My birthday

So I’m going to start by say Hi from my 29th year! This post well I’m not sure where its going to head yet. However felt like writing today and thought it would be good to reflect as its my birthday and that’s what we do as humans right?

I’m currently living in the leafy city (large town) of Hereford, and I’m doing a leadership academy with my church. Its tough! Like really tough at times but its defiantly the best decision I’ve made. Its tough because we go deep, we are looking at elements of our character, the things we do- why we do them and changing the elements that we do not want to see (this is a us choice on these things though not a forced thing). We are also learning more about who God is (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), getting to know the bible more and getting some incredible teaching along the way too. I have to say on the days that aren’t hard I’m loving it and it’s incredible to be apart of such a brilliant community of people. We are fighting for each other and seeing big breakthrough in our lives too. The days that are more challenging- knowing that its growing me keeps me eager and committed to finishing the course too!

I’ve been learning so much and the growth in me is huge… I feel so different yet it’s really hard to put into words on the things that God has been doing in me. But one thing I’m now being more honest and open about how I’m feeling. I’m realising it doesn’t matter what others think or what others think of me… if I’m feeling its my right to say- and I don’t need to be ashamed of the things I’ve experienced, done or felt in my past. My past no longer defines me and I am already living in that freedom and I know there is more to come.

I recently got asked to speak at a cancer conference for teenagers and young adults called FYSOT (Find your sense of tumour) yes I know its ok to laugh at the title that’s the point. I wasn’t sure about doing it at first and I really didn’t want to go and do a hi my names cancer type of talk just covering my diagnosis and journey which with only 15 mins to talk it easily could have been. Instead I wanted it to be meaningful and so I went and spoke about losing the cancer label… I was an incredible experience and it massively pushed me. I had huge breakthrough in my life preparing it as I looked deeper into what losing the label looked like, I ended up with greater understanding of why I had clung to the cancer label for so long realised the work that I’ve still got to do on it to become freer from the label. What I was most shocked about was just how honest and open I was (being on the course I am on and asking God to guide me in the writing process defiantly helped with this) I spoke about things that I never thought I would ever share and I talked about the reality I face but in a way that didn’t dwell on it because these things no longer define me. I was able to  and spoke about the small changes that I’ve made that have changed everything for me. I had some incredible feedback  on my talk and some great conversations over the weekend with several young people. I was really grateful for the opportunity and pleased I could bring a word to these people that could really help them move forward (as much as possible).

I am really happy with where my life is at right now. I had a great summer with the trust and got to take part in a small ships race with some other grad volunteers back in September too. I’m loving that I get to be apart of something bigger than me and get to be apart of such a fantastic charity that makes a real lasting difference… don’t just take my word for it this blog written by one of the young people Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust took sailing this year…

I’m defiantly missing Cardiff and my life that I had there and I’m missing not living with Claire and Dom but I now get to live with 26 incredible people who push me, love me and grow me greater than anything I’ve experienced before. Yes there are times its hard and challenging because all those flat mate issues you face can be escalated at times but its great.

Today is my birthday… and in all honesty its something I massively struggle with for a number of reasons but for now I’m just going to go into a few of them. I have found birthdays hard since loosing many cancer friends… one of whom I shared a birthday with. I felt for the longest time that celebrating was rubbing it in the face of those who didn’t survive. Its been a hard reality of survivorship guilt which I have also written about today (see below). I have also struggled with the idea that people should celebrate me mainly because I’ve felt like aging wasn’t something to be celebrated because it proved I’ve lived longer than my cancer friends. I have been happy to celebrate others and love others birthdays but not my own. I also find parties really hard unless I am the one controlling them or helping with them (I needed a role to even get me to them) this has been because of my stupid chronic fatigue always being an issue at parties…. Anyway all this is stuff I’m working on currently and now about to go to a party fit for me (we are all wearing pj’s) which I haven’t organised with my girls who are kindly forcing me to celebrate because they want to show me that I’m worth celebrating.

So hope this helps you understand where I’m at currently….

Welcome to the more honest Wen x

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