ULTIMATELY CHANGING BAD FOR GOOD

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my sexual assault.

And while I still feel the need to acknowledge it, I can say in all honesty that 24 September 2011 is no longer the worst day of my life.  Unfortunately that title now goes to 7 August 2017.  That is the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Neither of these events are things it ever occurred to me that I would have to deal with in my life.  Ever! And yet both have found their way into my experience.  The really weird thing is there are so many similarities between the two: neither were expected; I was/am fighting for my life; my body was/is in total shock; I had to/I have to now learn a new way to be, figure out a new ‘normal.’  Also, my startle response, which has never gone completely away, is back with a vengeance.  All I can think is, how did I not learn these lessons after my attack and why do I have to go through it all again, albeit from a completely different event?

What I really would like to do now, though, is change my mindset around my current situation.  To me, this means thinking about it in completely different terms.  For example, I am refraining from calling the chemotherapy that is running through my body as poison.  Instead, I think of it as the sweet elixir of life that is shrinking my tumor away to nothing.  Instead of lamenting that I cannot walk as far or play tennis for as long, I am doing my best to enjoy being able to rest during this time.  I know when it is all over, my strength and stamina will return.  I’ve always been more of a go-go-go-all-the-time kind of person, so this is simply as opportunity to relax and slow down.  Instead of wondering what I did wrong or what I may have done to deserve this, I am learning to accept that I did nothing wrong nor did I do anything to deserve this, it just happens and, unfortunately, it happens to millions of people.  All the care that I’ve taken up to this point most likely has saved me from far worse diseases, and will play a huge role in my beating and defeating the cancer I do have.

I am very fortunate.  I have a loving, supportive husband. I have great doctors and nurses and all kinds of support from family and friends.  I have people sending prayers and positive, healing energy to me from all around the world (thanks Facebook!)  So as much as I hate what I am going through, as hard as it has been on my body and will most likely continue to be, I am actually very, very lucky.

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IT IS A BIG DEAL TO ME

I understand that in the larger scheme of things losing one’s hair is a very small thing.  But guess what?  Being told by well-meaning people that I ‘just need to get over it,’ that ‘it will grow back,’ that I should ‘just embrace my bald head;’ none of these are helpful to me right now.  It is disrespectful and even hurtful.  That may have been your experience, but, as of right now, it isn’t mine.  I am sad, and I cannot even cry about it, as I am still in shock and my tears are still stuck in my body.  I think the hardest thing  is now I actually look sick.  While I still had my hair, I may have been sick, but I still looked relatively normal.  Now, not so much.

So tomorrow morning I am going back to the salon to get my head shaved.

NOT GOOD NEWS

I received a letter in the mail today from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  Inside in big, fat, black letters it said —-

NOTICE OF RELEASE – CONFIDENTIAL

This notice is provided at your request.  The inmate is scheduled for release.

The inmate will be:

Released to parole under CDCR supervision.

The inmate is required to register pursuant to:

Penal Code Section 290 – Sex

 

It also has other information about his name, prison number, scheduled release date and which county he will be released into.  What the letter does not tell me is how long his parole lasts.  Let’s just say I am happy I am not longer in the same county.  And it is not so much that I am afraid of him or that I think he’ll come after me.  No, it’s more I simply do not like the idea of him being anywhere near me.  Do I think he has been rehabilitated?  That would be a resounding NO.  Given the violence of my attack, his lack of remorse at the sentencing and the fact that he will have spent almost 62 months in prison, I seriously doubt he will be anything but angry.

I do pray for him and truly hope that no one else ever has to experience what I did on  September 24, 2011.

 

TRUST AND FAITH AND TIMING

How many times have we heard that we need to trust the process?  That we need to have faith that everything happens in perfect and Divine timing?  While I think both of those things are important, the truth is it all comes down to timing.  You can meet the right person at the wrong time.  Or who turns out to be a wrong person at the right time.  But until the planets align and everything else conspires in your favor, for lack of a better way to put it, you are probably barking up the wrong tree.  I know I was.

After my breakup with B, I so wanted to be ready for another relationship, and to that end, I tried March.com.  Twice.  Nothing happened, and I do mean nothing.  No response from anyone, let alone anyone I might have fancied.  Clearly, I was not ready.  I seemed to have a negative force field surrounding my photos and my profile, that, basically said, STAY AWAY!  Seriously, this was not a healthy thing to put myself through.  I finally realized that I still needed time to heal and grieve; heal from my attack and grieve for my lost relationship.  And while I missed B horribly at times, I also realized it was not so much him that I missed but being in a relationship.  Because in spite of what we went through with my sexual assault, we did have a very good, even great, relationship.  Unfortunately, as I’ve said before, however good the relationship was between us, it did not survive my attack.

Finally, this past January, 2 years after my breakup, I joined a Coronado singles group.  It was, as all these groups seem to be, mostly women.  I did meet a guy who I thought was a potential partner.  In the end, though, it was not a good match.  And speaking of Match, I would periodically look to see if there were any (new) interesting men on the site.  What I discovered to my dismay was that it was all the same men who always seem to be on there.  Not very promising at all.  I truly was on the point of giving up completely, of deciding that, perhaps, I was not meant to be in a loving relationship, after all.  This did not make me happy, but I simply was not willing to compromise on what I want and know I deserve.  So, one more time I was checking out Match.com and, on the spur of the moment, I joined.  The difference was I was actually ready.  I knew it, and I knew I’d meet someone this time.

It happened very quickly.  I joined on a Wednesday, was contacted by J on Thursday, talked on the phone with him on Friday, met on Monday, had a second date on Thursday before leaving town for a family reunion, texted with him while gone, and have had several more dates with him since.  I think you can kind of get the picture.  What was so cool, what is so cool is that we both knew right from the start that it was exactly what/who we had both been looking/hoping/praying would show up for, well, ever.  I knew as soon as I read his profile, but was hesitant to say it out loud , even to myself.  But I KNEW.  I just knew.  And he knew, too.

So what it really does come down to is timing, trite as it may seem.  I was ready, he was ready, and we connected.  And I can honestly say, he was worth the incredibly long wait!

Just a few quotes that seem particularly on point:

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