***Guest Blog Alert!***
I haven’t been blogging recently cause I am sort of sick of hearing my own voice so my divine sister, Jennie Fauls, has stepped in to guest blog. Jennie is not only my sister, but my cancer shaman. I love her, you will love her too (unless you’re a Trump supporter).
Take it away Jennie!!!!
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it’s self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde
I am a militant vegan feminist who (obviously) lives alone. So I get upset when women can’t maintain total control over their own lives and bodies. This includes a) having 3 kids, 2 dogs and a husband gnawing away at you 24 hours a day like piranha and b) getting attacked by cancer.
I can’t ever separate the fact of Grace’s cancer from the other circumstances of her life because she can’t.
Human, canine, onco-cellular…everybody wants her.
I have always been aware of Grace’s popularity but this is ridiculous. When I’m with her I want to wear a shirt that says “Leave her ALONE!” with a giant arrow pointing to her.
The other day I walked into her house on a normal morning which consisted of her being yelled at, cried on, jumped on and asked to turn her attention every 2 seconds to a new being.
She looked at me and said “I’ll never not have cancer if I live here.”
And I worry she’s right and that’s why I’m likely to stage her fake kidnapping or plan her fake death and subsequent entry into witness protection.
She still has the instinct to sign her kids up for new after school activities and to organize elaborate parties, photo shoots and trips. She’ll push through any pain or fatigue to comfort them.
She can’t, she won’t and she don’t stop.
This is her strength and these are her choices. I couldn’t influence her to slow down and re-route all attention to herself any more than I could change her strong opinion on Phil Collins (whom she hates).
But a woman shouldn’t be in this position. The village should take the kids away into their arms when cancer is diagnosed and the husband should exile himself (suggestion: ice floe). The dogs should go to a special spa-like hotel funded by Bill Gates for 6 months.
It’s not cool to say or think that motherhood stress triggered her cancer but it’s something I wonder about. And if it happened once it’s still looming out there like a coming storm.
I call upon our culture to stop expecting a mother to rush back to her ‘responsibilities’ after her body starts screaming from the inside. As if that’s what she’s supposed to do- revert back to a role of nurturing others.
And now I could either begin lecturing about Susan Sontag and Audre Lorde’s theories on womanist activism or wrap this up.
But this is why the patriarchy fears and demonizes women like Hillary Clinton and Beyoncé- they’re going to get shit done while the world blows up and still look graceful about it. They shouldn’t have to, but they do it.
I don’t come from the place of motherhood that most of you probably do (I wouldn’t last there for 5 seconds) so I have the luxury of this utopian perspective on freedom. Grace asks me about twice a month if I would trade places with her now if I could and of course the answer is yes.
I would also push her onto a plane to an uninhabited Caribbean island with a one-way ticket.
Women with cancer deserve a whole new constitution of labor laws.