Thursday, July 3, 2014

MY FEET IN THE SAND: Finding My Voice...still

For those who know me relatively well might be surprised that over the last few years, I'd lost my voice.  Don't get it twisted, I am a Gifted Orator and Griot.  I can always speak to issue, you know rise to the occasion, even when I'm nervous, my theatrical training from the World Famous Harlem Theatre Company founded by James Pringle Master Artist, taught me how to use uncertainty and nervousness.  I apply lessons learned from my beloved foundation on stage and in life.

Harlem Theatre Company, Chicago
I knew for years, my voice had become suppressed.  I found myself inviting over-bearing, well meaning energy--some not so much--into my space and began to attend to every invitation.

However, until I had to fight my way through Cancer and become my own advocate, the Captain of my life and healthcare, I hadn't realized how much of my voice I had given away.

The first indication came when I had to pick my Oncologist.  I must properly frame this scenario.  For those of you who don't know me well enough or have never been around me, my Husband loves my dirty drawers.  When I say this man loves and have always loved the good, the great and the ugly.  He accepts me for who I am and encourages me to be the best of me.  Like me, my husband is highly opinionated, especially when it comes to me.  So when I had the first meeting with my would be Oncologist--I got three opinions and went with the third--all colors of attitude flew throughout the room.  It was Alpha Male vs. Alpha Female (1st Oncologist) and I was in the middle.  It was ugly.  And when the energy of that clash didn't sway Alpha female, my husband's rigid lack of confidence in Oncologist #1 veered toward me.

On the way home, we would have one of two of the worst fights on this journey.  The fight was so bad that when we finally reached our destination--home--I told him, "Just let me Fucking Die..." and slammed the car door. 

I appreciated O1.  She was confident, knew her stuff and came highly recommended.  She was a Christina Yang type--Grey's Anatomy--highly skilled and straight shooter with no time for cuddling.  She was serious about her work and it was time to get to work, especially with my type of Breast Cancer, Triple Negative, susceptible to primarily Black and Brown women and the most aggressive form of Breast Cancer.  In fact what started the piss-off contest between Alphas male and female was the invitation/push for me to enroll in a study specific to Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  "She doesn't give a damn about you or if she's your Dr. or not..." Alpha male barked, followed by a series of rapid fire insults to my intelligence and ability concerning my care.  So rapid were the insults and sentiments of dismay, I didn't have time to fire before he was locked, loaded and re-loaded.

I was shaken.  I called two members of TeamToni, my Sissy (the Dr.) and Wincey (the Minister).  First words out of my mouth to both, "....Girl he showed his ass for real today..."  For Wincey I used butt but my tone conveyed the picture.  Wincey, immediately went into prayer mode and talking me down.  Sissy, had a different approach.  She advised me to go to class, I love writing class, think about what I need to say to Alpha Male later.  I would later learn that Alpha Male also talked to Sissy who eloquently set the stage for my talk with him after class.

So, it was after class and the time had come.  Alpha Male was in law school at the time and we arrived home at the same moment.  After I spoke to his carpool buddy--not letting on about our feud to either of them, Alpha Male acted as if he'd gotten the poison out of his body and was good--we proceeded in the house.

Me:  We have to talk, now....

We sat down and Lucy (Alpha Male often refers to me as his Black Lucy) explained.  "What happened today won't EVER happen again, EVER...."  I went on to explain how he berated and castigated me.  How he spoke to me and dishonored and disrespected me and how he would never ever do that to anyone else.  And should he ever get that comfortable to engage with me in that manner, "I will separate myself from you with a quickness..."  Now I get it, although never spoken, my man was frightened.  In ten years, he's lost several inner circle family members and to lose me he would lose his mind.  Regardless, I, we had bigger fish to fry and fresh fish doesn't cook in old grease, it burns.  Finally, I concluded with, God and me.  God first, and me second am the Captain of my healthcare ship.  You are entitled to your opinion and we can confer but you don't get a consensus.  I. Make. The. Ultimate. Choice. whether you agree with it or not.

It took us a minute to really get over that one.  And we would have to visit this sentiment several times moving forward.  Alpha Male became my husband again and he had to relinquish control.  I wasn't having it any other way.  For I had found my voice again and I wasn't/am not about to give it back.


  1. Might I offer a few words of suggestion. I applaud your voice but you might also want to use that voice to thank your husband for having the courage to use his. When I first started dating my eventual fiancée, I discovered that she had asthma. So I asked her what I should do in case she ever had an attack around me. She said, and I quote, "Get the f...k out of the way". And so I listened; I gave her her space. I watched her have many attacks and I gave her her space. Eventually, while she was home alone, she had an attack that killed her -2 days after HTC moved into the House of Champions. And I had given her her space to handle her health without my advice. Need I say more?

    1. Toni Staton HarrisJuly 7, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      Always the teacher Anonymous and I receive it!