Poem: Perfect Imperfection

seashell solitude

tangible imperfections

glisten in water

This past week, I had an amazing opportunity to attend a retreat of sorts for young adults who are cancer survivors. I spent five days in the Outer Banks of North Carolina surfing, exploring, and meeting other people in their twenties and thirties who understood on a personal level what I had been through in my own cancer journey. We had already walked in each other’s proverbial shoes.

On our last day at the beach, we were asked to write something meaningful to us on one shell, and something holding us back on the other shell. We chucked the second shells into the ocean, leaving behind our worries, regrets, and disappointments. On my first shell, I wrote the haiku posted above. Everyone on this adventure knew what it meant to have our bodies completely betray us, yet each one of us was brave enough to take on a new sport and a week living with strangers. Our imperfections gave us the courage to make us stronger, bolder, wiser, and more empathetic.

We have walked the lonely, painful journey that is young adult cancer, and we have come out on the other side with an astonishing amount of love and passion still for life, for those around us, and for the future. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you need until you’ve experienced it, and I’m eternally grateful for everyone at First Descents, who believe in “the healing power of adventure”. Keep adventuring, everyone!

13 thoughts on “Poem: Perfect Imperfection

  1. It’s always a sobering thing, to confront our mortality, and I admire you for taking it on with such grace. Heaven knows I’m not as adventurous as I should be, but your final sentence reminds me that perhaps I shouldn’t take my time for granted. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Stuart! When I first finished cancer treatment, I had this idea that I needed to do everything wild and adventurous, and I briefly thought I should go skydiving (something I would honestly hate due to my extreme fear of heights!). One thing I learned at this retreat is that we don’t need to do things we don’t have any interest in just because we have limited time, but we should make time for what we enjoy, and challenge ourselves in little ways that help us grow and that don’t feel too uncomfortable. Enjoy whatever level of adventure you like 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have an amazing ways with words. Thank you for expressing the things I have a hard time explaining. I definitely teared up a little reading this one. (((hugs)))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Katlyn! Writing has definitely helped me with processing my thoughts in the unusual time of early survivorship. Someone told me that the stages of grief also apply to dealing with cancer, and I think that seems accurate– maybe not in a set order, but as far as going through different emotions and digging through trauma. I think you’d love the First Descents programs, too: https://firstdescents.org/. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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