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  • leahbarrett1

Waking Up to the World


I’m literally and figuratively coming to my senses as the effects of chemotherapy are beginning to subside. And, as I awaken to the world around me I am realizing that I’ve been a hypocrite. You see, I consider myself somewhat an expert in the field of health and wellness. Basically, I counsel people about eating well, exercise, reducing stress and improving overall life satisfaction. Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I would have said that I take pride in my commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Now, I realize I was fooling myself. Yes, I made healthy food choices. Yes, I exercised regularly. Yes, I pursued my career goals. It may have looked to those around me that I was a self-assured, “had it together” woman. In reality, I was often consumed with anxiety and at times even paralyzed by it. Anxious about what? Mostly, I was anxious about not performing at my best at all times. You know – the “perfectionist’s curse”. Interestingly, my self-esteem felt intact. I believed I was inherently a “good” person. Nonetheless, I was gripped with this self-induced drive to be the best therapist I could be, the best instructor I could be, the best trainer I could be, etc., etc., etc. It was exhausting. I was exhausted. Just because I ate well and exercised didn’t make up for the fact that I was a stress case most of my waking hours. Ok, not just my waking hours. I let my stress invade my sleep as well. I was living the life of a hypocrite. I would spend my days helping people find that balanced life they longed for while I was living a life running for a finish line that didn’t exist because I kept moving it out of sight. I was aware of what I was doing. It seemed that all the awareness in the world wasn’t enough for me to stop the chase for perfection. It took cancer to literally stop me in my tracks. And, boy did I stop. My life as I knew it came to a screeching halt. I would even dare to say that I crashed and burned and tumbled before finally coming to a stop. I don’t want to live the life of a hypocrite anymore. So, here’s to the new me: the new and improved less-than-perfect, proud-to-embrace it me. I guess it took cancer to awaken me to the world. And, for that I am grateful.

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