A Little Mayhem, But A Lot Of Magic
Here's a little life update....
It was early August. I remember being on a rollercoaster; in the front seat. Slowly chugging up the mountain, making small talk with my doctor, trying to calm my anxious mind that knew we were about to drop. And I remember that brief moment of silence, when everyone collectively takes a breath in anticipation, as the rollercoaster slowly teeters its way to the point where gravity takes over and the ride truly begins. Even though you’re expecting the drop, it still catches you by surprise (or maybe shock is a better word) when the doctor—who wasn’t even supposed to call, because I wasn’t supposed to have cancer— calls to tell you they found bad cells.
I often wonder how at any given time one person can be receiving the most devastating, life changing news while another can be celebrating something wonderful and beautiful. I think about how this is the dichotomy of life. How both of these things are miracles, even though some miracles come disguised as nightmares. I think about how I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason, and I can understand, now, why that belief might come off as audacious. I think about how in the exact moment my doctor told me I had cancer, my spirit got up and jumped off the balcony taking all my hopes and dreams and beliefs with her. She took my light, my prayers, my color. She took all of it.
I sat in a chair in the corner of my living room with my parents and my doctor on speaker phone. I kind of tuned out after he said “cancer”. Flashes of my life flickered through my head like someone set the slideshow presentation to play at hyper-speed. It was sheer chaos. Like confetti falling in Times Square on new years eve. How can you make out any individual colors? Where do you even begin to clean up? I remember wishing I could knock down the doors of Heaven and demand an answer for this nightmare of a plot twist that, surely, someone up there mistakenly put in my story. Surely they got the wrong name. Surely God forgot to proofread the story. I stood at the precipice of the most overwhelming moment in my life and felt so. insignificantly. small. I wondered if maybe that’s why this happened. Maybe I was so small I slipped by God’s radar. I felt miniscule. nonexistent. numb.
I used to think ambition was my biggest asset. I was proud of my ability to never slow down or stop. I was proud of my ability to dream hard and work even harder. I loved to be associated with bigness. I loved when people associated my name with big energy, big personality, big dreams, and even bigger accomplishments. I got high off it. I assumed this was called “passion”. And I was its star pupil.
At the root of all this ambition, I realize now, there was always fear. Big fear. Big fears of failing, losing, missing out. Big fears of not being enough, having enough, making enough. I once told my therapist I felt “like I couldn’t succeed fast enough”. According to my timeline, I’m severely behind schedule and my parents keep aging and I’m still nowhere close to buying them that house I dreamed about. Ambition that is birthed from fear is actually just panic and I feel the difference strongly now.
Time is this weird thing that transcends logic and doesn’t really make any sense. Time looks like the lines growing on my parent’s faces, but time also looks like me finally finding the words to put this together. You can blink and 4 years have gone by. Sometimes, a single day can feel like a lifetime. Time is malleable that way. You can be a creature of habit, drinking the same tea every day for 10 years and one day, that tea gets discontinued and you’re forced to change your whole routine. Time is unpredictable that way. And I’m not really talking about “tea” anyway. Time is everything we hope to have, yet nothing that we can control and at the end of the day, no matter how many books on time management we devour, there is no information out there on how to make your timeline the blueprint the Universe uses when developing the building that is your life.
I spent so much time making plans for things I wasn’t willing to let go of. And so much time trying to find the perfect words. I realize now I set myself up for failure. Perfect is an unattainable construct and the days can turn to weeks, then months and I will almost forget the point I was trying to make. Not to mention, words that were true yesterday, can feel untrue if you wait too long to share them.
I had surgery in October, to remove three tumors from my thyroid. Doctors said they had probably been growing for years. My brain glitches to think about how long I went about my life bopping around in ignorant bliss, making rainbows and capturing sunsets and flowers all the while these bad cells were growing and multiplying inside my body; disguising themselves in subtle symptoms.
Two weeks later, I sat in a hospital room while my surgeon beamed at me over my recovery and my pathology report. They “got all the cancer out”.. “we caught it at the perfect time” he said. “No radiation treatment. No medicine for the rest of your life. Go conquer the world”, that’s the last thing he said.
