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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Discomfortable Disclosure

I think I finally realized today that telling people about my cancer experience always feel bad in some way.

I thought it felt good to talk about it sometimes, to get it off my chest, to let me people know more about who I am, or whatever, but it doesn't.

I sometimes feel like I'm trying to show off

or get pity

or let them know just how tough I am

or explain a very BIG or WISE concept.

But I always feel like I've made someone else uncomfortable (or made myself uncomfortable)

or that they can't speak now because I've brought up something so huge.

Or that I'm somehow in some other zone than they are.

and if I'm talking with another survivor, I feel like we either spend the whole time trying to show or understand how our experiences were alike, or not alike.

It's as though when you go through it, no matter how many people are there to support you and love you and go through it with you, that you're still really alone in your own personal experience. No one else went through just what you did. No one else can really understand.

And if they do feel something similar, it's because they experienced it too, their own illness in their own way. And you talking about it just makes them go through it again. That's no fun either.

Will it always be this way?

So now I"m about to publish this on my blog. Am I getting too personal?

This is where I get brave and may publish it anyway, because I don't HAVE to make anyone feel uncomfortable, because they... you... don't HAVE to read it.

And I want to be able to speak.

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Blogger alissa said...

Good on you for posting this. Speaking on YOUR blog is your perogative.

No matter how you talk about your experiences, or with whom, the other person is in a position of not knowing exactly what to say. I go through and receive the same reactions when I talk about my family history. Most people don't know how to respond to what to them seems huge and horrible. That you've survived cancer/abuse/etc. is not the point to them. That you went through it, is.

Perhaps that reflects back to you, leading you to feel bad about sharing your history. But then again, no one else CAN understand. Even another cancer survivor, because you each had your own experiences. You only shared a disease, not a recovery process.

But you also share survival, so maybe when you're talking with another survivor, just focus on how you're each surviving, rather than how you recovered.

The rest of it - well, screw 'em if they can't deal with such a huge part of who you are recently. ;) If you want to talk about your cancer experience, you should. If you don't, you shouldn't. Except sometimes when you don't, but you should anyway.

Yay, you for being brave!

3:14 PM

Blogger Evenewra said...

I very deliberately generalized in the last email about my feelings about discussing my cancer. But as I discovered shortly after writing it, the truth is, once in a blue moon I'm really glad to talk about it. Doing so requires a friend that I really trust... someone who I know will neither judge nor worry nor analyze nor extrapolate. Someone who will hear what I have to say and not be afraid to tell me their own story. That's just it. Someone who will tell stories with me. And really hear in return.

9:39 PM

Blogger Soferet said...

I think this is the experience of anyone who has been struck by deep trauma, loss or grief & shares it. In sharing, we risk people showing they love us, or showing they don't get us at all.
As in the words of the indominable Blaise Pascal: "Nobody move & nobody get's hurt."

12:16 AM


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