Of mountains and tumors | andreaenright.net

How do cancer and mountains exist in the same world? How can we have big, towering, glittering mountains and teeny, tumory, terrible cancer cells all under one sky, sharing the same air? I find it hard to breathe- hard to exist in this world.

And yet I know the ugliness foils all the beauty.

The darkness helps me appreciate the light.

 
 
 
 
 
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Practicing Self Care | andreaenright.net

Wholeness
Self care, self love
You deserve to be pampered
Create a healthy you
Take care of yourself
Be gentle with yourself
Love

All mini pep talks I wrote to myself as I drafted a list of “practices” I wanted to commit to.

Daily Practices like

pray and meditate
yoga, if only for ten minutes
moisturize with coconut oil
diffuse essential oils
drink tea

And “Life” Practices like

bikram yoga
massages
manicures
hair appointments
fresh flowers
weekend getaways

And then I wrote myself a letter.

Hello Andrea,

I love you. You need to get out of your comfort zone and just start implementing these practices into your life. Be gentle and fogiving, but also know that the moment you engage fully in one of these practices the rest will fall into place naturally.

Start with bikram yoga tomorrow. Do that, then do it again. Go get a gel manicure. Who care if your nails are jagged and short? It’s their job. It’s like not hiring a hair stylist because you think your hair is gross. That’s the point of having a hair stylist! 

So go get your manicures, and stop worrying about money. You need to reset yourself no matter the cost. You are actually saving money by practicing self care. This is preventative care I tell you. This is going to keep you healthy and sane and whole. So stop worrying and start doing.

The world will fight you on this, tell you to put x,y, and z in front of yourself, but listen to your truest voice, Andrea. It will tell you what to do.

And then I felt a surge of energy and calm and health and healing.

 

This is by far my hippie-est post, but stay with me. Do you practice self care? Do you really think *spending* money to pamper yourself could save you money and protect your health in the long wrong?

What could you start doing tomorrow to help create your healthiest you? And what are your favorite practices?

 

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453

On my subway ride this past morning I sat wedged between two people, a normal occurrence when sitting on the train.

But yesterday something was up.

I was reading through some articles I’d saved on my phone. I devour faith and spiritual bloggers like no one’s business. Blogger du jour? Kathy Escobar.

I was reading about women in the church finding their voice.

And nodding in agreement with every word I read.

And as my stop was nearing, I glimpsed an article the man on my left was reading. It was one of those printed out articles stapled together, like the one you get in a class. And I thought he was maybe high school or even college-aged. He was young and focused with light olive-y skin.

I didn’t catch the article but I saw the words “burqa” and “Islam” and “women.” It was something about religion he was reading.

Hmmm.

I’m reading about religion too, I thought.

Still in though, I turned my head to the right and noticed the elderly black woman next to me was reading too, the book close to her face. And with a quick glance the one word I could make out was “Salvation” and I knew she must have been reading some sort of devotional or Holy Book.

And I thought

What are the odds?

Look at us.

The three of us sitting in a row like little Subway Faith Ducks.

The three of us, all so different, and yet all so similar, each of us searching and underlining, whether in our heads or on a piece of paper.

And I had a holy moment. One of those moments of me and the world, and everything else, we were all connected.

And I prayed a prayer for my subway friends.

Lord, look at us three. I think we are all doing the best we can. We are trying to find faith, trying to encounter God, trying to feel something, find something, do something, each in our own way, and each needing you desperately. Help us. And thank you.
Amen.

 
 
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When I wrote about pap smears, I felt a little misunderstood.

Most people thought it was about fear of doctors, and started sending messages.

But when you really look at my words, just my words, you can see it was really just about procrastination.

And it was MOSTLY about making people laugh about my silly life and absurd behaviors.

So when I started getting what I though were unrelated comments, I though to myself Am I doing this writing thing wrong?

Maybe I’m just not a great writer and I don’t know how to get my point across.

But then I also thought

Maybe we live in a hyper-individualized world that people inject so much of themselves into my words that they become open to misinterpreting them.

And I think both are true.

And to clarify- I love when my honesty inspires other people to be honest and share their story. But sometimes the lines get blurred and people read into my writing things that aren’t there, and started giving unrelated advice. (Don’t you think that’s what was kind of going on here?)

But that still goes to say, writing is hard.

Because when you write, you have a specific tone and mood and message in mind. And when you share your writing, you open yourself to the floodgates.

When I wrote Cancer is still a BIG DEAL, People aren’t doing enough for us, and other Cancer Feels, it WASN’T about “People aren’t doing enough.”

That wasn’t the point.

The point was that I was FEELING like People Weren’t Doing Enough, which is TOTALLY different than people ACTUALLY not doing enough.

I did not accuse people of not doing enough, it wasn’t meant to be a rallying cry to the masses, and I only needed to sort through my feelings.

(Those feelings being that cancer didn’t seem like Big Deal anymore, which I blame no one for.)

I just needed to get out all my Cancer Feels, hence the title.

 

__________

 
Not feeling completely, totally, and perfectly understood 100% of the time makes me want to give up blogging and honesty and social media forever. It makes me want to crawl in a hole and never come in contact with another person who could possibly hurt me or misinterpret me or say something dumb.

