Monday, May 2, 2016

A Note

A note to the world:

Please stop. I know you think you’re being funny, but stop the cancer jokes. Cancer is not a joke, nor is rape, hunger, or death.

Cancer is not a joke.

It’s not funny, although you and your friends all laugh. It’s not amusing in the slightest, not to me, and not to the survivors. Not to the fallen.

Cancer is not a joke.

You say that I have no right to tell you what you can joke about. But in fact, I do. Cancer runs as close as it can in my blood without me being the patient myself. No right? My mom had the disease, stage 1B breast cancer. My grandma did too- stage 2B. I watched them lose hair, strength, and dignity. Reconstructing the broken pieces of feminism the disease left behind for them.

Cancer is not a joke.

No right? At 12, my family sat around the dinner table, crying, preparing for the inevitable. That same year, I had to go to middle school and pretend that I wasn’t scared, that I wasn’t sitting there waiting for the bell to ring so I could see how my mother’s most recent surgery went. Had to pretend that I hadn’t spent my night visiting my mother in the hospital, had to pretend that I cared about homework and worthless numbers.

At 13, I watched my strong and independent mother cry because she could no longer run or throw a Frisbee. Because the surgeries to save her life had left her broken.

And now I let the aftermath run over me. Daily. The risk of re-occurrence hanging heavy over our heads. It could come back. But when, but when? No one knows. Best not to worry, live each day to the fullest. Cause you might not be here tomorrow.

Cancer is not a joke.

My aunt died of it, and the harsh laughs you send out over a stupid joke pound like nails into my mind, over and over. She didn’t die a death lacking dignity. Her son, my age, should never have to hear these kids and their jeers. So if I have no right, does he?

Cancer is not a joke.

It burns. Each time, it stings. It gets easier to manage, yet the ache never goes away.

6th grade, running out of the classroom to cry in the bathroom over a presentation two boys gave, making breast cancer a joke.

7th grade, breaking down after a teacher brought the subject up and dismissed the survivors as weak and attention hungry.

8th grade, wishing the boys in the corner would stop talking, so the urge to scream would go away.

9th grade, wincing as it’s joked about in the hallways, in the classrooms.
It gets easier, but it never gets better.

Cancer is not a joke.

So world, please stop making jokes like this. Leave rape, insecurities, sexual preferences, starvation, poverty, and cancer out of the joking topics. Period. No excuses. Because it hurts, and it’s never funny.

It silently tears people like me down every damn day.

Next time you joke, don’t say “you’re gay” or “I’m being raped” or “I’m gonna get skin cancer it’s so hot out here.” No, I’m not gay and he isn’t either. You’re not being raped- and that isn’t funny. And just because it’s hot does not mean your family and life is about to be flipped upside down.

Cancer is not a joke.

Thank you,
Cancer survivors, caretakers, and supporters

Music_paige

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Mirror

I look into the mirror.

I’m convinced my mirror lies. I think it has it out for me: it certainly is a unique creation, that mirror. I look half decent today, standing there in my jeans and t-shirt, hair down and smirk on my face. I look okay.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

But it lies, that mirror. The pictures I take are shameful and gross. My hair is everywhere, and my outfit is messy, wrinkled and strange. The reflections in hallway windows and on phone screens all tell me the same as those photos, and concrete my insecurities: I’m ugly. I’m awkward. I’m unfashionable.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

I don’t try too hard, so I can’t complain too much. I don’t cake on makeup, and I don’t buy expensive outfits. I care more about my perfect GPA than I ever will about whether or not my clothing matches. Priorities priorities priorities. But I still want to feel beautiful.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

I am not fat: not by any stretch of the imagination. Before you hate me for that, realize that just because I have a good body, doesn’t mean I’m confident. Perfection perfection perfection. My stomach may be flat and toned, but my chest could be larger. My legs may be proportional but maybe I don’t always want to have those massive muscles. My shoulders are defined but also quite broad. I’m fit and athletic, in shape. I'm strong. But maybe I want to feel petite and delicate as well, feel feminine. Choices and choices, mark what you hate and accent what you love.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

People call me beautiful. I mean, I suppose it’s their right, to call someone beautiful. Yet I can’t say that I’ll ever see it. My face isn’t nearly crystal clear. My skin is bruised and certainly not perfect. And as much as they tell me that I'm beautiful, in the end, it all doesn't matter. Compliments are compliments, but when all is said and done, I need to believe in myself. If I don't believe I'm beautiful, then I shall never believe the compliments.

My mirror tells me I look okay.

I want to feel beautiful. I want to feel perfect. My mirror may lie but I want to believe it. My skin may not be flawless, but whose is? My body may have things that I am not fond of, but it’s MY body. And my mind is sharp and quick, so why shouldn’t I love myself? Why should I believe myself not worthy of love, why should I hate my pictures and search for constant, endless validation? Why should I avoid windows and reflections? I shouldn’t.

I want to feel beautiful.

My mirror tells me I look okay. It may lie, but for just once, I would like to believe it.

I want to feel beautiful.
Let me feel beautiful.

I look into the mirror.

I'm convinced my mirror lies. I think it has it out for me: it certainly is a unique creation, that mirror. But so am I, and I am beautiful. So maybe it doesn't lie, maybe it just sees me the way the world does. Regardless, it doesn't matter. My mirror makes me feel beautiful. So I ignore the reflections in windows and on screens, and all the bad photos.

I am beautiful. Let me be beautiful.

Music_paige