Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 19th May

Sometimes there are things that happen because of an adversity that just make you sit up and smile. Or sniff.

Dani posted a photograph of her and Sarah just after they had had their heads shaved at the Shavathon on Instagram. She was contacted by CANSA today to say that the photograph has won a competition, because of the commitment shown by her and Sarah and the way they’d gone the extra mile. I think it’s so cool that they have been acknowledged like this.

There was no sense of ‘see what we’ve done’ when they had their heads shaved. They did it most immediately because of me and their experience with my cancer, but also because of Bill and Dale and Dad. Being part of something like this at all, is very humbling.

It makes me think, again, that none of us is alone: we all exist in relation to others all the time.

I am reading my second book by Mary Stewart at the moment. She really is an author from my youth and one to whom I was introduced by Mum, so this is really part of a nostalgic journey, especially at this time.

In this particular book, the heroine keeps referring to the poem by John Donne, in which the first two lines say: “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”

He is so right. Every one of us is interlinked and inter-related in so many ways.

Later in the poem, Donne says: “I am involved in mankind.”

The heroine in the Mary Stewart book keeps quoting this line in particular. It resonates so much with me. Partly this is because it makes me think of things like Facebook and the other social media. We are all, surely, and in so many ways, involved with each other, with so many other people and what goes on in their lives. My own experience with the support I have received on Facebook during this whole cancer thing is testimony to this.

At my 50th two years ago, in my speech I said, “I inhabit communities”, which I do – I become part of the institution, club, group I am involved in pretty much to the hilt. This is just what I do and the line from Donne reminds me of that.

It also means so much in relation to the girls and their having decided to shave their heads. It also just screams about the family and their ongoing support through the whole cancer thing.

We are all, truly, involved.

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