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From Survivor to Creator

On January 31, 2021 I was deemed a Cancer Survivor. That was an important designation for me. In the months that followed I emotionally processed my experience. I dug into the trauma of a cancer diagnosis. I took a long hard look at the life I survived, and perhaps more importantly, had a long hard think about the life I wanted to create. I committed to this ongoing process of self reflection and awareness.

After a while, though, I realized that being called a survivor was becoming uncomfortable. Like a snake shedding its skin, I found that I was outgrowing that designation.

Cancer is weird like that. When we break bones or experience neurological diagnoses or diseases we don’t call ourselves orthopedic survivors for the next 4 decades. For me, being a survivor, clinging to “I am a survivor” tacitly keeps me connected to the struggle and to past circumstances.

Joe Dispenza describes the "I am" statement as so powerful because you are “commanding your mind and body toward a destiny.” I am a survivor positions you as linked to that which you have survived. You can’t identify as a survivor if you’re not identifying with the cancer. So what future am I commanding when I affirm, “I am a survivor?” For me, it felt uncomfortable.

Now I’m not saying I want to erase cancer from my experience. Not at all. It has been a teacher to me and a profound experience that I will never deny, and one that I’m grateful for in that it woke me up. My life has transformed for the better.

But today I’ve moved on. Instead of cancer survivor, I now declare myself a Creator. I’m much more interested in what I can create from my future.

And I understand how this might hit prickly for some who feel attached to the pink ribbon or the survivor designation, If you're open to it, this could be an opportunity to get really curious. Ask yourself why? Why does what she is saying make me uncomfortable? Why do I want to be a survivor? What does that pink ribbon represent?

There’s gold in your answers. Your answers are breadcrumbs to your inner work. Maybe you want to feel seen for your struggle? Maybe you want to be acknowledged for your courage? Maybe your inner child wants praise for the good job she did. Having that awareness allows you to give yourself all of it. To heal emotionally. That’s a profound process that is so worth the effort.

And maybe you'll reach a point when you lovingly move from survivor to creator as you envision your glorious life beyond cancer.

And maybe not. If the pink ribbon and survivor designation still lights you up, then I love that clear and intentional choice for you.


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