Just three weeks after my double mastectomy, I was having a full-blown pity party with my girlfriends (wine included). Cancer shenanigans, among other life diversions, will do that to a gal.
And for the record, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good pity party. Sometimes you just gotta… you just do.
There is no way to dress up the fact that life was a little crappy. I was a little crappy.
Even though there were some intense moments that evening, complete with ugly tears, so many cool things happened in the end.
When I think back to that emotional moment with my soul sisters, I am reminded of the desire to dream that was reignited within me that night.
I remember sharing with my friends that I would not die until my kids got to see and experience what true love between a husband and a wife really was.
Since my breast cancer diagnosis, this conviction was so real to my heart and everyone in my circle knew it.
In fact, as they were putting me under anesthesia for my surgery, I kept repeating it over and over until good ol “annie” had accomplished her mission. Down and out… the only way to be when someone is about to chop off your womanhood.
Even though I knew what I wanted, I had no faith that I would ever find it. After all, what man would want a married woman with no boobs?
By the end of the evening, the girls (yeah, not those “girls”… they’re gone, remember) became a little annoyed with me. And they called me out… because that’s what good friends do.
“Kacie, it’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Quit talking about it… stop thinking about it… show up and make it happen,” they said.
“Who is this fella? What is he like? What does the love you want so badly for your kids to witness look like between you and him?”
You see, they were encouraging me to drop my guard and expose the raw areas of my heart I had protected for so long. They were asking me to be vulnerable.
“You need to open up and dream about what this life with this person really looks like. Kacie, if you’re not actively looking for it, then you’re never going to find it. Say it out loud and claim it.”
I began to say out loud the soul mate characteristics that were important to me…
- He will know how to make me laugh
- He will wine and dine me with a never-ending desire to date me
- He will be taller than me
- He will love to sing and dance
- He will be funny and energetic
- He will love my kids unconditionally
They were all simple things that any woman would want; nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. But I had never opened myself up to these “soulmate” qualifications because, to be honest, the idea of being happy intimidated me.
How do I know if it’s right? What if it doesn’t work? How do I explain that to my kids?
By the end of the evening, I felt my heart and mind completely open up to the possibility of this experience, not only for my kids, but for myself, as well.
I had never experienced a moment quite like this.
It was such an amazing feeling to be in a place where I was all in.
My heart and mind were completely exposed… a true definition of unguarded vulnerability.
A week after this life-changing evening with some of my best friends, I had a post-op visit with my doctor in Phoenix, Arizona. She greeted me with a hug and asked how I was.
“It depends,” I said. “Is the cancer gone?”
She smiled and said, “We don’t get to say this often, but I can confidently say that we think we’ve cured you. All the tests came back negative and your numbers are great… I’d say it’s time to start living your life again.”
It was as if my girlfriends had helped me identify and my doctor had given me permission to go after the life I desired and deserved.
The next day as I was sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane, a handsome (taller than me – ✔) man walked over and sat down in the seat next to me.
I seriously had no idea where this conversation would lead. But at that moment, I didn’t care.
For the first time in 15 years I was finally open to the new possibilities I had been so carefully guarding my heart and mind from..
Fast forward to now. I have been married to the man of my dreams for nearly six years now, and my kids are finally experiencing what it means to be in a loving relationship.
Heck yeah. Vulnerability is a risky business. No doubt about it. But if I had not taken a risk and opened my heart to new possibilities, I wouldn’t be in this sweet space now.
What possibilities and opportunities are you missing out on because your heart and mind are so tightly guarded? Is it a relationship, a career, an experience?
Whatever it is, open up and show up for the life that is waiting for you.
If you would like the juicy details leading up to my “happily ever after” life with Prince Charming, check out my book, The Sweet Spot.