). The worst thing that could be done, I think, would be to treat someone with cancer with kid gloves and not encourage them to do what they can and to let life help them to battle the disease / condition.

A strange, dual-edged sword kind of situation.

It all makes me feel horribly selfish, put like that. Of course the whole cancer thing has been about me, but about everyone else around me at the same time. It’s just that the effects feel so long-term at times and I need, at times, to be reminded that others understand that too. Which, of course, they do 🙂

Oupa asked me the other night if it is all over. I was explaining to him that, in part it is definitely done, but in other, less threatening and less obvious, ways it never will be.

That’s just how it goes, I suppose.

And how many other people out there in the world are in a similar situation? How many similar / other conditions / experiences shape how people see and experience life – of which we are not even aware? Or that we may be aware of if we take the time to reflect, but that we are precluded from doing, because we are so busy living our own lives?

Is that not selfish in its own way? Or is it just that that is what life is about: everyone has crisis moments (long or short), during which they come to the fore in other people’s eyes, which cause us to put aside ourselves to an extent and for the time the person needs the extra support. Then, when the immediate crisis period is over, we allow ourselves to be subsumed back into our own lives, with ongoing pressures of our own, until the same person, or another, needs that extra little bit of attention.

We are not selfish, but just functioning as best we can in a world that is full of so much all the time.

As much as I feel the need for the attention and overt support at times, it is there all the time, just for the looking. I haven’t been, and am still not, alone in any of this. None of us are. We just have to know where, and how, to look.

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