We all have little conversations in our mind (if we are honest with ourselves), where we actually say what we are thinking or do things we normally wouldn’t. Not dangerous or crazy things, just things we normally wouldn’t do or might think under normal circumstances were too rude to say. I call them Walter Mitty life moments.
Whether it is saying what you feel and consequences be damned to the meanest of mean girls you know at any age, telling someone you work with where they can stick it if they are being a jerk, or even telling that woman who stole your parking space in the grocery store you hope her fat ass falls off (the last is something I have wanted to do several times but never have), you all know in your heart of hearts, you have had that moment in your head.
I have had friends tell me they have had these moments, and some have acted on them. One friend in particular really wants to act on a moment in her head with regard to tossing out her ex-husband’s things that are still polluting her garage in piles. Her Walter Mitty moment in her head is the visual of the 20 yard dumpster being placed in her driveway to fill up with her ex-husband’s stuff and it then being dragged away to a landfill.
I had one partial Walter Mitty moment a week ago when I dropped stuff on the stoop of my ex that I unearthed when sorting through things at home. My partial moment came with being able to drive down his street and drop the bag on his stoop and feel calm and strong . The complete moment would have been if I had been able to look him in the eye and not say a word and have that same rest of the moment I did have. But I am satisfied with the partial moment I had.
So it’s no secret my now ex-boss left a lot to be desired as I was going through all the appointments leading up to my breast cancer surgery, the time of the surgery itself, and the treatment afterwards. It is also no secret I had a highly stressful job that could have caused me great harm in the long run if I had stayed.
I chose me and my life and future health over the stress and resigned in February. What I did not tell you is that as part of my former responsibilities I had to deal with occasional governmental types. For for years I had to be pleasant and professional to people I felt had zero respect for me or my professional capabilities. They added tremendously to my stress. Well today they called me. I have no idea how they had my cell phone number, but call me they did. A bunch of them on a speaker phone.
It was a little too Big Brother for me and quite honestly it pissed me off. I was so annoyed I asked them if I needed their permission to have breast cancer, recover from breast cancer, and to move onto another chapter in my life. They just wanted to see if I wanted to talk to them, they said. “Purely voluntary.” Like an exit interview, only they didn’t pay my paltry salary.
In a pig’s eye.
I told them I made a decision in February and chose my future and my life over stress. I told them that my doctors told me I might have to reach this decision to change what I was doing to reduce my stress to increase my chances of remaining cancer-free the rest of my life and reducing my stress levels in general. This former job of mine gave me high blood pressure. I told them that I was closing the door to this chapter in my life, so no, I would not be available to them. And truthfully, we have no loose ends with each other.
It was nice to be able to say no, and they had better respect that no. Because if they don’t respect the no, they don’t respect women who have had or have breast cancer and that will be a *huge* issue. I did my job and did it well and they are no longer part of my world. The other thing is this, none of them were particularly nice to me when they were part of my world, so that is like going to hang out with the mean girls from high school after they were nasty as all get out. As an adult, you can say “no thank you.”
I don’t think anyone outside survivors and those close to survivors like family and friends realize what a big deal it is when we decide to change our lives to reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. Or what a valid fear it is to worry about recurrence. But I am taking those steps to reduce my risk and I will be damned if I get sucked back in.
I realized this afternoon when I got off that call how much of a right thing I did by making the difficult decision to resign my old job. I also realized how stressed it actually made me when I got off the phone and realized just how high my blood pressure was. And where the lump in my breast once was, where the surgeon cut away, well it was throbbing. It hurt.
Today’s take away is I am survivor, hear me roar. Don’t screw with me.