My Chemotherapy

“Never give up.”

I had heard this phrase a lot of times but she made me understand what it actually means.

I met her in engineering college. I still remember her wide smile, sparkling eyes, and her soft voice in which she greeted everyone in the morning. We were in the same class for four years, or should I say only two years, because for the last two years she couldn’t come.

She was diagnosed with cancer in July 2016. (sarcoma – last stage). I can’t forget the day when she called me from Delhi to tell me that, to which I replied, “Shut up. It’s not possible. Don’t say that”.

For days, and even today, I think, “Why her?”

But never did I ever see a sign on her face that would say, “Why me?”.

Or never did I ever hear her say, “That’s it. I quit”.

She struggled through it with grace and courage and always kept talking about what she would do after being completely cured. She had very strong willpower. This often makes me think, why do people commit suicide? How come there’s no way out for them? How come there is no solution to their problems? How could they lose hope, give up on life, when she never did?

I mean she was the head of our department and now here she was lying on the bed helpless, yet she talked about hope. She never missed a single day in college and here she was missing from college for the past year and a half. All of this at times depressed me, but she was hopeful that life beheld great things for her. Even in that condition she completed her remaining four semesters and passed all the exams with flying colors.

She told me once that she wasn’t afraid to die but she did want to live for her parents, to fulfill their dreams as they too suffered a lot both mentally and economically.

She was an inspiration, not only to me but to every person who knew her.

Despite being ill, she cured me completely. I never had a best friend, a person I could talk to or someone who would actually listen to what I say. But she did. She healed the hole I had had in my heart all my life.

I always had a low opinion of myself, lack of confidence, inability to trust anyone. But she changed my thinking and my attitude towards things, situations, and most importantly, to myself.

She really tried, undergoing rounds of chemo. She fought for more than 20 months but nothing worked.

She strived really hard to live, for just one chance of life but at the end death is evident. It sometimes makes me sad that she’s not around and I really miss talking to her. But I know she is in a better place – without any pain at last. The only thing I regret is I never got a chance to say goodbye to her or to tell her how impactful her presence was in my life. That she was my angel, my best friend, my chemotherapy.

Heba Beg is an engineer who loves painting, sketching, and writing. She began writing after the death of her best friend because she wanted everyone to know her story and to be inspired by her life.

Image courtesy of Bruno Nascimento.

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Holding Both the Magic and the Madness

He was magic, truly.

And I loved him something fierce.

Highly empathic, deeply intuitive, a natural born shaman with the capacity to do great work in the world. He could manifest anything out of thin air. Absolutely anything. He was also angry, cruel, manipulative, and abusive, the kind of man with no respect for my no in all the ways that matter.

I’ve only recently been able to talk about the things that happened in that relationship. I can’t always do it without crying, but I can finally talk about the things that absolutely destroyed me. That caused me to be the kind of person who couldn’t fall asleep next to someone else, who couldn’t hold hands without them going numb, and who couldn’t be touched without jumping, fighting, or spinning into panic attacks so bad I bruised my own hands.

I couldn’t talk about it, not just because of the shame and heartache that comes with it, but because of the gaslighting. The endless messages being beaten into me that said there could only be one… that if there was any good, the bad must not be so bad. Maybe it didn’t even really exist at all.

I will never take away his magic.
Never, not for anything.

I will never discount the good he had or the kindness he shared. I will never take away the love that was real or the good times we had. Even in learning to share the truth of the awful experiences, I have not once taken away his magic.

But I’m mad.

I’m so mad right now at everyone who’s ever told someone else that what they’re saying can’t be true… simply because there’s something good to be said about that same person or experience. At every person who’s ever stopped someone from sharing a truth that was eating them alive… simply because they were too uncomfortable to listen.

This has happened to me my whole life, and very much so during and after this particular relationship. By the people who were supposed to be my people. Who were supposed to love and support me. Who told me, regularly, “you can talk to me about anything.” When really they meant, anything but that.

And it happens to others every single day. People who have lived through hell and heartache and just need a soft, safe space to land.

So, I have to say it.
For me. For you. For all of us.

If I can find the strength and courage to hold BOTH the magic and the madness that came with loving this man—one who hurt me repeatedly inside a relationship that destroyed me—then you can find the courtesy and consideration to not discount, discredited, or invalidate the truth of my experience.

Of ANYONE’S experience.

It was BOTH magic and madness.
People can be BOTH good and horrible.
Experiences can have BOTH beauty and destruction.

It shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did to come across someone who was willing to listen and could actually hear me. Someone who didn’t just hear me, but helped me hear myself. Who didn’t let me gloss over it like it wasn’t a big deal for the sake of someone else’s comfort, which is exactly what I’d been conditioned to do by everyone else around me.

I will never take away his magic, but I’m not afraid to tell the whole story anymore. I’m not afraid to talk about the experiences that both broke my heart open and beat the life out of me.

I’m not afraid to tell the whole story anymore. I’m not afraid to talk about the experiences that both broke my heart open and beat the life out of me. @StephenieZamora (Click to Tweet!)

Because it was both.

And if I’m not taking away his magic, you don’t get to take away the truth of what was bad and horrible just because you never saw it for yourself.

Not ever, not for anything.

I share this because growing my capacity to hold BOTH in ALL areas of my life has resulted in the most immense healing this year. The deepest clarity and direction in my work. The most powerful ability to find peace and ease inside of chaos and confusion. To stop wobbling, pushing and pulling, and feeling uncertain and unsteady on my own two feet.

Whatever you’re experiencing that feels so contradictory it’s downright maddening and no one seems to understand, just remember…

It can be both.
It is both.

Stephenie Zamora is an author and life coach, business and marketing strategist, and founder of CallOfTheVoid.tv. Here she merges the worlds of personal development, energy healing, intuitive coaching, writing, and mixed media art to help individuals rise up and come back from the darkest, hardest chapters of life. She guides her clients through the challenging process of re-orienting to their lives, relationships, and work in a way that’s fully aligned with who they’ve become in the aftermath of loss, trauma, depression, and big life changes. After struggling with PTSD, grief, and anxiety from a sudden and traumatic loss, she navigated her own difficult healing journey and has set out to help others find the purpose of their own path using The Hero’s Journey as a framework. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or at www.CallOfTheVoid.tv.

Image courtesy of Rhand McCoy.

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