Make Me Stronger

A call to action. A cry for help. An opportunity for you to realize your power to give strength to someone affected by a blood cancer (Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma). Get involved. Make someone stronger.


lens and water

Dedicated to the inner photographer in all of us and their lens of choice in life 

The wall started coming down on one side… I firmly and intently held the rest up as I test the waters.

As the wall comes down, I can feel the fresh air on my face. It’s crisp. It’s an air of hope – a different hope. It fills my lungs as I inhale and spreads through me. Hope with a deeper lens – one of possibilities that are further than my arms reach. 35mm. It’s new, its dope.

The sun feels so good – Vitamin D for my skin and soul. The breeze removes a layer of dust I didn’t allow myself to feel. It’s refreshing. Warm, promising and most importantly, unfiltered.

This hope comes with new possibilities. One of a future further than a week out. A future untethered. No limits, no restrictions. It’s so refreshing. It’s been so long…

Planning for some things, instead of one thing. Wanting to learn new things and build. Thinking about what I would want to do months from now. Exploring options and how to create new ones… My mind is flooded with questions I haven’t allowed myself to ask in a long time.

What if I was around in 6 months? What boundaries would I push? What are my new possibilities? Do I want to move? Maybe buy a place? What’s something new and fun I can learn?  Do I want to take a class for professional development? Where would I go on vacation? How do I meet new people that aren’t doctors and nurses!

35mm. It’s so refreshing.

For that past few years, hoping for the best while preparing for the worst has been my motto – and being ok with whichever happens has become my frame. That’s the near-sighted lens I acquired.

It allowed me to find hope in almost everything, but that hope is always conditional. Conditional to my circumstance, conditional to my “odds”, conditional to the most recent life lesson in adjustment. Hope has become something of value, yet attainable given my situation. Easing worries and fears, while giving us something to look forward to. And although it was a stretch, it was never more than an arm’s length away. Near-sighted lens. It’s very different from freely hoping.

Living day by day with a near-sighted lens didn’t come naturally to me at all. Although I can vaguely remember a time when I was planning my future, it was innately who I used to be. Building my Masterpiece with a focus on what it would look like when it was completed, that was the old me. Trying to shape it, color it and most importantly trying to predict it.

But when the time came and I needed it, what was unnatural for me became very natural. One of the most important lessons of adaptation on this journey of mine.

Letting go of what I thought my future would be, managing the worry of the unknown and what I was told was “known”, being happy with today and accepting everything that comes with all of that. A near-sighted lens allowed me to do this. Focusing on what was within my reach while preparing for the days I would no longer be here.

It took me awhile to figure it out but once I did it was seamless. I embraced it, I owned it, I mastered it – all because, I understood it.

Seeing the beauty, finding the hope, embracing the imperfections with laughter as my auto-flash. That was my near-sighted lens.

I became a little too good at it.

It has served me well.  I don’t know if I would have gotten through the past few years with as much appreciation, peace and laughter if it wasn’t for this. I’m so grateful for this lens, it’s one everyone should have access to minus the circumstance. I will never let it go but lately I’ve been longing for something different.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve ripped up cards and letters I had pre-written for moments I thought I wouldn’t be here to share. Special moments, happy milestones and difficult turns for my family and friends. Each time was so freeing and subtly promising. A promise of what wasn’t guaranteed. Letting go use to be what was freeing, but now maybe holding on is what will make me feel free…

I found myself longing for the days when the possibility of a future further than a week out was a given. Longing for something I trained myself to let go of. The days when “expectations” were good ones. A different type of guarantee.

As the wall comes down, I can feel the fresh air on my face. An air of hope. Hope with a deeper lens – one of possibilities that are further than my arms reach. 35mm. It’s new, its dope.

My skin is soaking up some vitamin D and my soul has had some champagne. Celebrating something new, celebrating this deeper lens. I began exploring these new possibilities with my 35mm (within reason, of course!).

As I bask in this new hope that I feel on my skin, see in my mind and can even taste, I start to get comfortable. Imagining what it would be like to live life like this again. Trusting the promise of a near future. I talked different, I sounded different. I started planning for the next few months. I became more vested in some things, with two feet in instead of one foot out. It was so refreshing. Like a new, old me because the possibilities aren’t taken for granted.

I’m thinking this deeper lens could be permanent and that would be…SMACK!  SMACK! (Oh yah…that shit hit me again on the way back around! If you’re in NYC, you probably heard it and thought it was thunder.) The 35mm is knocked out of my hand. The fresh air now feels like 30 mph wind slamming against my face, flooding my lungs, stinging my insides. The sun is too hot.

(What the @%#$ was I thinking?!?!  Leaving my natural, constant yet effortless state of bracing myself to think of a future untethered?!?)

The wall starts coming back up like a shield and my near-sighted lens back in my hand. And just like that, I’m back to where hope is conditional but achievable and a future is once again a week…

Life reminded me why I had trained myself to be the way I was. Reminded me why I had acquired a nearsighted lens years ago and held on so tightly. A life lesson in adjustment is still a guarantee! (It’s kind of funny. Even though it’s not, it really is!)

But don’t worry, I didn’t lose the 35mm. I grabbed it before the wall came up! It’s in my back pocket for whenever I’m ready to try it out again. And in the meantime, I have my I DON’T GIVE A #@&% filter which is ALWAYS a good time!

Not where I thought I would be when the wall started coming down but that’s ok. I have both lens at the same time after years and that’s promising. Hope of the possibility of more with the reality that it may not be. A tethered future once again, but maybe this time the string will be a little longer.

Maybe that’s the hope I needed. Two lens, not one. Finding the moments to swap them and learning which will serve me best.

I hope you are using the lens that will help you the best in the moment.

Related Posts: It is written, A Letter to My Cancer, Headphones, Hope, Amazing. Priceless. Blessed., Heartbroken, 3 x 3 x 3

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This entry was posted on August 4, 2017 by in Story and tagged , , , , , , .

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