These emotions come in waves, waves that remind me of the temperamental weather patterns of the great, vast, seemingly endless oceans. Sometimes the sun beams down from an azure sky and glazed amber light dances across the surface of the sea like honey. The clouds seem to glow a milky white, illuminated by the sun, yellow rays etched around their cotton wool bodies like silver linings.

The world is bright, the waves calm and melodic, everything is at peace. I feel this way sometimes. I talk with someone strong, I absorb the strength of their survival, I read a powerful anecdote or I listen to a song that ignites a fire of hope inside my bones. I find a way to connect with my innate source of courage. I don’t understand why this is happening to me, I don’t understand why it is what it is, but I feel inside me everything is as it is meant to be. There is a blessing within this battle. There is a warrior within me who is prepared to fight this war. I can survive this, I have lived enough lives and seen enough hardship to brave this capricious storm.

Just as quickly as this feeling can infuse my entirety, it can just as easily dissipate and dissolve the same way a storm can destroy the harmonious nature of a calm sea. The sunlight fades behind heavy clouds of grey while the waves rise up and up, bigger than a boat, ripping through everything, until all that’s left are shreds and debris.

Why me? Why me? Why me?

But thoughts are waves. A wave builds up and then it crumbles. We hold onto thoughts so tightly, grasping, clinging but if you simply observe them without attaching to them, without believing them to be the voice of your truth, they disappear with the wind. They go, if you allow them to go. Thoughts are just a whisper in the breeze. It’s all temporary.

Still I wonder… why is this happening to me? I am not a nihilist. I’ve felt too much in my life, felt too strong a connection with nature, with the stars, with the ocean, with the voice of my truth, to believe all of this has no meaning. There is a reason this is happening. There is a reason each of us is put on this earth. We are put here to transcend. To learn, to grow, to reach higher levels of consciousness. This disease is my lesson, delivering me to new levels of spiritual expansion.

I cant help but think this is happening in order to destroy my ego.

I’ve struggled immensely throughout my life, with insecurities and self-love. For about six years I suffered from an eating disorder. I was a very lost teenager, stuck in a destructive pattern of psychological self-abuse. I became an absolute master at hiding my ED from those I loved. When I finally reached breaking point, I sought treatment and entered a clinic. It was one of the hardest things I ever did.

I speak so personally, not to seek sympathy, but to speak my truth. Truth is freedom. Truth is golden liberation from the chains that have imprisoned us. The chains made from society’s unattainable expectations. We are all fractured, flawed human beings, yet we hide these flaws under layers. Layers of clothes, of makeup, hair, materials. We all wear masks. Why do we try so desperately to hide our truths? Young women trying to be as perfect as the caricatures on billboards, on TV, on the cover of magazines. But it’s all a lie. Our true nature is unique, original, unduplicatable – our true nature is messy and genuine and flawed and full of cracks. Yet we conform to this pseudo concept of ‘perfect’ beauty, an ideal created by greedy corporations, desperate to sell us false ideals, to remove us as far away as possible from our natural, organic selves. We hide our weirdness. We run from our flaws. We project outwardly what we want others to see. We live in a world of pretending.

But imagine.

Imagine, if we all wore our internal scars on the outside. Imagine if we all walked around naked. Nothing to hide behind. Nothing to be but ourselves.

The road to recovery was/is a tumultuous road. Saying that freeing oneself of a mental disease is challenging, is a profound understatement. Recovery involves silencing the voice in your head that has plagued you with insecurity and doubt for years and years. It entails drowning out the noise of that voice with your real voice, the voice that reveals the most beautiful truth – that underneath all these layers lies the real you. A voice that allows you to really SEE yourself as beautiful. It is waking up and practicing self love every single day. It is commitment to worshipping the body you were given, despite its ‘flaws’.

My journey to self-love wasjust beginning when then this disease came. Unexpected. Shocking. Like a wrecking ball. Or like the greatest gift I could have ever received, wrapped in pine needles.

Now I see clearly, that I have so many more lessons to learn. Cancer came when I felt my life was just beginning, in order to teach me something vital. To wake me up. To force me to face my true self, to rest, to not resist the now but accept, accept, accept, appreciate and be present. To drown out the commanding voice of my ego.

Because I realise I was (or am) still deeply attached to my appearance, to the way others perceive me. And this is not a personal burden. So many of the most beautiful women I know feel insecure. We go to the bathroom on a night out, worrying about our hair, our makeup. We talk with someone, but barely hear them, instead thinking about the way we appear through their eyes. We post selfies to social media, seeking validation through our exterior selves. But is the way you look on the outside, what makes you a worthy, interesting person? How many people do we not really see because they don’t meet our criteria of external beauty? How many radiantly colourful souls do we miss out on meeting?

So many of us are prisoners to societies expectations. Only a few have escaped these chains. You can see these souls in a crowd. They seem to vibrate on a higher level. They are egoless, free of fear, free from the weight of pressure, expectancy, societies constraints. Perhaps, this disease is my ticket. My great escape. Perhaps, this has happened to rid me of my attachment to vanity. To finally release me from this bullshit need to be ‘good enough’. To learn how to really love myself, flaws and all. To truly realising the fragility of this transient life and taking every single moment for what it is.

“The Universe has shaken you, to awaken you.”

Because, ultimately, if I can look at myself with cancer, really look at myself, on the inside and the outside and still feel beautiful… then I know I can feel beautiful for the rest of my life.

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