I have a history of cancer in my family so I went for my recommended annual check up given I’m “at that age.” My doctor had requested a breast ultrasound. They told me I should plan for a 1-1.5 hr visit. I was the youngest in the room; however, while sitting in the waiting area with the rest of the ladies, I was one of them. Whether you were a survivor or just there for cautionary purposes, everybody chatted. As stories were shared, fear started knocking on my door.
The second youngest lady, who was also a survivor, was talking about how her doctor shared that due to her not being a mother her cancer risk rose and eventually surfaced. I caught myself having a reaction by thinking, “I don’t have children. I’ve heard this before too!” As my wheels turned, the technician called me in to indicate “plans changed,” so I was also going to need a mammogram, adding two and a half more hours to my stay. Furthermore, the technician added I may stay longer in case the doctor requested more images. It was then when my anxiety decided to perform. I wondered, “Why would the doctor want more images? Should I be worried?” Tick tock, tick tock. Every lady left. I remained. Finally, I was cleared.
I decided to reflect on my experience. This is what came to me:
#1 We are all connected, either by our family, environment, experiences or fears. Although my intent was not to focus on cancer, I tapped into a collective story, a collective fear. By sharing a space with others, the common story impacted everyone. I just had to decide how I would choose to respond to such a collective experience.
#2 The more attention I paid to others, their story became the main one, impacting my story in a negative way. In that moment, MY story mattered “less,” only because that’s what I chose by focusing on others. It was then when fear became contagious. My balance was off and that’s why I got lost in translation.
#3 Through others’ stories I began to identify myself, in a negative way, with those who had suffered from the disease. I realized I don’t have to become a character in a story for me to be able to understand the story. Through empathy and sympathy I am able to participate even if I am not claiming the leading role. Life becomes more relaxed when we choose our roles from a loving place.
Now, bring it back to you. Xiomara and I have been talking about fear in our last two posts. I now invite you to join me in this reflection by asking yourself the following:
What common experiences/stories are being shared by those around you?
How is it impacting your story and your behavior?
Are you paying attention to another person’s story more than your own?
Try to balance the focus you give to others’ stories/experiences by giving as much focus to yourself.
Are you tapping into any collective fears? If so, why and what will you do with that now?
Are you revising your roles from a loving place or are you continuously blaming, complaining, comparing?
Take a step back and question: Are the fears I am acting upon mine or are they influenced by others? Am I instilling fear in myself? If so, why?
Also ask, what growth factors am I noticing?
Give yourself credit for your progress!! Revising is not only about the “bad,” but also about noticing the good.
Recognize that YOU write your story, so YOU can control YOUR plot. Like an IG meme says, “If you don’t like the results, yell, plot twist!” and change your course.
I caught myself, so can you!
With love, Yari