On Not Connecting and Also, Connecting.

So.  I think I mentioned in a previous post (or maybe I didn't - I'm a little "off" in the brain category these days) that last night I was planning to attend an event down in Akron put on by stupidcancer.org - the "I'm Too Young For This" cancer organization for folks in their 20s and 30s.  A group that totally seems like it would be the group for me, right?  I was nervous about going alone, though, and so a long-time internet friend whom I seldom see in person and who lives in Akron offered to be my date for the evening.  Yay for Jessica!

Now, I don't want to outwardly slam anything, so I will try to be diplomatic about this...

First of all, the event was at "Ripper Owens Tap House".  Do you know who Ripper Owens is?  Because I didn't.  Apparently he used to be in the metal band Judas Priest.  So, basically, this place was a sad aging metal guy bar with kind of a sports bar thing going on as well.  Neither of these things is "me" to say the least.  I walked in and went directly to the bar to grab myself a drink. "Maker's on the rocks, please?"  The bleach-blonde meth-addict lookin' bartender slowly looked around and then replied "We're out."  No offer of "Would you like something else?" or even a suggestion of other bourbons they may NOT be out of...  so I wander away, toward the room in front of the tiny "stage" where a handful of people are milling about awkwardly.

My assumption is that the dude in the Stupid Cancer shirt must be the man in charge based on his attire AND the fact that he was standing in front of a table that had piles of pamphlets, stickers and free pens on it.  I walk over and attempt to say hello, I drove down from Cleveland for this, yadda yadda.  Barely any attempt to respond.  I mean, he responded, but not in a way that left an opening for me to continue the conversation.  So I awkwardly introduced myself, and he introduced himself back and then again... awkward silence.  Uh, ok...

I go sit down to wait for Jessica to arrive.  She is supposed to be there in 10 minutes.  Five minutes later, I am waiting for her in the parking lot because some music has started to happen and it's loud and not terribly good and I just want to run and hide.

SO basically, I went to an event for "people like me," made/felt no connection whatsoever, and sneaked out the back door to go get a grilled cheese and some bourbon with a friend I never really see - a friend who is more "like me" (despite never having had cancer) than anyone at that bar could ever have been.  And I ended up having an awesome time.  (And an awesome brownie for dessert!)

On my way home, I called my friend, Mallorie and gave her all the sad details of my failed excursion to the rubber city.  She said that I definitely needed to write about my experiences with "other survivors" and how empty and useless they have been... for me, I mean.  I'm sure that ALL of these things work for some people - but thus far NOTHING I have been to has worked for me.

Maybe I'm just not a "joiner" or maybe I just need more organization and structure or an OBVIOUS game plan... or maybe it's just that everyone's experience, no matter how similar on a cellular level, is completely different based on who they are, the experiences they've had prior to their diagnoses, and who they choose to be because of (or in spite of) their diagnoses.

From the very beginning, who I chose to be was "Well, we're going to beat this thing so you tell me what I need to do to do that and I will do it."  I chose winning.  I chose living.  I chose grace under pressure.  I chose PMA.  I chose openness and sharing and being real.  And I chose kicking ass and becoming the best version of myself I could be - the person I always wished I was but never realized I could be.  That is what I chose and that is WHY, I am certain, I am sitting here just half a year later, cancer free.

SO where are all of the other "MEs" out there, sassing their stupid cancer cells into a quivering submission?  Where are the hilarious broads who got their diagnoses, freaked their shit, and then embarked on an ass-kicking excursion (I refuse to say "journey" - it's too kumbaya sounding...) peppered with humor, positivity, and awesomeness?

Well, maybe the reason I couldn't find her was that she spells it "humour" like a silly Limey!

Yeah.  I FINALLY found someone else out there.  Another "me" girl.  And I already adore her.  Mallorie posted a link on my facebook to this woman's blog, and I read the post she sent me and then went back and read the entire blog!  Her name is Emily and this is her blog:


I insist that you go read it immediately.  She only started recently, so it won't take you long to get caught up. But friends?  She is just the coolest.  And if you've enjoyed my blog on any level, then I promise you will enjoy hers, too.  She's inspiring and funny and beautiful and strong and I am both in awe and just goofily psyched to FINALLY feel like I made a connection out there in the cancer survivors world!  Sure, she's in London, so it's not like we're getting together for coffee (or tea and scones) any time soon, but the point is - I finally, just through the blogosphere, feel like I made a goddamned connection!

Hoo-fucking-ray!!!  I definitely plan to keep in touch with her and follow her blog.  And honestly, that is really way more my speed than some strange, awkward, seemingly unorganized shin-dig at a creepy heavy metal sports bar.  So kick ass!!

Oh, and connecting more with Jessica last night, too, was amazing.  We were both like, "Uh, WHY don't we hang out, like, all the time?"  So that's on the table for the future as well.  More time with good and awesome people.  Hell yes.

Xxo, Phoebe

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