"Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier.
Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter."
I have a love/hate relationship with my high school memories. Sure, I loved when I had lunch period with my two best friends and we got to catch up on gossip. I loved getting dressed up for prom and having my best guy friend pick me up on my doorstep. However, I could have done without the cheerleader putting gum in my hair all because her ex-boyfriend asked me to prom... And I'm pretty positive I wouldn't have minded my picture remaining on the wall since I worked hard for that award. High school was brutal which is saying a lot because I wasn't unpopular. Kids are mean. Even I had my moments I am most definitely not proud of.
"There are a million things you have to do to get through each day. High school has things that can trip you up, ruin you, people say one thing and mean another, and you have to know all the rules, you have to know what you can and can't do.”
I'm here to warn ya, the cancer network isn't all that different than high school. There are high emotions, overly sensitive souls, rules you must silently follow, and sometimes there are games you have to play. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just a part of it. The majority of the people I have encountered have been wonderful, truly inspiring people. These honest people who make up the majority of the group are the ones who need you as much as you need them, who sincerely cheer you on from their computer monitors, who talk and listen.
When discussing the amazing people we meet in the cancer network, Hillary Fogelson explains it best in Pale Girl Speaks, "It may seem morbid that I like going and hearing patients' stories. But as horribly shocking and painfully sad as most of the stories are, I still enjoy hearing people talk about their illness: their cancer, their side effects, their recovery, and sometimes even their death. I'm meeting people in the most vulnerable time of their lives. Many of them are confronting their own mortality--a few are still trying to accept their illness, some are struggling to make peace with it, others are looking to make peace with themselves, but all of them are willing to share. Share all of it with me. And it's truly amazing. It's inspiring. These people! I can't believe these goddamned sick people! I am constantly amazed by their strength. They are so strong, so powerful. They've dealt with more pain and hurt and fear than they probably ever imagined they would" (285-286).
Then there's the other side. You meet the people you are unsure of, the people who make you feel like the treatment you are doing isn't just right, the folks who don't bring you down with their cancer, but instead, with their attitude.
I feel like I have been very open with the world about my experience with melanoma. In return, I have been adored and criticized. When I am happy and enjoying my life outside of melanoma, I share it. When I am feeling bitchy and just freaking ticked off at the things that are happening, I blog about it. When a stranger questions my scars I confide in all of you about the tears that were shed secretly in my car. When a fellow melanoma warrior tells me I don't have brain cells because I used the tanning bed, I take to this very public blog and write about it with hopes that you all have advice on how to handle the situation. I tell you things about my personal relationship during its darkest hour simply because I don't want to sugarcoat things. Shit is hard sometimes and I made a promise in the very beginning to be as honest as I possibly could be. Sometimes you like what I have to say, sometimes you don't. It's something I knew would happen when this blog started becoming a bit more popular.
Blogging about my life and my cancer isn't the only thing I try to do. I make a huge effort to support fellow cancer patients. I may not respond to every status update, it may take me a few days to get back to your email, but when you all take the time to email me with your deepest fears and concerns, I try my hardest to address every single one of you. I try to be available, honest, and respectful of you as I wish for you to be of me.
With that being said, I will not support negativity. Ever.
In the last 2 months I have witnessed an increase of bullying within our loving melanoma community. A group where I used to frequent often to check on my "Mole Mates" and to ask my own questions is now a place I am no longer a part of. I have deleted fellow melanoma warriors from my personal Facebook page due to negativity and unfriendliness. I hate that I feel like I need to remind people of this, but cancer doesn't give you an excuse to act like an asshole.
Because of the decisions I made to unfriend certain folks, and because of my opinion of Bruce Jenner, I have been accused of being "two-faced" and not supportive of fellow melanoma warriors. This opinion has lead people to send letters to a certain Foundation I hold dear to my heart. Apparently they do not believe I am a good role model because of my two-faces and the lack of support I give to fellow warriors.
I made a personal decision to remove myself from negativity. It was a decision I made on my own. While I hate that these people have to battle melanoma, I will not excuse them from their poor behavior nor will I tolerate it. Because of this decision, 3 women have decided to verbally attack me via letters to THE Foundation that means a lot to me.
I am not OK with this.
These women want me to be more real than I have been? Here it is:
Cyber bullying is not OK and I refuse to tolerate it. If that means I'm an unsupportive 2-faced diva, so be it. My decision remains the same. I'm keeping the negativity out.