Tips and Stories

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You do you, boo boo.


Whoa. Blog posting. Hi.

So this is based on a couple of stories that I've heard from friends over the years, and especially by one conversation that was held between myself and another lovely individual recently.

We're chatting away, wasting time, catching up, and they excitedly, but unintentionally, mention something that they like, realise this, and immediately try to change the conversation. Something clicks in my head; I bring up said topic, and ask them what they think about it. One hour later, and we are still talking about this topic, throwing stories, and quotes around, and having a great time.

Turns out, this person has been judged, and mocked for liking this particular 'thing,' in the past, and like a lot of us who have experienced being shamed, or judged for something, we resort to hiding to avoid potential repercussions. What really got to me, and brought my attention back to this group mentality to conceal our quirks, is that this person told me a short time after this conversation that they were thankful that I listened to them. And that for once they weren't shut down, or called names because of it.

Hearing this broke my poor heart. One, because I had also liked and was engaged with the focus of our previous conversation, and wasn't just there to keep them company. And two, because this person had honestly felt that they needed to shut down their own feelings about something that they were (dare I say) passionate about when talking to others.

How many times have I turned down an opportunity to do something that I wanted to do? How many potential friendships have I not made because I never reciprocated mutual feelings of enjoyment, or excitement? How many times have I wanted to make a suggestion for something, but then second guessed myself?

Our world is weird. We are told to grow up, and fit in. And sometimes when an extraordinary circumstance like cancer comes along, we're forced to do so rather quickly. To draw from a modern example of beautiful animation, brilliant marketing, and catchy song-writing, Disney's Frozen; "Don't let them in. Don't let them see. Be the good girl, you always have to be. Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know." Like Elsa, we try to fit in, and yearn to be accepted, by hiding what makes us special. But like Elsa, I'm here to remind you to, "Let it go. Let it go. Don't hold it back anymore."

No matter if you like 'Panic! At the Disco', or 'One Direction', play your favourite music, and sing along loudly.

If you like playing games like 'Minecraft', or 'Undertale', or running around and (safely) playing 'Pokemon Go', do so and enjoy yourself.

If you feel comfortable wearing shorts and t-shirts, or lounging in a onesie all day, or you really appreciate the feeling of getting dressed up, and pampered, own your favourite style, and start a new trend.

If hearing something up tempo makes you want to bust out those Zumba dance moves that you've been hiding, show everyone what you've got.

If you pull out the popcorn and marathon binge watch reality television shows, or get excited for period dramas, or David Attenborough documentaries, share that excitement with the world.

If you find that meditation, mindfulness exercises, or watching internet videos of cats, and pandas being stupid, are things that help you to relax, or calm down after a bad day, then do those things.

If you geek out over anything sci-fi, or fantasy based, or anime art styled, wear your fandoms, and share them with pride because they make you happy.

On this website we always remind each other that we're not alone. This is not just related to sharing an age bracket, and having a cancer experience, but can also be seen in the many different forums and topics that you all post about. You are all so imperfectly, perfect. And it is for that reason that I will always keep posting about things like song lyrics, cat memes, and chicken nuggets. Why I will quote, and sing along to Disney movies, Broadway musicals, and episodes of 'The Simpsons'. Why I will, most likely, bring more than one costume, or theme related merchandise along to a CanTeen camp, and give every activity a go because I won't know if I like it or hate it until I do. Because I love doing these things. And I shouldn't be ashamed of that.

Just please don't be afraid to be yourself. And to recognise that there may be others who share some of the same interests as you, but are waiting for someone to talk about it. They need someone to be brave and start that conversation. That someone is you.

- Alana