Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Friday 14th August

Today is the birthday of one of my bestest friendies from primary school. At least, that’s what FB reminded me – and why the date resonates vaguely in my head. Funny how we remember things.

Funny, too, how we forget so much – at least, the details thereof.

While we are devising the performance piece, I am reminded every-so-often of some of the events during the intense time of the cancer journey. (Not sure how else to describe / refer to the time of operations and chemo etc.) Some of the things that happened seem to be a little alien.

It’s not that I have actually forgotten what happened, it’s more that going through something is, naturally, much more real and intense than looking back, or referring to it. Right now, I can say quite dispassionately that the drain was in for 33 days. At the time, though, there was nothing dispassionate about it at all. Having that plastic tube inside me and watching the evidence be sucked into the plastic concertina affair I carried around in my little bag all the time was quite a thing.

To paraphrase Evita – or, rather, to quote out of context –  ‘distance lends enchantment’ and the reality of having to deal with that as a reality all the time is quite removed from now.

In so many ways, I simply cannot believe this happened to me.

I am definitely richer for having had the experience. My life is definitely coloured in different ways because of it all. I have learnt so many things on the way and definitely do look at the world a little differently now.

That it was real, there is of course no doubt. It’s just that, to quote from The Go-between, “The past is a foreign country” and things that were so real then and had such an impact, seem to lose some of their ‘oomph’ as time goes by. It doesn’t make them any less real, though.

And it does not mean that the effect they had on me is something that will just disappear, even as it gets a little hazy through the ‘mists of time’, or the like!

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