The cancer scar that put my acne to shame

Crumbling is part of being human. Grief, frustration, and straight up unforeseen upheaval are elements of our journey that we may encounter many times.

But, why is it we get pummeled sometimes, even when we think we have it all together? Because, we are here to learn. We are here to become the best versions of ourselves, and with that comes discomfort.

Metamorphosis is so essential to our journey that oftentimes, life maneuvers us into greater clarity. Bumps in the road are aspects of a higher design. Challenges force us to slow down and exercise fortitude, resilience, perspective, and the capacity to maintain positivity amidst chaos. The more we look for silver linings (as cliche as that may sound), and the more we aim to remain pleasant whilst suffering, the quicker we learn and can move on in our evolutionary path.

My childhood was fairly tumultuous as my health was frequently compromised. In grade school, warts formed beneath all of my fingernails, requiring routine liquid nitrogen blasts to my nail beds. In my early teens, I developed facial acne that I was never able to successfully treat, and would often cry over having to be in public. The few moles I had were an embarrassment to me. One on my upper right thigh became cancerous with melanoma when I was 19.

The scar left behind from the cancer put my acne to shame. And now, the occasional blemish that require a dab of zinc oxide seems inconsequential compared to three weeks of liquid nitrogen treatments. Contrast has altered my perspective.

As sucky as they may be, difficult times gift us the opportunity to look at our lives through different lenses. Perhaps they won’t always cast a rosy hue, but they can filter out rays of anger, confusion, and prolonged suffering.

A great way to shift perspective is to make a contrast chart––basically a list of all the ways your current experience is better than it was before.

Here are some examples taken directly from one of my recent journal entries:

I can sit, stand, walk, dance, and do yoga without the excruciating pain in my lower back.

I can share what is in my heart without being concerned of what others will think of me.

I’m okay with being on my own. I feel less ‘lonely’ than I did in my previous relationship.

No longer do I get upset when I miss a workout or two. It’s far better than having to be in a walking boot for six months.

I make a list like this about once a week. It helps me maintain a healthy perspective and to accept life’s ups and downs with a little more patience, gratitude, and grace. Perhaps taking pen to paper will help shift your perspective too.


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