Like most people, I have changed a lot since leaving university. During my four years in Stirling I adopted the nickname Ragebox. A name bestowed upon me by an ex boyfriend. As the name suggests, I was quite hot headed then. If things didn’t go the way I wanted then I wouldn’t be afraid to employ a stern tone and an accusing finger. I recall throwing a pint of diesel (that is the name of a drink by the way – not car fuel) over a boy because he kissed another girl whilst we were ‘seeing’ one another. I cringe at the thought of another occasion where I hid a one of the rugby boy’s crutches whilst on a night out because he had, for want of a better expression, pissed me off. The nickname, and curse, of Ragebox even travelled North to Summer School with me. Losing the Clan Cup to the wannabe gangsta from Uppingham was a sore point not to be improved by his gloating. I remember even my mother, the Iceberg, provoked the Ragebox when she called to see if I was ‘off my high horse yet?’
The memories of Ragebox happened over six, nearly seven years ago now and I am far more laid back. I would say I have matured. Some might say this is because I have since met a boy who does not drive me bonkers but I don’t think it is that simple. The things that annoyed me before simply don’t. I am still competitive as ever yet I have managed to learn how to stay composed. I was happy in the knowledge that the Ragebox had retired and was sitting at the back of a proverbial shelf. Almost like a shoebox of old photos; it is great to look back and remember the stories but it is also a source of embarrassment.
Through Maggie’s I have been attending a course called ‘Where Now’. The course looks at emotions, nutrition, physical activity and coping mechanisms for people in remission. People like me. Everyone in the group has a different story but we share one key thing that others will never fully appreciate; once you hear the word cancer, life will never be the same again. This week we collectively talked about anger. In my opinion anger is a negative word associated with annoyance, hostility and hatred. It is, therefore, no surprise that anger is a common emotion linked to cancer. Cancer is irritating, it’s unwelcome, it’s exasperating. The impact is violent. All of which evoke feelings of rage. In short, cancer makes me angry. It is not an emotion I am proud of and I am loathed to admit it. However, thanks to Maggie’s I have come to look at anger in a new light. Anger was given to us as a defence mechanism. It is a natural response to the feeling of being attacked, insulted or frustrated. That being said too much anger can have detrimental affects. Wether it be saying something in the heat of the moment or simply bottling it up until you feel the need to implode, anger is an emotion that needs an element of restraint. I am beginning to understand that in order to move forward I should embrace this emotion without letting it consume me. Opposed to ignoring it I am finding avenues to help me express my frustration. This blog is a great place for me to vocalise my fury which naturally resulted in the #FUCancer sign off. I am gradually increasing my physical activity. Running in particular is a huge companion of mine. I almost feel as if I can outrun my problems. The reality is that the solitude of running simply puts things into perspective. Overall the best thing I have done with my anger is use it to motivate me. It would be very easy to sit at home and allow the Ragebox to take over in the knowledge my cancer has a high likelihood of reoccurrence. However that is simply not me. That is not how I want to live my life. Nobody knows how long we have on this planet but why should we let that hold us back? I am planning for my future. As Christmas approaches, undoubtedly my favourite time of the year, I have a whole timetable of plans to see family and friends. 2015 is set to be a busy year with a hen weekend, wedding and honeymoon to look forward to. And this week saw me agree to take on a new challenge; I have a new job! It was always my plan to start looking at the next step of my career in July of this year and given the minor detour I managed to endure, I am happy to say I am back on track.
Cancer makes me angry but that anger is helping me to be goal focused. It allows me to be constructive in what I want to achieve. Furthermore, I am no longer ashamed to admit this emotion. I can be a Ragebox. I am having a natural response to an invasion which threatens all aspects of my life. In the the most primitive of terms when an animal is under attack there is an inborn reaction to fight or flight for survival. I guess this simply confirms I am a fighter.