I haven’t blogged in ages because I’ve been scared of what I might sound like. Knowing I am a cancer patient – getting chemotherapy, I have been scared that I would sound too heavy, too negative, or too false positive, too ….like what -f’ing- ever.

It’s the eve of my final chemo session, and I need to blog again. It’s time to let go of caring what others might think about me saying what I feel. I look like a fat middle age person with male pattern balding … hahaha that’s kinda funny – I’ll say that again because it felt so good. I look like a fat middle-aged person with male pattern balding. I don’t want to look like this because I don’t identify with the image of myself. But this is what it is.

I am middle-aged… and I’ve picked up 5kg on this journey. I have three eyebrow hairs over my right eye and five over my left eye. I probably have two eyelashes on each of my eyes. The Michelin Man. I hate the way that I look, and I accept that I hate the way that I look.

When I say that out loud, then it’s like everyone around me goes into panic mode… like they feel they need to reassure me, or comfort me, or tell me to flipping be patient. I know that this won’t last forever – but I feel the way that I feel. I think people struggle with the fact that one can accept that things just suck… most people don’t want to say things suck because they feel it’s ‘negative’ and God forbid we are negative. So for God’s sake Bronwyn…. Don’t say that out loud!

Society is conditioned to want things to be bright and shiny, or if it’s not bright and shiny, we must be on a mission to get things bright and shiny. Society has the tendency to want to dismiss perceived negative thoughts and respond to distress with false reassurances rather than empathy. There’s so much pressure to ‘stay positive’, so when you say things are not well, even that you have accepted that things are not well, it makes almost all the people around one uncomfortable.

In general, people feel the need to offer comfort or advice. I catch myself doing the same thing, too sometimes. But today, while I’m still an active chemotherapy patient, I want to say that toxic positivity is death. It’s not sustainable, and it makes things worse for someone who is going through something difficult to tell them to stay positive, as opposed to just saying it sucks. If something is really difficult or bad, we can’t “positive thinking” it away. Positivity needs to be rooted in reality for it to be healthy and helpful. Why on earth do people still say ‘stay positive’ to someone who is going through something, or she’s got a great positive attitude, as a compliment about someone who is going through something downright shitty?

Come on Bella… Let’s be positive

It’s kinda like death. Someone dies, we have to grieve, and we have to mourn to be able to appreciate life again. If something in your life dies …. your health, your career, your image of yourself, your car, your relationship or marriage, your project, your anything, the same principle applies. Feel it to get over it. For me getting cancer and becoming the Michelin Man was no different. I’m feeling it to get over it. I’m feeling it so that I can find a way to appreciate life again, albeit different to what it was like before.

Change is constant in life, so no situation, good or bad, will be permanent. So whatever I feel today, positive or negative, won’t last. Susan Davids says difficult emotions (situations) are part of our contract with life. Today I am saying it’s about time for us to raise awareness about the incredible value of difficult situations and emotions – the important role that negative feelings have for growth and for a really truly meaningful life.