I have been thinking a lot about tiptoeing- maybe because I have been doing a lot of it lately.
I tiptoe around my family and friends, because I am at times unsure of how to relate to them.
I tiptoe around my making plans, and looking into the future, because I am scared that it will all fall apart.
And most recently, I tiptoe around what it means to be in remission, because I am terrified that if I celebrate it- it will be taken from me.
So I tiptoe.
Maybe this is ok. Maybe this is a thoughtful way to approach life right now. Perhaps I need to slowly feel things out, gradually reemerge, and learn to trust again.
One could argue that by tiptoeing- I am not standing still- and therefore I am making progress. Right?
When I first started this battle in December, I remember hearing about the refraction period that occurs for survivors once they enter remission. For 29 years I have been on a particular trajectory, one that certainly had a number of twists and turns but overall was somewhat predictable. Granted I could never have anticipated the success and failures that have ensued in my lifetime, but relatively, the high's and lows haven't been anything extraordinary. I am not saying my life has been average- it has been far from that- but overall the obstacles and triumphs I have faced have been within the realm of "normal".
Cancer at 29 is just not normal.
On December 20th, 2010, the life course I was on changed forever. The person I was up until that point is still here- somewhere- but undeniably I have since been fractured. As I try to gather the shards and put them back together, I am realizing that all of these pieces make up a new whole- a whole that I do not yet recognize but am starting to. Maybe instead of thinking of myself as fractured, as broken, as in pieces, I need to think of myself as layered.
This last round as I tiptoed back into relationships, plans, dreams, and remission, I found myself experiencing an unexpected lightness and inner calm. I felt in some ways as if my new self was being unwrapped or unveiled.
Perhaps if I continue to tiptoe, and not sprint, I will be able to further expose what lies beneath, and really understand what it means to heal and grow.