the leading lady

One day last year I met a clinician who was in the room to tell me that my breast cancer had recurred. For ten years I had dreaded and lived in fear of this moment, but strangely it was OK. I had the blessing of knowing much of what would follow, and I knew I had the experience to deal with it. It was still a lot to take on board though, and I dipped a little, feeling dizzy and not quite there. The clinician simply asked me when I’d last eaten? He realised that I was probably having a sugar crash and he left the room, returning with a bag of licorice allsorts, telling me very gently that licorice was a really good fix. So we each chose one each from the bag, my breast nurse and partner too, then another. In the moment I’d feared arriving for so long, I was able to smile and listen as information landed with me, unlike ten years ago when it was like a very strange nightmare.

I didn’t know it then, but I’d faced up to something that had been a character in my life for ten years. Fear. At times, it had defined me. At other times it was more a part of me as I enjoyed my life feeling balanced.

I’ve spent time cursing it, defying it, having words with it (rude ones) and saying ‘I’m just not having it!’ in my life. Now though, it’s clear what I’ve been trying to do all for all of these years; to let go of it. Often when I’m breathing, upside down practising my yoga, releasing the tensions of my day, it strikes me that very thing I’m doing makes me feel better, safer, calmer. I’m letting go.

For almost eleven years I’ve searched for inspiration, some certainty that I was fully back in my own life as the leading lady. Would there be a pivotal moment when it would all become clear as to what I should do next, and with the rest of my life? I’ve reflected on the things I have already done, got them out for another look, and re-evaluated them. But they are what they are, they’re done and dusted, in my past. Over. They can’t be changed, but I can draw from them and learn.

So now I’m ready, at last, to begin again with a fresh start and, finally, some confidence; ready to let go of some of my own ghosts, and start embracing each day, each precious moment with my loved ones, each second I have to live my life. In the end it’s been quite simple really, some might call it an epiphany, I call it a relief. I know what I want to do.

Many years ago a colleague said to me ‘Sue, if you can this passionate about marketing lipsticks, imagine what you could achieve if you actually gave a damn!’. She was right, I’ve spent time hovering on my own fence doing work I don’t really enjoy but passed at being quite decent at.

Now it’s time for me to demonstrate to myself that I have the confidence to give a damn, and use my passion to drive forward my ideas to innovate and create choice in the lingerie market for women who’ve dashed breast cancer, women who deserve to have the same fabulous design choice in underwear as they did prior to their treatment.

Every woman deserves beautiful lingerie, me included!

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