In God’s timeline, everything has a purpose. Everything is always on time and on schedule; not a second too early or too late. In God’s timeline, everything is accounted for, everything we need is attainable and provided for and comes easily. I’ve learned that things that require force, or pushing, or grinding are not for me. The things that bring me peace, fill me up with light, and put color in my cheeks, are. I’ve learned that the faster I move towards the things that feel like magic, the faster things work out. The faster I get out of the way, the faster I witness magic.
Magic is real. Miracles are real. I’ve been harping about this for a while, but it has never felt more true. The money I needed to pay for surgery and my new and necessary healthy lifestyle came to me exactly on time. Payments that were 6 months late on paper, were actually right on schedule, according to God. The right doctors for me *suddenly* had openings in their schedules for me. I overcame severe phobias of needles and doctors and only God can accelerate healing trauma that deep in a matter of weeks. I know now to not question the timing. I could never have orchestrated all of the events necessary to deliver this outcome, in this way. Don’t question the timing. I am exactly who and where I need to be at all times. Be grateful for the timing. I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the goodness that has and will continue to come from this chapter. Trust the timing.
November was about peace. On the last day, a few hours before December 1st, my last stitch fell out. How poetic. I smiled as I ran my finger over the thick scar left on my neck. Proof of life. A personal tattoo, designed for me by God to show everyone: I lived. It kind of looks like a Nike swoosh. God thinks he’s really funny that way.
A few hours before, I had contemplated the idea that November had come and gone and I didn't have anything to show for it. I looked at my hands and they were empty and I panicked as I heard time ticking away. What if accomplishments aren’t always big trophies you can polish and put on a shelf? What if accomplishments also look like all of the supplements and medicines I’ve trained my body to accept over the course of a month? What if accomplishments look like overcoming your lifelong fear of needles, doctors and surgery and conquering them all within the span of 3 months? What if it looks like knowledge and research I didn’t want to learn or do but did? I’ve learned a lot of information I never knew I needed… information I never knew I would care about.
November came and went and my incision turned into a scar. My anxiety packed its bags and left me for someone better. I was the problem, I had too much light in me for it to thrive. Simultaneously, while anxiety was packing its bags into the trunk, peace moved in. Peace floated in like an angel with wings and strung Christmas lights on the mantle and hung cut out paper stars on the ceiling. Peace dusted and lit the fire place with hope and my heart felt warm for the first time since I can remember. I really don’t remember the last time I felt this safe. This light. This whole. November brought good news and a new found maturity that still hasn’t introduced herself formally but when I see her lingering around, I know I can trust her.
The leaves turned various shades of orange and red and eventually all fell to the ground. I experienced my city with a brand new set of eyes and was surprised at how crystal clear the buildings and people look when your brain isn’t so foggy all the time. I celebrated 28 years of life and baked myself a clementine cake with special ingredients. It wasn’t as sweet because I couldn’t have sugar… but it was warm and cakey and I was grateful for the little things. I see the little things a lot better now too. They don't seem as small, rather just as important as the big monuments I build for my life. I visited old friends and young friends and I asked for advice and gave some advice too. I shared lots of tears, hugs, laughs and kisses. Kissing is awesome. Almost as awesome as winning a big shiny award, which funny enough, I won 3 of in November.
But circumstances, like the leaves in November, change as time passes. I had come to believe this chapter was closing. I was on a high about how perfect God’s timing was and I believed I was living it out as I received a clear diagnosis just in time to start the new year. “New year, new me”, had never felt so enticing, so attainable, so true. I ran around the month of December making plans for how I’d return back to work and incorporate my new healthy routines into my usual routine in January; how to move forward as this new me. The healthier me, with an alkalized and cancer free body. I felt so peaceful and excited for God to return to scheduled programming: more movie jobs, pop star gigs, magazine covers, how many music videos would I direct in 2023? My list of creative ideas has been growing quietly and my ambition, anxiously tapping her foot waiting for the Universe to yell “GO!”.
