Even though corporal punishment wasn’t considered politically incorrect or even vaguely inappropriate when my sisters and I were growing up, our parents rarely used this method of discipline. Unsurprisingly for a journalist, my father’s preferred form of reprimand was always language. As a teenager, when I argued with either parent Dad metred out sharp turns of phrase like, ‘Always wrong but never in doubt,’ or the classic King Lear line, ‘How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child’. But it’s his rebuke for answering back or being disrespectful, as teenagers are wont to be, that is stamped on my very being all these years later: ‘Keep a civil tongue in your head’.
Brené Brown’s seminal work Daring Greatly starts with a recap on her own opening lines to a newly appointed therapist. Dr Brown was at the time doing a PhD in shame and vulnerability, and she started her first session by saying, “I hate uncertainty. I hate not knowing.”
As I listened to the Daring Greatly audiobook these words became imbued with a strange, India rubber ball quality, causing them to bounce about in my stomach for a bit. As regular dear readers already know, I don’t believe in coincidences. Which is why I’m not at all surprised by the sudden appearance-in-my-path of Dr Brown’s reference to uncertainty (and her well-documented aversion to it) when, once again, I find myself straddling the known and the unknown on this continuing Big Breast Adventure.
Writing is writ large in our family, so to speak. My dad started his career as a finance journalist, one of my sisters is a sports writer while another is the author of several academic works. I married a journalist and together we’ve run a public relations firm for almost thirty years, writing everything from media releases to CEO’s speeches, website content to annual reports for various local and international clients.
One could safely say that I’ve made a career out of writing, but never in my wildest dreams did I think stringing words together would actually save my life.
Yes folks, it’s my anniversary. On 17 December three years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time I didn’t dare think too much further ahead than the next treatment hurdle, which in my case was a mastectomy two days after diagnosis. Oddly enough, the 17th December in 2016 falls on a Saturday – Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life Day in Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. A little spiritual tingle is travelling up my spine right now because it was after I came home from the hospital that I started writing my blogpost on that 7th Law, a post I’d been putting off for over a year as I came to terms with my own mid-life crisis, for want of a better description. That post led to the Big Breast Adventure series and the rest, as they say in the classics, is history. It seems fitting on this day of reflection (for me at least) to reprise my Law 7 – Purpose in Life post as a reminder to myself (more than anyone else) that time does indeed march on and finding one’s purpose continues to be a ‘work in progress’.