In my life I’ve been referred to as “that girl whose mum has cancer”, “that girl whose mum has terminal cancer”, “that girl whose mum died of cancer”, “that girl who has cancer”. Not only is that enough cancer, enough labels, but it’s also nothing actually about me. I guess that’s the problem with labels.
I’ve been getting called Badass, superhero, or Wonder Woman a lot lately. I tell you this so everyone will get with the program.
Actually, I find it a little embarrassing – it’s nice don’t get me wrong and I’d be lying if I said I hated it. Come one, who doesn’t like being called a Badass?
I wish I could feel more deserving of the title. I should embrace it. At the moment all I have to do is turn up and people think it’s pretty cool. It will probably be the only time in my life (since babyhood, when everything you do is amazing – to your parents at least), I’ll do so little for such a lovely return.
I get awkward about it. I guess I still only see the things I can’t do. I want to be praised for being good at my job, who wouldn’t? But I don’t want to be praised for just being there. It feels a little like cheating.
Saying that, I’ll miss it when it stops. There have been points this year when I wished I got a parade a week.
The trouble I have, is what happens when you start believing the label? When the label is what defines you? Who am I without cancer? I write a blog about it, so maybe I define myself and should stop complaining.
It’s not that the labels are inaccurate, my mum did die and I did get cancer. I am also I badass. At times I’ve become concerned that these elements are the only things that make me an interesting person and that’s worrying. Perhaps it is the only thing. Perhaps I’ve not needed to work very hard to be interesting – these external things are out there, I’ve put it out there. Worse, perhaps it’s not interesting, perhaps it very, very dull.
At the moment, I worry I’ve become a cancer bore. I talk about it a lot, I was same after mum died. Partly, it’s hoping the next person you tell can make it better, will know the secret to stop it hurting. Partly, it’s because it feels so all-encompassing you can’t believe people don’t just see it on your face. Saying that they probably can at the moment, hello no hair, so then I feel I should bring it up first. Partly, it’s a bit like seeing a unicorn – it’s so immense, surprising and some what unbelievable, you have to talk about it. Although I think seeing a unicorn would be more fun and sparkly.
You know what other label I miss? I feel awful about missing it, I’ve tried hard to convince myself that it doesn’t matter but it’s human nature and I’d best admit to it. I miss being labeled pretty. Isn’t that crappy? It’s been a sharp learning curve, realising that I actually should have liked how I looked, instead of looking at the flaws and longing to change. It’s probably been good for me to live away from that label. It’s certainly one of the hardest parts of all this. I wonder if it’s the same for men with cancer? Everyone likes being attractive.
Does it balance out the above if I admit I’d like to be labelled smart and kind too? Should I be worrying about labels at all? Especially as I’d label my self a feminist too.
I guess I’ve got to work on my labelling or throw away the Dymo.
The other label I’ve been worrying about lately is the one with my expiry date but that’s another blog post.