Show Your Stripes!
June 6th is an important date for 2 reasons…1- it is my wedding anniversary, and ironically enough, 2- it is the day that Sex and the City season 1 aired. This glorious show started in 1998 (11 years before I got married), and I remember watching it. I watched it when it actually came on…like 9pm on Saturday night…as in there were no DVRs or TiVo to record it for you. In extreme emergencies, I would set the VCR to record an episode if I could not make it in front of the TV to watch HBO that Saturday night. I loved this series so much (all 6 seasons of it and 2 movies) that I collected the DVDs. My brother actually bought my first season for me, and it was on…wait for it Millennials…VHS! Yes, my Season 1 of Sex and the City is on VHS!
From the very beginning I loved this show, and when I watched it as a rising senior in high school and through all of my college years, I always thought of these ladies as so much older. They were experiencing things that I had not experienced (and frankly still have not and probably will not EVER). I loved how Carrie’s bedroom and apartment was decorated, and when I lived with my brother after college, I mimicked one wall in my room to model the shelves in her room. She had an amazing mission style chair in her room that I searched for something comparable (that I could afford) for years. The point is, I loved the show, the characters, the style, the friendship, and the stories. What triggered this post though is from one recent night while I was in Tampa having trouble falling asleep and flipping through TV channels I got very excited when I saw that E! had Sex and the City playing. Yes! Yes! Yes! Now, I am DEFINITELY not going to sleep! I have to watch this episode, and if I’m lucky it’s a marathon and can watch multiple episodes! That is exactly what happened! I was hooked! I made myself turn the TV off after 2 (maybe 3) episodes. I did some hunting around when I got home and found that the amazingly fabulous Amazon Prime has all 6 seasons of SATC! I started from the beginning, and I have every intention of watching at least 1 episode a night in order from start to finish!
When I was watching in Tampa, it was a season 3-episode where Charlotte was marrying Trey McDougal and Miranda was annoyed that she was a 34-year old bridesmaid who didn’t have a date to the wedding. Wait? What did she say? How old was she? 34?! Wait. I’m 36 years old…weeks away from 37…how am I the same age as these ladies (and also destined to be a bridesmaid this month)? How am I older than these ladies?! How did that happen?! That wasn’t supposed to happen, right? Sure, logically time has passed, I’ve gotten older, so it all makes sense; but it just seems so shocking that I am now older than the ladies of SATC. They still seem so much more mature than me. They seem to be doing much different things than I am doing. I don’t own a NYC apartment or have my own PR firm. I don’t buy $400 Manolo Blahniks. I don’t have a fancy wardrobe full of designer clothes. How can I be older than them? Sure, I am not single and living in a large city…I am married with children in a small suburb that no one knows how to pronounce. I never thought I would have a life that resembled the SATC life, but it is interesting (and honestly shocking) that I am now at the age that I can compare my life to theirs. When I was watching this show at the ripe old age of 17, I didn’t think I would have a life that resembled theirs, but when I did picture my future I certainly wouldn’t have thought that my life would be battling cancer in my 30-something years. (Blech…stupid c-word makes everything so heavy…lighten up, cancer! Stop ruining the vibe!) I definitely imagined I would be married with children and teaching or possibly staying at home. I think I imagined that I would be physically fit (or at least hoped I would be…this sister is way too vain to let myself go), living in a beautiful home and being happy. I am all those things…so why do these tumors have to come in and wreck my perfect setup?
All I can come up with is that this is my battle. Everyone has their battles, and this is mine. I don’t know why I have such an ominous sounding battle, but the truth is that I don’t feel hopeless. I don’t feel ominous. I just feel that this is a part of my life, and this is the challenge that has been thrown my way. One of my favorite things about teaching and coaching has been that you get the chance to be a leader for young kids and be a role model. Maybe God is offering me an opportunity to reach out to more than just youth and be a leader in another great way. Maybe I can use this…this…crap- I really want to use a large expletive right here, but that doesn’t seem like the best “leader” thing to do right now, huh? I’ll just go with a G-rated version and call what I’m dealing with as “not-so-fun.” Who are we kidding?! It freakin’ sucks! BUT…BUT (take a deep breath) it is manageable. Is it enjoyable? No. Is it manageable? Yes. I am not going to let this disease define me or run my life. I’m not going to let it take me down. I’m going to let it make me a better person. If I can share that attitude with someone and it helps them in any way, then it is worth it. I don’t wake up and think, “let’s inspire someone today.” I usually wake up and think, “crap, I woke up late, again” (probably because I was up too late watching Sex and the City! Truth!) I just put on my pants (probably leggings and not real pants…because I haven’t been wearing a lot of real pants lately) one leg at a time just like we all do. I’d be a liar if I said, “every day is easy.” Every day is not easy. Some moments are hard while the next moments are fine. Some days are fine, while other days I want to cry. This is the key though…we ALL have those days. Not just the people fighting cancer or some other hardship. We all have moments that are great and moments that are not so great. We just need to decide how we are going to let it affect us. (E-ffect or A-ffect?! Gosh, I have GOT to learn that rule! I feel like I’ve been taught it 10 different times, but it does not stick with me! I had typed “effect us” but Word gave me that double blue line that suggested changing it to “affect us.” I’m confident that Word knows better than I do.)
Okay, so I leave you with this. I am older now. I am not a young twenty-something watching SATC thinking those women are my elders. I am now watching the SATC women as my peers, and as a peer I would be telling Samantha to stop sleeping with everyone- wow- it’s kinda gross! I am an adult that has an amazing life with an amazing family and has been given the gift to crush cancer, inspire others and lead by example. I may not ever be cancer free, but I’m going to prove that you can live and thrive even if you have cancer. When I was growing up, HIV and AIDS were the terrifying diseases. Now, cancer is terrifying, and I’m sure in a few years there will be even more ways to defeat cancer, but unfortunately some other awful disease will rear its ugly head. It is life. It is our battles, but it is not what happens to us…it is how we handle it.
In the spirit of Carrie Bradshaw, I leave you with a quote that makes me smile, “if I ever let my head down, it will be just to admire my shoes!”