What if…

I’ve been pondering a lot of what ifs lately: what if we talked openly about our own lived experiences with cancer? What if cancer was perceived differently? What if we saw patients as human beings first and as patients second? What if we expressed our hopes, fears, and unknowns more? What if we talked openly about death and dying? How could these what ifs shift or transform how we experience and navigate cancer?

Fortunately, as a participant in the incredible program, Getting to Maybe: Social Innovation Residency, I had the opportunity to contemplate and explore these questions deeply; reflecting on my own experiences and imagining how one’s experience with cancer could be different. And, as our time at the residency came to a close, my colleagues and I were invited to reveal our learnings and reflections in a final performance. The parameters for our performances were quite open; however, we were required to share for no less than five minutes and use at least two media (visual, music, movement, theatre, poetry, etc). This idea of performing was both exciting and terrifying!

As I reflected upon my learnings, it became quite clear that my performance was likely going to be about my experiences with cancer and how one could experience cancer differently. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, yet I sensed it was going to push me out of my comfort zone. Initially, I struggled to “figure out” my performance and then it seemed to simply emerge; taking shape as I read through my journals and harvested resonating words and images. This harvest then formed the basis for a piece of art and morphed into a script for my performance. Next, I made some props and sought help from friends to bring my performance to life (thank you Ian, Don, Maia, Katrina, Josee, Michael, Bonnie, team Sloth, and the rest of you stellar GTM residency folks!). And then it was time to perform!

Rather than describe my performance, I’m simply going to share it with you. Sharing it feels quite vulnerable and yet I sense it is important to share. In fact, if I want to contribute to shifting the cancer narrative, I must. And so… here is the raw, uncut version of my performance. I’ve also included my piece of art created through the process of harvesting. I hope you enjoy!

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Thanks for sharing this journey with me and witnessing my vulnerability! I feel deeply humbled and blessed!

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