Sunday, August 27, 2006

Wonder Woman

One of my strongest memories of childhood is being Wonder Woman. I was around 5 or so, and we were living at my grandparents. Maybe I remember it so well because I've seen pictures, or maybe I just truly believed I was a superhero. I had Wonder Woman underoos. Yes, I said underoos- an amazing invention of the early eighties that made it okay for small children to run around in their underwear. I wish I had underoos now. I hate pants. Anyway, back to my story...

My very cool Aunt Megan was visiting, and she took the time- as only cool aunts will- to help make my transformation into Linda Carter complete. She took the time to help fashion the gold cuffs for my wrists and a very excellent tiara- all with their requisite red stars. I had the boots and the attitude. In fact, I'm pretty sure we made a truth lasso as well. So there I was, able to fight crime, catch the bad guys, and generally do whatever I wanted. I had super human powers. I was invincible.

See, aren't I cute? Let's not comment about the amazing blue shag carpet and lime green bedspread. It's best left alone.

Perhaps the reason I remember this so well is because, even at a young age, there was a part of me who believed I could do anything. There was no obstacle I couldn't conquer. Even in my underwear. Some might argue that in my early twenties I conquered most of my challenges in my underwear, but those are stories best told over martini's. And I still have a good pair of Fuji me Boots.

At one point during chemo, I was taking to my Aunt- the very same one who helped me become superhuman. I remember the conversation well. I was standing outside of Old Navy, and I was bitching about how I was too fat for my clothes, my shoes, my wedding ring. I was bitching about how it was hard to work AND fight cancer at the same time. My aunt, a very wise woman, not so subtly told me I was in fact not Super Woman. I should stop trying to do everything. I should prioritize. I should ask for help. I should surrender to the fact that some things that I could do before cancer would just have to wait.

This was a blow to me. What do you mean, I can't do everything I used to do? I don't understand. Doesn't that make me weak? There is NOTHING worse than weakness. Everyone tells me how amazing and strong and inspirational I am. Yada, Yada, Yada. If I am all these things, shouldn't I be able to handle it all? Isn't that what we're taught as little girls, as we're dressed up as Wonder Woman- that we can handle anything?

This is something I've struggled with the entire time I've had cancer. I have continually done too much. Other than the week of my surgery, I haven't take any time off work. I've moved across the country, I've painted a house (okay, Alan, I've painted some of a house). I've probably run myself more into the ground at times. I thought that by giving in to exhaustion sometimes, I was giving in to Cancer.

This past month, it's really hit me. I'm not Wonder Woman. I've been exhausted- so exhausted, its made it almost impossible to do anything sometimes. So I've given in. Some things don't get done. I've prioritized. I get the stuff in that's good for ME- I walk, I sleep, I do things that make me happy. If that means there's dog hair on the floor- then too damn bad. Even better, I hired a cleaning company. They come every two weeks. I've stopped berating myself for not doing everything. I like to call it "delegating." In the time it took me to clean the bathroom, I can now take a nap, or catch up on other things. And I'm not going to feel bad. Maybe I'm not Wonder Woman, but then again, they never showed Wonder Woman scrubbing hardwood floors.


Anonymous said...

Actually, you still are Wonder Woman, and don't you ever forget it. You are battling the evil force of darkness, cancer, bravely and beautifully. And, you will defeat it utterly. Asking for help when you need it does not mean you're no longer invincible. It simply means you know what's important, and are saving your powers for the battle than really counts. Also means you're smart! Take it from the woman who hasn't scrubbed her own floors for years. And the woman who knows firsthand that the little girl in the underoos has grown into an amazing, courageous woman, of whom she is very proud.
Your very wise, and VERY COOL Aunt Megan

Anonymous said...

For those of us type A personalities, taking care of ourselves and putting other things aside is sometimes harder than trying to be wonder woman. Take care of you first and the rest of the world (and errands, chores, etc.) can wait.

Chris said...

I agree with very cool Aunt Megan. You ARE Wonder Woman. You are a wonderful woman. Besides, the Wonder Woman I watched never scrubbed floors or dusted shelves. I bet she had a nice cleaning lady too.