While on a recent group trip abroad I sat after dinner around a table as our previously unknown fellow travelers introduced themselves. We would be together for 10 days so the tour guide thought it would be helpful for us to get to know one another while we were still fresh (without counting the cheap ticket transatlantic flight exhaustion). Names, hometowns in the States, occupations. The introductions were going well and some people even acquired new (nice) nicknames which were to stay with them throughout the trip.
I employed my usual habit when in a group of people. I remember the resume a person uses."Dentist" "Wine maker" "Canadian" "Retired school principle" I even imagine each person wearing a t-shirt with their resume printed on the front. "Hey, this is the definition of me."
Then a vivacious blonde thirty woman told us her name and said, "I am a breast cancer survivor."
That's her resume? That's what she wanted on her t-shirt?
Well, okay. So that's how I remembered her throughout the trip.
My recent biopsy (I think of it as a "bebopsy" like the aunt in the Greek wedding movie!) revealed...I have breast cancer. I did not run out to have printed a new t-shirt. I am not breast cancer.I am so many things other than breast cancer that I cannot find a t-shirt large enough to list them all. Actually, I might have been defined as breast cancer for just a few days anyway because yesterday a surgeon with an alliteratve name dug "it" out of me. So I am really still the "so many things" which won't fit on a t-shirt.
Which brings me to Nora Ephron's "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
He saw the world as being occupied by two species of human beings: men and women of will who sought unity by force if necessary (and so often it was necessary): men and women of imagination who could detect a harmony underlying the discord of our lives and used it as their compass. He identified the real struggle in modern times as being fought out between these two species of human being over the battleground of public opinion. But all of us were composed of will and imagination, and were tempted to externalise the enemy within.