But that’s unrealistic. And that’s not real life. And that’s not LIVING.

Life is messy. People are messy. And I am messy.

And we need to stop being so darn afraid of the mess.

I need to stop being so afraid of the mess.

Because trudging through the messiness is where REAL LIFE happens.

So when I think to myself

Write or not write?
Filter or not filter?
Honesty or dishonesty?
Authentic or fake?

Deep down, I know the answer.

I’m going to keep letting my heart bleed all over this blog.

I will try to clarify when I’m confusing.

I will extend grace to those who misinterpret me.

And I will keep writing through the pain and the feels.
 
 
 
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People Aren

 

This is some hard $&@ we are going through. This cancer.

BJ, poor baby, pillow talked with me last night.

You think I put on too brave a face so that now everyone thinks I’m OK and I can do this?

Yes, baby, I think you did.
I think they all think we are stronger than we are, and we aren’t that strong.
This is hard.
I mean we are strong.
We are doing OK.
But we don’t have it all figured out.
Because cancer is a Big Deal.

So many cancer feels.

But I think mostly what BJ and I are feeling is that this cancer is still a BIG DEAL.

You would think cancer becomes a smaller deal the longer you deal with it. That it become more manageable, or something.

But it doesn’t become a smaller deal the longer you trudge through it, in fact, it becomes even BIGGER a deal.

It has a cumulative effect. It just gets harder.

And it never, ever becomes manageable.

And now, MORE THAN EVER, we need support.

 

_________

 

My poor Mom. Most days I call her and complain that she’s not doing enough for us.

I feel awful about it, but it’s how I feel. I had to apologize to her for always bringing it at a bad time. And with a harsh tone. I’m grateful she was able to forgive my brashness.

It’s hard to think this thought:

“People aren’t doing enough for us.”

It’s an awful feeling to have.

The WORST feeling.

It’s a selfish feeling, an entitled feeling, and yet I can’t stop FEELING it.

But I don’t think that’s the crux of the issue. I know people are doing the best they can with us with their limited scope of knowledge.

So ACTUALLY, I guess I just wish people still acted like this cancer is a Big Deal.

Like it was a Capital B Capital D Big Deal.

That we didn’t get treated like everything’s-back-to-normal-Andrea-and-BJ,

Because we’re NOT everything’s-back-to-normal-Andrea-and-BJ.

We’re holy-shit-nothing-is-normal-and-this-is-still-hard-as-shit-but-we-are-so-good-at-life-that-people-THINK-we-are-back-to-normal-but-we’re-not-what-to-we-do-oh-God-please-help-us-Andrea-and-BJ.

We still need help, we still need support.

Now more than ever, I think.

 

_________

 

Every time I write an angsty, rant-y, emotional cancer post, I immediately get and influx of people texting and messaging encouragement and offers for help.

And it’s great, but it’s temporary.

And then, when I feel like I’m in the thick of it, the encouragement is gone.

And then it’s feels like people have forgotten.

Sometimes I feel like my blog exists only as a reminder to others that OH YEAH, BJ still has cancer and it still sucks.

It’s hard because I wish people just KNEW that with out me blogging about it. That they just knew it was hard and knew that it sucks and didn’t need me to have a freak out via the internet to remember.

Tabitha knew that this week. And thank you, THANK YOU, Tabitha. She texted me out of the blue a cancer-prayer-pep-talk.

(And Tabitha I never texted you back but I read it. And then I forgot I never texted you back but by then it had been like 3 days so I was too exhausted to write a lengthy text explaining how I loved your text but I am just terrible at texting. So I thought I’d shout out here. THANK YOU.)

And her text made me feel remembered. She remembered that cancer was still a BIG DEAL and we STILL needed prayer and we STILL needed healing and she just KNEW and didn’t need to be reminded. And then I felt known. And supported. And remembered.

It was like she knew that now, more than ever, we need the support.

 

_________

 

Friends, please don’t be afraid to reach out.

I know it’s uncharted territory.

I know it’s hard and awkward and weird.

But I would love some unexpected encouragement.

I would love some prayer when I’m in the thick of it.

I would love some support when I think NO ONE remembers, when I HAVEN’T written a rant-y cancer blog post.

I would love for you to be the one to make me feel better.

I would love it if in those times when I feel like no one remembers, you’d remember.

It’d mean A LOT.

But don’t get me wrong, I get it. I know it’s hard to know/care/remember people’s problems unless we are reminded about them.

No hard feelings if you haven’t reached out.

But if you’re reading this, you’re probably the kind of person who want to do better. Who wants to make people feel supported and known and loved. So go ahead and let me know (and if it’s via text, preferably not right this second.)

Tell me you think cancer is still a BIG DEAL. And that you’re sorry I have to deal with this $%^. And don’t expect a text back, just know that I got it and that I was grateful. (Here’s an advanced THANK YOU!!)

Or send a card or a meal or a care package or a Flat Stanley photo to BJ. Just send it. Don’t ask. Just say “I’m bringing you ____ tonight. It’s happening. Just tell me when.”

Or share one of BJ’s photo shoots on Facebook and say how much you like his work.

We need it more than ever.

It’s still a Big Deal.

Oh and, you guys are the best.

 
 
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