Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a hard time making friends. Painfully shy as a child, I have learned to put myself out there as an adult, but it still feels brutishly difficult. Bookish, a loner, sarcastic to a point that people wonder if I’m serious (sometimes I am), I don’t have a “people person” personality (or as I like to think of it, a PPP).
So I have always run in small circles. Like I can count my real friends on one hand. I would rather spend a day off spread out on a lounge by the pool, or in a big chair with a book and a warm, purring cat. Alone. Talk to someone? Oh, hell no.
So it has surprised me during my cancer journey to see the community that I have been building around myself. I have family who have gotten much closer to me, and I love every minute that I talk to them. Some of my close friends drifted away, but other friends have become my biggest defenders and cheerleaders. And I make new friends, as it turns out that there is an actual audience who appreciates my personal brand of snark and witticism.
And then there is my family of pink sisters. I swear that breast cancer bonds you in a way nothing else can. I have ladies in my support group around the globe that I talk to as much as my family. And it’s not just about cancer (although that is a frequent topic). We talk about our lives, our families, our friends, our jobs, our hopes, our plans, and how we want to give back and love on the great big world. We understand each other in a way that I couldn’t have conceived two years ago. A few have become more than just pink sisters, they are real sisters. Needless to say, locations for my future travel plans are multiplied exponentially, because there isn’t anyone that I don’t want to hug in person at some point.
It really does take a village, or as we like to think of it, a tribe. Fear is lessened when it is shared, but joy has the opposite reaction. It explodes in the sky like firecrackers. I would never say that I’m glad I had cancer so I could learn this lesson. On the contrary, I would prefer that it never happened. But since I can’t turn back time, I am happy to find a silver lining.
A sense of community.
Dare I say it, a PPP.