Monday, February 4, 2013

Like A Phoenix Rising From The Ashes

I know. I've been gone a long time. Work got very rough in November and December and while I was never at a loss for something to say, time and inertia got the best of me.

Since my last post there was the bathing suit shopping nightmare for my trip to Costa Rica, the Ayurvedic doctor I've been seeing for my non-stop hair loss that no dermatologist or endocrinologist seems to know what to do about, some sketchy blood test results, a colonoscopy, 2013, the Lance Armstrong fallout, my juicing fascination, and most importantly, another surgery 10 days ago; a fat graft which has left me pretty unhappy. More on that at a later date though. I'm seeing the PS on Wednesday for my post-surgery follow-up and I need answers and a plan of action before I expound further. Suffice it to say, life doesn't move forward until this chapter is finished.

I started this blog for an actual blogging class at NYU where I've been chipping away at a Professional Certificate in Journalism.  (I have one class left which starts next week and then I get my degree.) The professor who teaches the course is the Deputy Editor of Business Insider, which not only makes him a badass but the whole blogging thing a bit more serious than you would normally think.

We were allowed to create a blog about anything but it was expected to have unique, high-quality content that was well-researched and well-written. The merits (i.e. your grade) would be judged on its potential for longevity (i.e. having an endless "firehose" of stuff to write about), traffic (you, dear reader), sponsorship (the ability to get advertisers and eventually make money), and finally, it should be highly specific and focused enough so as to be viewed as an authority on your chosen topic.

When the professor asked us to describe our target audience and how we would carve out a niche for ourselves in the very crowded blogosphere, I proudly and naively proclaimed that I would focus on fashion and cancer and my angle would be something irreverent like "f**k cancer!" His reply: "Isn't that kind of 'the thing' with cancer already?"

My little bubble burst. I retrenched and overshot in the opposite direction. I thought I needed to remove myself from the process and be a more subjective "journalist." But it has recently dawned on me that the blogs I read and love (on any subject) have authors who speak in the irreverent yet eloquent style I strive to achieve...and therein lies the crux of "The Big Pause." 

(Btw...I got an A in the course ;)

I've been running, running, running and not thinking, thinking, thinking. While my mother had breast cancer and I grew-up in a medical family it dawned on me that my own sphere of awareness had been pink washed. Sure I'd been getting mammograms since I was 29 but like most people, and perhaps a little more so, I believed I was informed enough...and also untouchable. What it actually all boiled down to though was this: buy something pink and you will be enveloped in a worthless halo of crap whose protective powers are about as real as unicorns.

Cut to a few months later. In addition to all the fashion, art, decorating, and political blogs I subscribe to, my google reader now has several considerably hefty folders dedicated to cancer (of all kinds), medical research, big pharma and drug developments, general health and wellness, nutrition, healthcare and the law, insurance companies, and yes, I even have a google alert based on the search term "cancer+fashion."

I've been very busy reading and educating myself but unfortunately that means I've had very little left in the tank for writing. While I love doing it, writing, even without all the research involved, is an all-encompassing, gut-wrenching, exhaustive process (at least for me) and like I said, I had to focus on the job that pays the bills and gives me health insurance...and one which I also really care about.

I've been doing a bit of house-cleaning recently in an effort to focus my online life (actually lives.) I maintain active Tumblr and Pinterest accounts, dabble on Twitter here and here, less often on Instagram, and have another blog I've recently re-started and overhauled to align strictly with my creative life. I have relaxed into the notion that C.G.G.C is a W.I.P.  I will always be someone who had cancer. That's never going to change but the longer I paused, the more I started thinking about what I wanted this blog to do for me and for the cancer community at large.

My ultimate goal is still somehow to marry my fashion life with my cancer life perhaps making functional products that are cool and chic for breast cancer survivors or anyone with special health concerns or medical needs.

Someday all of these things will work in concert. Or maybe they won't but my gut tells me I have to keep trying to find the unlock.

The point is, I'm not going to force myself to adhere to any schedules. The class had rules (maintaining a steady posting cadence for one) but now I need to break them.

So...I want to write about the whole Victoria's Secret petition. Its in my wheelhouse and I have a lot to say.  On the one hand, I think its so kick-ass that Allana Maiden has garnered all this attention but on the other, I'm annoyed that it takes a public shaming of a 10+ billion dollar company to maybe do something so duuuhhhhh obvious for them.

Full disclosure: I once worked for a company Limited Brands owns.

I'm marinating on this one...I've got some research to do.

In the meantime, if you've got some thoughts on any of this, do tell.


  1. I've had fat-grafting twice or three times (can't remember) post-reconstruction and they've all failed. The fat dies, leaving me with a flat spot in what should be the top of my "breasts." My PS wants to try it one more time, to fill in the flat zone, but I'm skeptical. Sorry yours didn't turn out better.

    1. Thank you for sharing. At this point, I'm hoping it all just dissolves back into my body. If you're open to further conversation send me a private email.