I had a doctor’s appointment on Dec. 29th. I went in there thinking the most frustrating part of that appointment would be sitting in all those sterile rooms with their bland art and tan walls. But instead my doctor started talking about the size of my tumor and my pathology report. And very quickly anxiety flooded my heart as he started to talk about a completion surgery, and radiation treatment, and medication. I guess I didn’t realize there was such a difference between a tumor being 3.9 millimeters instead of 4.1. It appears that they can’t guarantee micro cancer cells didn’t touch the left side of my thyroid they left behind. It appears this may have more than one chapter… it appears I still have more hard decisions to make. It appears things might not be going back to normal as soon as I thought, or maybe ever. It appears I will not be passing GO! and collecting $200. It appears, I’m not done.
Disappointment is a heavy building that topples my heart and crushes all I’d worked so hard to build these past few months. When my friend Maya died, I remember her mom saying that some people come to this world and accomplish their mission much quicker than others. Some people, it takes them 80, 90 years, but it only took Maya 15. One way isn’t better than the other, time is just different in that way. I’ve thought a lot about death ever since Maya passed. I’ve learned to see it differently and I’ve grown to be thankful for time, which doesn’t really heal all wounds, but certainly equips you with the tools needed to keep going. On paper, death feels like the end of time. But on a spiritual level. Death is the start of something new. Something has to die in order to be reborn, and the optimist in me craves the safety of believing Maya was reborn. As a sunflower, most likely, and she visits me often and almost every time I shop at Trader Joe’s.
I moped around for a few hours and read and reread all the words I had written about trusting God’s timing and miracles. Words written from a time when I didn’t know about microscopic cancer cells, and probabilities, and guarantees, and dangerous millimeters. I wanted to burn my words in rage. I felt stupid for being optimistic. I felt I would be a fraud posting those words. I felt disappointed that things didn’t go my way. I felt angry that my doctor's appointment wasn’t the glowing review I thought I was going to get. Time brings disappointment. But time also brings hope. And hope is the light that against all odds can find its way through the cracks of any wreckage.
I'd be lying if I said I’ve vacated the disappointment in my heart. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t lease a room out to my anxiety again. She's like a toxic relationship I keep breaking up with and then welcoming back into my life, believing her lies every time. But hope is still here, burning in the fireplace, popping and crackling embers of glitter which float into my heart and bring peace. I feel peace in the angel numbers and the butterflies I see; in all the little signs and sunflowers ssthe universe continues to send me.
I hold myself accountable to the things I believe because I know I can’t conveniently believe them only when life is sweet and surrounded by Lover colored skies. What does it say about me if I don’t show up for my beliefs when life is hard and surrounded by sterile hospital walls? I want to be known as the girl with big dreams and even bigger faith. I want to hang on tightly to hope as my anchor, grounding me to my baseline: God is good. Trust the timing.
The message I received this past year told me: Trust the timing in your life and surrender the need to control, to understand, to know and figure out. There is so much peace on the other side of all of those things we can do nothing about. Use your free hands to hold onto hope. Hope is everything.
It’s frustrating to admit that I wish could have written different words. I wish I could have stopped at “go conquer the world”. But I realize now, authenticity is me showing up to say that I didn’t figure it all out. I thought I did, but I failed. That’s okay. Authenticity is me writing about all the lessons I learned this year and showing up to say that I'll still be learning them for years to come. Authenticity is me sharing that I’m scared and unsure whether I will do the completion surgery or not but showing up to say that I will try my hardest to trust that I will receive guidance to make a decision. I’m trying to be slow and gentle, even when it feels so unnatural and foreign to me. I’m trying to allow myself to rest and release the expectations I had for January, because it looks very different now. Releasing expectations doesn’t mean lowering them, it means being open minded about what they look like. I still expect miracles. I only expect miracles. Authenticity is recognizing that miracles aren’t always shiny and feel good in the moment. Authenticity is me being bold about my faith:
There isn’t a cap on miracles. Everything is working out exactly as it needs to. Everything is on time, provided for, and accessible. Trust the timing.
I’ll keep y’all posted on how God works it out.
I know we’re well into January now, but I’m still wishing y’all a happy and healthy new year.
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