The complexities of grief and joy existing in the same space make me a tad uncomfortable and anxious. Though I’m usually an open book about everything, there were certain experiences from 2021 and the beginning part of this year that I couldn’t openly discuss without jeopardizing my career. I’ve moved forward into what I hope is a safer and more inclusive position professionally but the intense damage to my mental and emotional health are still struggling behind the smile and natural energy I show the world.
While having weekly therapy sessions has definitely put a dent in my bank account, they have been worth every cent and more. How do I know this? I’ve had over six people in the past two weeks tell me they can feel a difference in my energy. My face isn’t pinched. I’m not crying uncontrollably. My smiles are more genuine than not. These aren’t even people who know me on a deeper level either.
If I’m smiling and possess a bright aura, shouldn’t I be filled with immense joy and grief should be on the back burner? Well, yes and no.
The huge chunks of grief stem from “surviving” breast cancer and living in a country that doesn’t value people who look like me. Just when I think I’m over certain dreams that my breast cancer stole from me, I get hit with a hurtful wave of the reality of what is physically no longer possible, like kids. Is my grief irrational when I get irritated talking to friends on the phone who have toddlers that constantly interrupt the call? It’s not my place to say anything since I’m not a parent but it makes me irrationally irritated that I can’t have a conversation without them having to talk to their little one at the same time. Then it reminds me that I’ll never have those kinds of conversations with a mini-me or teach them how to say excuse me when I’m on the phone the way my mother taught me.
I’m also still reeling from the suicide of the former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst. She talked a lot about the microaggressions she experienced when practicing law on her TikTok. Daily microaggressions more often than not come from white people. They can truly harm a soul in a way that is so covertly insidious that half the time you think it’s all in your head. You blame yourself for being too sensitive and begin to doubt your intellectual ability and capacity to hold it together because you never want to let them see you cry and even show how much they’ve hurt you. Why are my Black tears never comforted or believed like white women’s tears?
While all this grief, hurt, and trauma continues to engulf me, I’m also filled with a different kind of joy that I’ve never experienced before.
I’m going to end here and will write more about this different kind of joy in a separate post because I want to spend time on the truly good things I’m manifesting.
Until next time,
This post originally appeared on Life on The Cancer Train. It is republished with permission.