Cancer or no cancer, have you ever struggled to fit in?
Who hasn’t, right?
Share about a time you struggled to fit in with a comment below, if you want to.
I’ll go first.
As an awkward preteen, I stood half a foot taller than my older sisters. I’d often be asked, why are you the tallest if you’re the youngest (of the sisters)?
Yeah, dumb question.
When you’re already feeling awkward for umpteem reasons at that age, getting asked a ridiculous question like that sure didn’t make me feel better about being tall. And btw, I’m not even tall. It’s just that in my family I am.
And do you remember high school?
Yeah, me too.
Flash forward a bunch of decades into my post-cancer diagnosis life.
Sometimes, even today, I feel like a cancer misfit.
What about you?
Do you ever feel like a cancer misfit?
What do I mean?
Well, let me give you some examples.
As a brca2+ person, I belong to a couple online groups that were set up to support others like me, meaning other brca+ people. I sorta fit in. I sorta don’t. Sure, I embrace that whole knowledge is power idea. But heck, I didn’t even want to find out about my potential genetic mutation at first.
(Long story. Read my memoir, if you’re interested.) I procrastinated about all that, too, and look where that got me.
Yep. Sometimes I feel like a misfit.
I am not an advocate who travels across the country attending conferences or one who deciphers the latest scientific articles as so many of my fellow advocates who I greatly admire do. I traveled across the country once to attend a Living Beyond Breast Cancer advocacy event. It was a good experience, but the traveling advocate role is not for me. I just wanna stay home. I choose to advocate via my keyboard.
So, perhaps I’m an advocate misfit too.
I wasn’t young when I was diagnosed. I wasn’t old either. Okay, not that old. Younger than the “typical” breast cancer patient at diagnosis anyway.
I am not a fan of the rah-rah, wear pink, sisterhood camaraderie sort of groups.
I have chosen never to sugarcoat my cancer experience. I believe sharing the ugly sides of breast cancer can be uplifting in a weird (but necessary) sort of way, too. Lots of people will never understand my approach or even try to understand because they don’t want to understand.
I cannot find silver linings in this cancer mess. Heck, I don’t even want to find silver linings in cancer. I still say, cancer sucks. Period.
Can we just stop trying to re-frame it as something it’s not?
And the labels. I rarely refer to myself as a survivor, in fact, the label sorta makes me cringe. And yet, even after nine years, I have yet to come up with a label that fits that non-cancer people understand.
And don’t label me as strong, brave, courageous or anything else either. I was pretty much a wimpy cancer patient. Still am.
My heart and soul is with my sisters and brothers who are metastatic, but I don’t completely fit in with them either. (Not that I want to.)
Only a handful of bloggers who were blogging when I started are still blogging.
Why am I still at it?
I am the only one of my siblings who’s had a cancer diagnosis. (Thank God.)
But still, misfit.
I know I’m supposed to be more grateful for my reconstructed chest. But honestly, I’m not all that satisfied with it.
People assume I have moved on and just shelved all that cancer stuff. I’ve moved forward, but on – that’s another matter.
I could go on and on, but you get my point.
And yes, of course, I know I’m supposed to follow my own advice and “do cancer” and cancer survivorship my way. Ditch the expectations. Ditch the guilt.
Be real. Be me. I mean, I’m always telling you, my Dear Readers, this.
And yet, why is it still so hard?
I wrote this post because like usual, I am wondering if you have ever felt the same.
If you have, please tell me about it.
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Do you ever feel like a cancer misfit?
Or maybe just a misfit in general?
When you feel like you don’t fit in or don’t measure up, what do you do?
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