When I stepped out of the shower this morning my head was swirling with anticipation of the day. I was setting off on an adventure of semi-epic proportions. I was about to take part in something much bigger than myself.
…But was it bigger than I could handle? For just a brief moment, as I toweled myself dry, I felt my entire body filling with a mild sense of dread. The monkey in my mind was trying to convince me to cancel my plans.
You can’t do this. It’s going to be awful.
Cancel. Just send a text. Say you can’t make it.
Apologize. Say you’ve changed your mind.
Lie. Say you have the flu.
I caught my breath and I gave myself a pep talk. Be bold! I told myself. Live fully. Step out of your comfort zone. Take the leap!
So I summoned up some courage, and I moved through the moments. I brushed my teeth while I fought with my reflection. ‘You just be quiet.’ I told her. ‘We are doing this.’
Sitting on the darkened bus, with my Johnny right beside me, the lights of the Lincoln Tunnel flashed and flickered like some futuristic film. I could feel the anticipation building. I was teetering on the line between excitement and deep, restless regret.
Every breath brought me back to balance.
And soon, I found myself standing in the middle of a room full of strangers, completely naked. I was in front of a wall of windows with a wide open view of Weehawken. A woman I never met before began draping fabric around my midsection. Several indistinguishable conversations were going on in the room and in the adjacent room. The voices bounced off of the high ceilings. She told me to close my eyes and breathe and ground myself into the earth as she got her camera ready.
She told me to lay a hand on my scars. Time seemed to stand still. Tears began to stream down my checks. My body filled with a deep sense of gratitude and awe. I cannot believe I am here right now. I am so happy to be alive. Each click of her camera was more cathartic than the last. I was naked. Cracked open. Fully exposed.
I bare my soul on a regular basis when I write. Today, I also bared my body. My intention was to show others who have to go through mastectomy surgeries that there is life on the other side of it. There is still beauty on the other side of it. And there is grace.
There is grace, and I am breathing it in. I am living fully. I am acting boldly. I am moving through each moment. And I will never ever give in to the little voice of doubt and dread.
To learn more about The Grace Project, or to make a donation click here.