It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog. There’s a lot of reasons for it but the most powerful one has been shame.
The last time I wrote a blog I declared that I was going to quit smoking weed. And I did successfully…. For about a month and a half.
Emotionally I started struggling with a considerable amount of PTSD and anxiety- far more than I have ever felt. In June I released a solo single for the first time in a decade and suddenly had to play shows- alone. It was terrifying and awkward. Every show felt forced and uncomfortable and self-doubt about whether I could actually have, or even if I wanted to have a career alone began to creep in. I missed being in a band desperately. I missed sharing the magic of music with my friends and I was afraid It would never feel comfortable, natural or fun again.
On top of it all, my insecurities were overwhelming and ‘Becky’ was suddenly back in full force. Putting myself back out there publicly at a time where I still felt so uncomfortable in my body was very challenging. Gaining and Losing 100 pounds in a short period of time wasn’t kind to my body and the aftermath is something I’m still trying to come to terms with. It’s a daily struggle.
When my repeat lung scans looked good and they confirmed I didn’t in fact have Bronchiolitis Obliterans, I started smoking a little again just to cope with the onslaught of overwhelming feelings. I told myself it was temporary. That I would quit again soon and return to write a blog about how well I was doing. But that didn’t happen.
Every month I would say ‘This is the month’ and the month would end with ‘maybe next month.’ The embarrassment and shame I felt about being unable to overcome my addiction started to become paralyzing. I started to hide from everyone including my friends and husband. I started internalizing everything and shutting out the world. I didn’t want to admit I had failed, yet again. I was so embarrassed.
I became withdrawn and quiet and when I did go out, I felt like nothing I had to say was worth saying so I would say almost nothing the whole time. People would ask me what was going on but I couldn’t explain it. I didn’t really understand it either. It was like everything had lost its sense of meaning and I was just trying to keep myself numb so I didn’t have to feel how empty and pointless the world had become to me. How worthless and insecure I felt inside and how confused and uncertain I felt about everything I used to love and enjoy.
I don’t know if it was cancer, covid or a combo of both that started it, but all I know is talking to other people- genuinely connecting with other people, no longer felt normal. I used to be a social extrovert. Now it felt awkward. It felt scary. It felt uncomfortable. So I avoided it at all costs. I used to call and text my friends all the time. Instead I stopped replying to texts and facebook messages. I stopped posting on social media and writing blogs. I stopped being social in every way possible because I thought that would help. But all it did was make me feel more lonely and disconnected than ever.
In the summer I wrote a song called ‘The Girl Nobody Knows,’ where I talk about how at times my whole life feels like it’s been an act. That I am always wearing a mask. Trying to be what people want or need but that no one ever gets to know the real me. Not even I get to know the real me.
The truth is, the only time I’ve ever really shown the world the raw, real me is in my music and right here in these blogs. It reminded me that these blogs and my music made me feel connected in a time where I needed it most and that the real conversations I’ve had with people as a result of being honest about myself and my struggles were infinitely worth the fear of judgement or shame from sharing how I truly feel with someone else who needs to know they’re not alone in their experience. I knew I needed to get back to writing but I wasn’t sure how or where to start. I continued to tell myself ‘next month,’ and the more time that passed the harder it felt to go back.
At the end of August I played a full band solo show and it was the first time since being alone again that I felt hope. I told myself to let go of everything and just enjoy the moment. My band was amazing and I had so much fun on stage. I felt connected to the universe again- something that always brings me back to music. I started to open-up to the idea of continuing to pursue a solo career in 2023. I finally felt like I could do it.
Getting back together with Runaway Angel was always my dream. While I was sick I always envisioned us returning to the stage together to keep chasing our dreams. The longer my recovery dragged on, the more everyone’s lives changed. I had finally come to terms with that not happening when the universe came knocking.
In September at CCMA’s I was approached by an industry friend who wanted to know if Runaway Angel was getting back together because they wanted to work with us. The girls and I discussed the idea at length and ultimately decided we would write some songs, play some shows and see where that took us. We had worked so hard to get where we were before I got sick, and we truly believed in what we were doing and the music we were making. It was a huge leap of faith for all three of us to give Runaway Angel another chapter and I’m incredibly grateful to Ann and Stacey for being down for the ride. Next week we’re heading to Nashville to write some new music and I can’t wait to see what we create.
In 2021 I had my left hip replaced as a result of osteocerosis from my GVHD treatments. After the typical period of recovery I never regained full strength in my left leg and continued to have persistent groin pain. My right hip has continued to deteriorate as well, and I already expected it to be replaced sometime this year but was concerned about having persistent pain and weakness in a second leg. I was referred to another surgeon who was willing to do a front entry surgery to avoid cutting through my major tendons and muscles. This surgeon took a very keen interest in the persistent pain in my left hip and sent me for further imaging that showed the cup they implanted in my left hip is too large and is impinging several tendons in my thigh and groin and requires revision surgery in addition to the right needing to be fully replaced.
Tomorrow I am going to have my hips re-scanned and we are going to make a game time decision about which surgery I will be getting on January 27th. If my right hip looks strong enough to carry my left hip through a revision we will be doing that first and then the right hip sometime in the spring. If the right hip is starting to collapse, we will do that one first and then the cup. While I am immensely frustrated at the thought of having two more surgeries this year, I’m trying hard to stay positive and remind myself that if I can just push through these two more challenges and then work really hard in recovery, I might be able to gain back a significant amount of mobility and strength compared to where I am at right now. I’m very much looking forward to being able to move my whole body safely again without so many limitations.
This year I’m investing into myself and my recovery both physically and mentally. I took the chance to enter into a special intensive psycho therapy program with my transplant therapist where we meet three times a week for six months. I know its going to be hard but I also know that I owe it to myself to put in the work to become the best version of myself that I can, as I move forward into my second life. If you’re not totally sick of reading my blogs yet I will probably share some of that experiment with you 🙂
This year I promise, no matter how much fear or shame I am feeling I will continue to write. I will continue to share my challenges and successes. I will show up and share my truth so that others who are feeling the same can feel less alone in theirs. I know I’m not the only one struggling with how they’re feeling about themselves and their lives after a traumatic experience, loss, pandemic etc. I’m going to keep shining my light, even on the days it is dim- in the hopes it lights up someone else’s darkness if only for a moment.
Wishing you all a wonderful and adventure filled year ahead and reminding you (and myself) to just show up, even if you’re scared; to just start, even if you don’t feel ready. <3