This past week I took a trip to see both my brother and sorority graduate; one from high school, the other from law school. Because I waited last minute, my form of transportation was by bus. But if you know me, you know I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason.
While en route to DC, a met a wonderful woman who had many connections and was very experienced in life. We talked about many subjects as if we had been acquaintances for ages. She was a little older than my mother, so I naturally looked up to her, but she took a particular interest in me and my life of work (educator, anthropologist), and promised to connect me with some of her friends in my industry doing impressive work. We talked about everything, from her short haircut, to the failing education system. We started chatting about natural beauty/body and the importance of awareness in today’s sickening society. I began ramble about ingredients, and how we as women in particular should stay away from harsh ingredients including parabens and the key ingredient found in anti-perspirant– aluminum. What she said to me after this rant was disheartening, and I felt completely ignorant for the next five minutes as I listened to her:
“I am battling breast cancer.”
I was shocked, saddened, impressed, amazed, and confused all at the same time. Here was the beautiful middle-aged woman with so much personality, a confidence that intrigues, and a bad ass haircut that only a woman who knows herself could rock. How could she have breast cancer? I shortly found out that she had been diagnosed, healed, and later made aware that her cancer had come back, and now spread to her lungs. I felt for her. Until that moment, cancer hadn’t affected anyone that I knew personally, and even though I had just met this woman (we had been friends by this point for about 3 hours), I felt like it hit close to home.
She said two things to me that stood out, and are the reasons I am writing this blog. I’ll admit I was suspicious and doubtful at first, but I’m starting to believe that she may be correct…
1.) If breast cancer affected more men, we would already have a cure and
2.) Cancer could be caused by anything, so just live…
The latter comment she made was in response to my purports about ingredients, so naturally I was doubtful and honestly, still believe that we should eliminate unnatural chemicals and activities from our lives that can knowingly harm us. But she was completely accurate in that carcinogens could be everywhere and that sometimes we can’t avoid them– and I’m probably being exposed as I’m typing this blog…
As for the cure for breast and other types of cancer, I am saddened by this comment, but find it to be eye opening. Men (as well as women) are capable of inventing, creating, discovering, building, and destroying all types of things that affect them. But women endure the consequences. Perhaps it’s in our biology; we’re delicate creatures that should be revered and cared for, but maybe because we’ve fought so hard to be equal, our bodies are now trying to show us otherwise. This is not to say that women who get breast cancer or any other illness are in someway feminist warriors who’ve reaped what they’ve sown, but that our modern-day society has overlooked sex and “gender” (socially created roles) in the most significant and simple way possible: that we are not created equal for a purpose.
There are many mistakes that we as humans have made all throughout history. Most of them are related to defying nature. Sure, we have qualities that set us a part from other earthlings including our free will and ingenuity, and we are the designers of countless great and even inexplicable works of art and architecture. But unfortunately, we’ve also outdone ourselves in many ways, and hurt the planet along the way. The combination of our imagination, self-determination, and ignorance have created both unimaginable accomplishments and fatal consequences. It’s time we start taking responsibility and action and thinking simply.
I am so grateful to have met such an insightful and strong being this past weekend. Who knew that I would be touched in this way? We exchanged contact info, and have spoken via e-mail. Because of who she is, I know she will not leave this earth before she has served her purpose, which may be a long time from now. I’m just thankful for the wisdom of the Universe, and for my place and consciousness within it.