Cancer, The White House, and Oprah all walk into a bar... the craziest three months of my life.
You guys… I can’t event with life right now.
What is even happening?
Even as I write these words, I know what’s happening. Everything that’s meant to.
Can we just. I haven’t written since May. Since then, many, many, many things have happened. 😂 😂 😂
Here’s a brief chronology:
May 2nd: Went under for my first surgery to remove the cancer in my leg. My surgeon removed about two Mars bars from my leg. Started recovery on some heavy heavy meds. Didn’t know how to slow down, started ‘working’ the next day. Was in a lot of pain for a good three weeks.
May 24th: In the throws of preparing for our White House premiere, got a call while standing in line at Staples with Diana as we were buying DVDs to burn the movie onto for Erin, that I indeed need a second surgery. They got all the cancer, which is great. But they needed to take another Mars bar out to make sure it doesn’t come back. FML. *Proceeds to hand credit card to Staples cashier*.
May 26th: My first pain free day, and the DAY WE PREMIERE OUR FIRST FILM AT THE FREAKING WHITE HOUSE. So many of our family and dearest friends were in the room with us. Erin and I cry when the film is complete, and hug each other in the aisle as we receive our first standing ovation for Dream, Girl. The cat’s out of the bag, and we couldn’t be more terrified and happy.
June 9th: We premiere our film in NYC at the iconic Paris Theater to 600 people, most of whom, WE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW, WHO WERE THESE PEOPLE, THE COOLEST, MOST AMAZING PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. They made me cry, they stood up and cheered their hearts out for us. They gasped, laughed, cried, and cheered throughout our film. They loved our characters (REAL WOMEN). We had a Q&A that was one of my favourite things I’ve ever done. Then we partied on an NYC rooftop with the skyline behind us for many hours, celebrating one of the best nights of our lives.
June 10th - July: We undergo a number of identity crises, life crises, exhaustion crises, etc… and get back to work booking screenings, and figuring out how to both spread the film globally, and generate revenue to build our company up. Thousands of people around the world see the film. I also prepare for my next surgery while still recovering from the first. I go on my first run. I cry after because it’s the first time I’ve felt free in my body in over a year. I also cry from the pain of my incision post-run. I take a taxi home from the park because it hurt so much.
Early July - July 13th: I go home for an amazing family wedding and to start unwinding as I feel like I'm going to crash and burn. Erin is holding down the fort, and begins working with Diana and Kylie to pivot and streamline our sales and distribution processes, which is technically my wheelhouse. She crushes and makes space for me to process what’s about to happen. My first magazine cover ever is released. I have the best visit ever with my family, and start to feel the fear bubbling up for this next surgery. I head back to Ottawa.
July 14th: Surgery day. Also, one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. I was awake for this surgery, and it was the worst patient experience of my life. I’ll likely share more when I’ve better processed it. Lots of blood, lots of squeezing my eyes shut, a lack of freezing, and a huge amount of gratitude for the Summer 2016 playlist I made with my sisters.
July 14th - August 3rd: Recovery. Battle with a lot of negative thoughts, feelings, emotions. Healing my body. Healing my mind. Resting my nervous system and beginning to feel ‘normal’. Managing pain, but actually turning off, and tuning out. Lots of movies. Lots of love. Some of the most uncomfortable and hard days of my life. The day I found out, final final, that I am cancer free and need no more surgeries. That time Erin and Sal got to go on VACATION!
August 4th: The day we get to share that we are on Oprah’s #SuperSoul100 list. The day I did my first full day of work post-op. The day I realized my brain was still only at 60%. The day I was so eternally grateful for the Dream, Girl Team (Diana, Kylie, Prasanna, Maggie!). The day I felt more confident than I ever had in my life.
August 4th. The day I loved myself so fully, I could truly be present for the people around me.
August 4th. The day I will look back on (and read this post from) so I can remember, so vividly, the day I realized the purpose, foundation, fabric of my life. The day I accepted that the only thing I am meant to do in this life is help others by loving myself, and making good in this world.
August 4th. The day I looked myself in the mirror before bed and said... “I am proud of you. I am proud of what you’ve overcome, what you’ve survived the past 26 years, and what you choose to do in this world. I am proud of how you choose to make others feel.” I am proud of who I am.
I never want to forget this feeling. I never want to forget this day.
So many SHINY things have happened this year. Moments of acknowledgement, and moments of praise. I am in such deep gratitude to these moments, for helping uplift the impact of Dream, Girl, and for helping me at my core realize what matters to me most.
I have come through both the best and worst six months of my life. I survived cancer. I was slammed down to the concrete by life. And I was uplifted by meaningful, impactful, change driven work. I was brought back to life by love. By Mitch, my parents (and in-laws), my siblings, Erin, my best friends, our team, so many strangers. I did not rise because of the shiny. I did not rise because of Oprah, or magazines, or premieres. I rose because people loved me. They loved me back to health. Their love showed me the power of my own love. I have given these people every single ounce of me. And they gave it right back to me.
They loved me so hard, I fell in love with myself.
Today, because of Oprah, and her legacy of impact, and the resonance her name brings, I woke up from my recovery to a chorus of love that’s made me the most confident woman I have ever been.
I am ready. I am ready for this next chapter*. I am ready to rise, fall, be beat to the ground, and to rise again. Loved. Healed. Rested. And more resilient than ever.
*Don’t worry, I’m going to rest a while longer, then get to everything I’ve said above 😂 😂 😂