Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Number Forty Two: The Mes (old and new)

Old Me Vs New Me
So, one thing that happens when you get the life changing cancer news is exactly that… your life changes. There’s a new perspective that focuses you on the fact that life can be short. Yesterday I uttered ‘I’ll live…’ before carefully adding ‘I hope…’ This thought would never have entered my head before. It really doesn’t matter how positively you face this or how determined you are to beat it, there is still a huge dark question mark hanging over your head that wasn’t there in your carefree pre-cancer days. (Beware- this question mark can cause unexpected and unwanted wobbles at any time!) All this results in a split personality- the new me verses the old me. There are some good things about having a new me, equally some negative aspects but I will definitely say that keeping two personalities (well two separate trains of thought anyway!) going can be exhausting! Sometimes I wish the new me would get a grip and shake the old me, other times I wish I could find and secure the old me in place! Confused? You will be!

The return to real life: The old me was pretty confident, sometimes open to self criticism but sturdy most of the time. The new me feels a bit vulnerable- timeout means I have missed things, everything’s moved on and this is a bit unsettling. New faces are welcoming yes, but so much change makes me nervous- new routines, equipment, procedures. How will I ever catch up? (I know this feeling- it’s happened once before… during my first maternity leave APP was introduced- ugh! I’ll always feel like I’m catching up where that’s concerned!) I have to make it clear here that I have the most supportive work place in the world but unfortunately that doesn’t change the fact that I was, at one time one of the most experienced members of staff and now I’m a bit floundering and wondering where resources are kept!
I’m thinking that the old, more confident, energetic me will, in time surface and guide me!
Old me 1 : New me 0

The image: This is an odd one- it does depend on my mood. I don’t want to sound too full of myself but the old me was pretty enough- ok face, nice hair, on the thinner side of fat. I really had no complaints! (Maybe a nose job but only on an insecure day!) The new me does not have this luxury! In my opinion the whispy regrowth looks even worse than the clean bald head and the moon pig face with the lopsided body to match is pretty gross. That all being said the really funny thing is that as long as I avoid mirrors I am totally oblivious to what I look like- The confidence about our image must somehow be hardwired from how we grew up. I am sure that if I’d always looked this way I would have serious issues about my image. I may just exist in a small dark room and never see the light of day! Knowing it’s all temporary must obviously help too. You could have knocked me down with a pair of GHDs, a year ago if someone told me I’d be wandering around looking like this… not caring about my appearance.
All this is well and good but I am really looking forward to the old me reflecting back at the me one of these days!
Old me 2 : New me 0

The important things in life: This is a no brainner- The old me spent hours worrying about what people thought of me, the new me spends hours planning good times! The old me stressed out and had melt downs- the new me still does but then remembers that life is short and moves on whilst the old me would still be obsessing!
Old me 2 : New me 1

To be honest it’s very draining keeping up with the new me because the old me is obviously the natural/true me. The new me’s attitude has to battle and squish down the old me in order to take its place!
I guess the bad parts of the new me will subside- I will find myself at work again…my hair will grow…I’ll have reconstructive surgery…I’ll slim down.
I guess the good part of the new me- the part that sees what’s important in life will remain. It’ll go AWOL at times but now I’ve found it I’ll not let it too far out of my sight. And if I can reach that all important ten year mark then I actually think that brooding question mark might fade slightly too- here’s hoping!


  1. I love the thought of the old & the new. I think we all have at least two persona going on at the same time & it is often confidence that decides which one is in the top. It is great that you can see some good bits in the new you because that is who you are now. The old you has given you the foundation & now, like us all, each day will add something new. Great post!

  2. Such a great post Erin and one that everyone (and not just someone who has battled like you have with something so huge) can identify with.

    I think every life changing experience adds new elements to our character that sometimes conflict with the old us and sometimes compliment it.

    Every time I read a post from you I feel I learn something new, not just about you but also about myself.

  3. As you have said of my posts, this could be me! Thankyou for writing how I feel too. Love ya xxxx