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January 29, 2015

With cancer as a catalyst, I have had to confront how I really want to live my life, with more honesty than I allowed myself previously. I want to live authentically, I want to be un-apologetically myself. If I am a conscientious person who tries to do good, then I should be allowed to be myself, not just at this time but every day. Someone anonymously asked me to write a post about pre- and post-cancer Nadha. I suppose the answer is hidden somewhere in this series of blog posts.

I, like most people, have had to negotiate my various identities within different spaces – probably all my life. Right now, I am exhausted. I am tired of doing that because I have little energy and I resent having to spend it worrying about what people might think of me. Of course, easier said than done. But perhaps changing my mentality about having to please everyone in my life is a good place to start.

I’ve been feeling guilty because I’m so dependent on people around me. I’ve been apologizing for wanting people around me and I’ve inwardly criticized myself for not doing enough for those around me and almost taking advantage. I will not apologize (anymore) for being what I was calling myself – clingy. I will not apologize for being scared. I will not apologize for being less independent than I was, because I am sick. I will not apologize for my red hair (tastefully-done I must say) or for speaking up and for figuring out who I am aside from all the societal pressure.

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep and I just lay in bed with a million and one thoughts. The first day of the low-iodine diet was over and I realized that this radiation treatment is real and is going to happen. I was thinking of all the different people in my life and how they have responded to my cancer- some old friends and some new, some just acquaintances really and some previous and more recent colleagues. It has been both pleasantly surprising and a little heartbreaking. I said in a previous post that I understand that many people do not know how to deal with the word “cancer” and how to be around or support me. Not everyone has the skills… and that’s fair enough.

SupportSome previously close friends have just fallen out of touch. Like nothing, not a word in the last few months. I realized last night that whatever their reasons, whatever they may be going through at the moment, whatever benefit of the doubt I give them, it is inevitable that this time in my life and whether they were around or not will affect how I feel about them in the future.

I am going through something terrifying and life-changing while attempting to hold on to who I believe I am and be the best person I can be. I have been defending people against both my own hurt and logic as well as others around me who say I need to let them go. If I was exhausted months ago, I leave it to your imagination how I feel now. I don’t know why I worry about this when I should just be focusing on my upcoming treatment and recovery. But, people are a part of recovery. Having a strong support network and people you love around you is important. I need to know that I am still loved and cared about especially at this time.

So to those going through tough times, I no longer think you need to feel bad about resenting and hurting when people you thought you could depend on just don’t show up. You get to be unapologetic. I get to be unapologetic.