Happy Sunday everyone!! I am so excited to be back with you. All of me needed that break, but I feel like I have rested both mind and body and it feels right to be here sharing this time with you. So after time off and reflection, I am working out ways to balance all the aspects of my life. I wasn’t exactly sure how long I was going to break for, but I’m eager to share with you what really gave me the boost to get going again.
Have you ever felt so exhilarated by something that it inspires you to kick start all the other aspects of your life? I am now completely convinced that your approach and attitude to something can make all the difference to the experience and the outcome of whatever it is you are undertaking and motivate you to keep aiming high. The mind is such a powerful organ and I want you to read this and see if you too, could turn a negative into a positive by making changes to either the people who surround you or the thoughts that you are feeding.
So I have this incredibly amazing friend. She is hard-working, kind, genuinely warm and caring, loyal and inclusive and the eternal optimist. She is one of those friends that after you have spent time with them, you feel great. Everyone needs a friend like this.
So this friend, she loves to run and wants to share that passion with anyone she meets. She is persistent – boy, is she persistent! She couldn’t crack me for quite a while, but eventually I’ll be honest, I did a park run just to shut her up. And damn it, she was right. It was awesome and addictive and it made me feel like I was achieving something. And soon enough, I was addicted too!
I then signed up for a 10 km run, injured myself while training in the lead up and psyched myself out. Despite the fact that I didn’t want her to run with me and told her numerous times that I just wanted to run alone, she cunningly accepted it, said nothing and then ran with me the whole way. She knew I wanted to beat a certain time and made it happen by her endless positive conversation and subtly manipulative comments on how disappointed I would be if I just missed it. In doing so, she copped a fair amount of abuse from me which I am unable to publish here! I knew however that she was a keeper, when despite the abuse, she was ever so proud of me and continued to be my friend.
So a half marathon was certainly something that I NEVER EVER thought I would do. This same crazy high-achieving friend suggested I do a half marathon with her and of course I laughed in her face. But then I guess a part of me was curious. I thought to myself, what if I could do a half marathon? I looked at the maximum time they allow for people to complete it and then made a deal with her that if she didn’t care how long I took to do it, I would do it. I couldn’t believe I had said that I would do it. After my performance at the 10 km race, what was I thinking? Am I completely and utterly insane to commit to more than double that distance and expect not to be put in jail for the amount of abuse I could throw her way?
But here’s the strange thing. Anything you do totally comes down to your mindset. You can well and truly convince yourself that you can’t do something. You can 100% psych yourself out of anything. Or you can do the complete opposite, and believe you can.
Leading up to my 10 km run my changing mindset kind of destroyed me. Yes, I had a total sense of achievement at the end of it but I found it really, really hard and wasn’t interested in running much for a while afterwards. I had a goal time I wanted to complete it in and I stressed and stressed and stressed about not being able to do that. Then I rolled my ankle a couple of weeks out and was completely defeated. While I did do it and don’t take away from that achievement and the fun I had with the girls I did it with, I had over analysed it, stressed out about it and didn’t enjoy the experience nearly as much as running double the distance. How does that make sense?
But here’s the difference. I don’t know exactly what happened to my mindset in the time between the 10 km run and the 21.1 km run but something changed and I liked it. This time, I believed I could do it and I wasn’t afraid. Yes, I had this voice of my dear friend in my ear every moment leading up to it convincing me with every word that I would be amazing. She did not doubt for one second that I could do it.
But do you know what made the biggest difference? It was the fact that I actually started to believe that maybe I could do it and decided not to throw in nearly as much negative self-talk. Technically, the stress should have been double for the 21 km run (being double the distance and the lack of training!). But for some reason, I didn’t feel defeated or negative about it at all. While I felt nervous, I also felt exhilarated and excited and couldn’t believe that I was going to attempt this thing that I had only associated with other people who were amazing runners. Someone believed in me and that helped me start to believe in myself. See the thing is, negative or positive, if you hear something enough from yourself (or someone else for that matter), you’ll start to believe it. It is crucial that we surround ourselves with positive people and practise positive self-talk. It’s contagious.
I guess the reason I’m sharing this with you is because like my half-marathon, cancer was one of the things I didn’t anticipate in my life and one of those things that I could have let defeat me with negative self-talk. I could have been consumed with thinking the worst and sent myself to an early grave – but I didn’t. In all honestly, every person has the potential to go either way with their thought patterns and good habits of practising positive thinking could make all the difference in a cancer diagnosis.
While cancer needs to be treated medically, it also needs to be treated emotionally. We need to make sure that we believe we can truly beat it to give ourselves the best fighting chance. It’s also safe to say that family and friends don’t always know what to say or do when you get sick. If we say negative things, they tend to worry and probably accidentally start having less confidence in the outcome, purely by the way we conduct ourselves.
I’m not saying that it’s easy, but if we show them that we are strong and want to fight it, they will have the strength and courage to hold the fort in the times when we don’t feel like we can fight it ourselves. And that is so important. Don’t ever let cancer think it can win and make sure no one around you thinks it can either.
Occasionally a negative thought drifts in to my mind about my experience and I sometimes think cancer has won because it’s always around to remind me of what it’s done to me. But then I love to squash that one down with a wonderful thought of how happy I am to be alive and how much faster I can run without boobs (hahaha).
But in all seriousness, it has forced me to think even deeper about the person I want to be and to make a conscious effort to be that person, even when maybe I don’t feel I can be. Some people think positively and some think negatively but I truly believe it is a choice and sometimes people accidentally get into the habit of thinking negative thoughts over the positive ones. Some people can crush or believe in your dreams. Cancer can crush you too, if you let it. But don’t. You have a choice to entertain positive or negative thought patterns. And regardless of treatment, your recovery can drastically improve by thinking positively, reducing stress levels and believing that you can do it! And post-defeat, it’s important to remember that cancer is just a chapter of our lives, not our whole lives and there is so much to live for!
While I feel I do a pretty good job of finding the silver lining in my life and my cancer experience, I am going to continue to remind myself daily to be the rainbow in other people’s clouds. Why? Because I want to make this world a better place and I feel wonderful when people make me feel good about myself and I want to be that person, that friend who helps other people believe in themselves.
As far as Leave Me Breastless goes from now on, you’ll hear from me once a month in the written form, together with added fashion for breastless women whenever I find something that works well.
Here are a range of great fashion items that I have been wearing over the winter months that help to disguise that breastless chest and make me feel fabulous. I hope they give you the inspiration you need to feel great about yourself as well.
See how much better it looks with a scarf to cover the chest?
Can you believe I am wearing a V neck? The key is to make sure it’s not a deep V and you can still get away with it.
Kiik Poncho/Cape (not sure what you call it)
These dresses from Tigerlily, Witchery and Tokito (from Myer) have been great in the winter wardrobe.
Feed those positive thoughts! Have a wonderful week.
I am breastless and beautiful.
Love, Gen x