Wednesday, February 4, 2015

News Flash: I Don't Love My Brain Tumor

It has been many, many years since I've hated something about my body. I remember my teen years; feeling bloated, lumpy, overweight, awkward. We've all been there in one way or another. 

I revisited those feelings during the baby years, although it didn't seem as bad because there were three perfectly adorable reasons for the lumps, bumps, and that one big belly scar. I also knew there were things I could do to improve the situation: Eat well, exercise, and save up for a tummy tuck to get rid of the c-section overhang that those 9+ lb babies gave to me. (No, I am not against elective plastic surgery if it makes a woman feel better)

Since then I've been operating under the notion that I loved my body. Every square inch of my 5'5" frame was just the way it should be on any given day. Some days I felt bloated, sometimes strong, or lean, or just blah. It was all okay. I preached this mantra to my teen daughter and sometimes to my family and friends, actually believing in my 100% body acceptance. . . until today.

I was practicing a new guided chakra meditation when the guide suggested that on inhale, I imagine the breath expanding throughout my body, sending love to every part of my physical self. I pictured little red rubies whizzing through the expansive network of veins, lighting up my organs and tissues with a warm glow. 

But there was one place they could not enter. One place in the deep recess of my brain that was cold, black, and surrounded by an impenetrable wall. I tried to overcome the block, but didn't want to come out of meditation, so I let it morph into a feeling of overpowering acceptance that shocked me. I don't love all of my body. I began to cry.

I hate my brain tumor.

For the first time, I think I finally consider my brain tumor as a part of my body. It sounds strange, since it's been over four years since I learned about its presence. I guess I've always thought of it as separate from me, like a "dark passenger" (a nickname my husband came up with after watching Dexter). 

Keeping the tumor separate meant that I didn't have to really accept it's permanent place inside my head. (Because of its location, it can never be completely removed.) It was annoying, like a guest who overstays their welcome. Today, I realized without the tiniest bit of my usual denial, that my brain tumor was never going away. My brain tumor is just like a lung, or a toe, or a knuckle. 

I love all the other parts of my body. But if I do not love my brain tumor, and my brain tumor is a permanent part of my body, then I can't love my whole body. This bothers me.

Will I ever love my entire body again? I feel foolish for thinking that I ever did, as if the tumor tricked me by hiding undetected until four years ago. And then I tricked myself by denying its permanent place.

How do I learn to love something mutant and abhorrent that resides in my brain like a sleeper cell? Something that shapes my life so drastically? Should I even try to love it? Or simply accept that I can't?

I wish I could revert my thinking back to the tumor being a separate entity, just to make it easier. Then I could continue to send healing, cleansing, and purifying thoughts during meditation, but never love. 

I can't be dishonest with myself. It's like a graphic photo that can't be unseen. I can't un-realize this realization. 

If I were a skater on the surface of life, I would say that ignorance is bliss. I suspect, however, that as a sophomore swimmer in the deep pools of existence, I have a lot of learning to do.