I’ve been haunted in the past couple weeks by some comments I’ve heard, none of which were meant to hurt me. The comments just made me realize how much I’ve been hiding about myself up to this point. It made me wonder how I was perceived up to this point, and if anything I’ve said or done has changed anybody’s mind.
So, surprise, I can write. I always could. I just never felt I received any positive reinforcement through school to do it. I never had a reason. I did go through a phase where I wanted to be a writer, but I’m not the “starving artist” type. I, also, didn’t believe I was really that good.
I’ve also been writing grants since I was eighteen. I’ve written three. I’ve been awarded every single one.
The latest, my proudest, was just last year. It was a Community Block Development Grant to improve the infrastructure of a local industrial park.
The award was $500,000. Not only will the infrastructure improve, but the businesses in the industrial park will create twenty jobs for low and middle income individuals.
It’s a gift that could potentially keep on giving.
I’m able to write grants because I am obsessed with understanding the whole three dimensional picture of an industry.
I don’t advertise that I can write these, because every time I’ve mentioned my talent in passing, I was offered a job. I haven’t had the confidence in my writing skills in the past, but grants, are one of the coolest concepts I can imagine. I can write something and be given money based on the ideas. It’s great.
I once wanted to be a grant writer. I think I still could.
I also entered college as a communications major. I wanted to specialize in electronic publishing. It was a growing industry.
I loved the work and the creativity it allowed. I loved the department head, which I idolized. I knew she would get me a great Manhattan job when I graduated.
Then, I started wondering what I would write about. I didn’t like the starting income and the lack of guarantees in communications. I didn’t want someone to see me and stick me in front of a camera. I wasn’t cut throat enough to battle for a job. I wouldn’t fight over a story. I didn’t want people running away from me.
Who was always invited into the action? I figured out pretty quickly, it was health care professionals. I couldn’t get near the towers after Sept. 11, but the medics kept running by me.
I thought, everyone loves nurses. They make decent incomes. They have stability. I can do my art as a hobby. I’m getting a job.
In generally, my prediction was true. People will open up to nurses. They’re caretakers. They’re not generally judgmental and presumptuous. What people tell you is kept private, by law. This, sometimes, allow them to be more open.
I also flirted with psychology in college. I’ve always been a little morbid. I’m fascinated by viral diseases and the immune system, but I also loved forensic psychology. I read all the books I could find on profiling since John Douglas started publishing his secrets. I was only 12 at the time. I watched all the true crime shows. I was fascinated.
I had a teacher in college who taught the subject. I loved that class, everybody else hated it and complained. That teacher is still one of my heroes, and if I were going to head in that direction in my life, she would be the first person I would call.
I’d forgotten, in the years that have passed, these talents I possess. These were talents I worked my whole life to cultivate, and I forgot them.
Cancer has given me the time to refocus on myself. It has made me review my life, and helped me understand how I can contribute as a person and be happy in my profession.
I have ideas on what I’ll do in the future. I hope I get the opportunity to achieve my goals. I think I deserve it.
Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."