On Saturday, I threw a 'Cancerversary' party. It was a recognition of two years of struggle, of ups and downs, disappointments and miracles. It was a celebration of the fact that I am still here; living and growing and grateful for each day. I invited people who mean something to me and are important parts of my life. Without their support, I can't imagine what these last few years would have been like.
The day was going so well; despite the heat and imminent rain. The caterers were so on top of their game, I really didn't have to do much except mingle and dance and, at times, adjust the music volume. Most guests were either lounging in the pool or hanging around various corners of my backyard. There was an awesome energy floating around and I felt at peace.
As the evening was winding down and a few of my friends were preparing to leave, I decided that now would probably be the best time to say a few words of gratitude to those in attendance. How could I not? Some of them for two years rearranged their schedules to be with me, took trains every weekend to Long Island to sit with me, or checked in on me daily in some way. No words I could say could ever adequately explain the depth of love, admiration and gratitude I had for them. I lowered the music and began by saying, " I just want to take a moment to thank all of you for coming and I want you to know just how much you mean to me." "CUT THE BULLSHIT AND JUST GET BETTER!!" Wait, what? Did I just get heckled at my own party? I nervously smiled and continued, "I hope you all know how much I love you. Because of your support, I got the chance to see my son graduate from high school." "ENOUGH WITH THE BULLSHIT AND JUST GET BETTER ALREADY, OK?" It was my uncle who kept interrupting me. So clearly uncomfortable with my display of emotion that he felt the need to try and shut me down. I didn't know what to do so I smiled and said, "I'm trying" then preceded to walk into the house, feeling so defeated and angry that I wanted to punch a wall. Every meditation, every sageing, every healing crystal in my possession did not stop the feeling of rage that welled up inside of me. Fuck! I walked into my room and closed the door.
Soon, there was a knock. It was my friend, a friend who literally has not left my side since the day of my diagnosis. She was enraged. "Bullshit?Who the fuck is he? I haven't seen him once at your house in two years and he's trying to tell you to cut your bullshit?" I could see how worked up she was getting. We sat and cried for two years of heartbreak. Two years of recovery and chemotherapy, hair loss, sickness and fear. Two years of clinging to each other just to hold on to our sanity. And then I understood. That outburst wasn't about me at all. It was all him and his weakness and his fear. What I faced scared the hell out of him and he didn't want a reminder of it. He didn't want to know of my strength because it reminded him of his weakness. I stopped being angry and felt empathy for someone so clearly hurting
Someone else's reaction is never about you. They are bringing a lifetime of their baggage to your party. So I say my next party will not have a 'BYOB' on the invitation which can be misinterpreted as 'BringYour Own Baggage' but instead I'll have an 'LTSATD' (Leave That Shit At The Door). My bags are heavy enough without having to carry someone else's shit.
Party on and Namaste!