20 Years Cancer Free

Twenty years ago today, I had my last chemotherapy session for a highly aggressive form of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, and they told me I was cancer free!

Because it was so aggressive and rare, there was no standard treatment plan. They said that had I waited to go to the Dr., I would have been dead in 6 months.

We decided on an aggressive surgical plan, and my oncologist gave me the chemo cocktail he hoped would help, and we waited.

I lived with the threat that it could come back at any time in the brain, liver, bones, or lungs.

There were always markers I needed to hit.
First, it was five years, then it was ten, and at ten years, they moved it again, saying this cancer is still rare, people are still dying, they still have no idea how I got it, and although they’re learning about it, now I needed to get to 20 years to really be free.

Along the way, there have been more tumors and multiple surgeries, all with a cancer scare, all coming back clear.

Anytime I tell a doctor I’ve beat this type of cancer, they look at me like I’m a ghost. When they gave me Covid vaccines, the nurses cried. They couldn’t believe I was still alive.

My blessed life is not lost on me. I am forever grateful for every struggle, every pain, and every gift of another day.

I still can’t believe I have this beautiful family. I’ve had so many wild and crazy experiences, extreme lows, and unbelievable highs, but here I am!

I made it to 20 freaking years, baby!!

So today, this is my gift to you.

Share your joy every day!

Focus on the light in your life, not the darkness.
There will be struggles, but right behind them are blessings.
Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle happens.

If you’re scared, cry it out.
If you need someone to talk to, reach out.
If you’re lost, write it out.
If panic sets in, wait it out. It will pass.
You will feel like shit in the process, but I guarantee you it will pass, and then reach out.

Find somebody to talk to.
Find somebody who will listen.
Find somebody you trust.
You don’t have to do this life alone.

We have no idea how long we’re here, but we can be a light in someone’s darkness, create a beautiful life for ourselves, stretch ourselves beyond our wildest capabilities, become who we never thought we could be, and experience life in ways we never thought possible.

At the end of the day, life is what we make it.
Our experiences make us who we are.
Our courage and strength help us survive it.

Life is hard.
But we are stronger.

Thank you, Divine Spirit, for giving me this time with my family.
I am asking for at least 35 more!

I promise I will make good use of the time and the lessons!

Blessings,

Amberley Charlotte

This is love This is you

Pay by page
Word after word
Peeling back the layers
of who you thought
you were

Looking in the mirror
The years have been tough
Extra pounds
Age spots

Stories behind
your eyes
speak volumes
and secrets kept
hidden to protect
your mental health

And yet
in that moment
you choose
to love yourself
through it

Memory fades
Energy has slowed

This is you
The newer version

Streaks of grey hair
become natures highlights

Wrinkles are proof
of a life
courageously lived

And while looking in the mirror
you go from seeing
someone you don’t know
to someone you’d like to know
to someone you quite like
to someone you love

Because
you chose
to love yourself
through it

Suddenly you view
the signs of aging as
Growth
Resilience
Courage and
Strength

Who you were
doesn’t matter as much
as who you’ve become
and where you’re going

And when you get there
as weird as it feels
there is comfort
peace
and love
you never thought
you could experience

But you did it

You survived
the self-doubt
feelings of
not being good enough
pretty enough
or skinny enough

You survived the
brutal abuse
spoken from
your own tongue
the self-degradation
and painful thoughts
of comparison
because you were
and could never
be
enough

Now this is
a different time
Life feels different
You are different

Loneliness has
become solitude

Quite time has
become necessary

Self-care
finally has meaning

And you wonder
what is this?

Have I finally accepted myself?
Do I genuinely love myself
for who I am
who I was
and where I’m going?

This is love
This is acceptance
This is you

This is who you
have been waiting for!


Amberley Charlotte ©2022
Photo: https://pixabay.com/users/pixel2013-2364555/

I See You

Crystal vases
            Shadows
                 Walls
                     Doors

Sunlight
       shining through
                     the window

I see you 
        hiding
behind the door

Nature
     Animals
           Secret friends

Committed
        Lifelong

No questions
Just love

Best friends
           Soul mates

I see you
        wanting 
              to give love
wanting 
      to be loved

It’s time to forgive
It wasn’t 
your fault

She loves you
            You'll be
                    together again

I see you
        crying
             mourning
                    carrying the pain

It’s time to forgive
                   yourself
She has

Imagination running wild
                       or 
                        gifted

Spoiled brat
           or
            a child 
                  seeking the truth

I see you
wanting 
      to be understood

Life 
   offers a small glimpse 
                        into 
the capabilities 
               of our souls

Curious or brat?

I see you
        trying to be 
                   who you were 
                              created to be

Grateful
Blessed
Honored

       Peaceful
             Energetic
                     Happy

I see you
        letting go
opening 
      your heart
               setting yourself free

I see you
wanting to be seen 
   for all of you
             not just the parts 
that are easy to understand

And yet finally 
              content 
if that never happens

I see you
It's ok 
      If no one else can


Amberley Charlotte ©2022
Photo: William Duggan




Forgiveness who needs it?

Forgiveness has been
heavy on my heart lately

It’s in my thoughts
my dreams
and every breath
I take

I feel like I’m digging a ditch
but I’m not sure
if I should throw myself in
or bury my
anger
regret
and rage
then cover it up
so I can’t go back
to retrieve it

I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions

Will I ever find peace
if I can’t let go
of the past?

What does this do to my body?

How long can my heart
withstand the pain?

Is it true that if
we can’t forgive another person
we can’t forgive ourselves?

Am I trying to rectify the situation?
Am I trying to understand it?
Is it teaching me anything?

Who am I hurting by holding onto all of this?

Unless I’m sending out
personalized lightning bolts
and actually hitting my target
I’m the only one suffering
as those who have hurt me
have moved on

Am I not just reliving
every moment
every trauma
and every fear
every day of my life?

Because I’m constantly
playing the same movie
in my head
over
and over again
thinking about
what that person did
and who I am
because of it

I’ll tell you who I am
I am resourceful
I am courageous
I am fierce
I am determined
I am strong

I have learned
the lesson
and the gift
of empathy
and I have
survived

That is what those horrible experiences did to me

They made me who I am
They gave me a reason to fight

But I am holding onto
one more wound
one more nightmare
and playing a movie
with subtitles
that will
never end

As my body tightens
Anxiety
Panic
Illness
and depression
become part of my being
and I live a half-life

Precious moments
stolen

Precious memories
missed

Do they deserve forgiveness?

I do!

I deserve forgiveness
I deserve to let it go
I deserve happiness
joy and to heal my body

I deserve to silence the voices
and cancel the nightmare sitcoms
that play in my head

I deserve
to write my own ending
to this movie

If the goal is to ultimately love ourselves
then why am I punishing myself?

I have the power
I have control

This is my life
When am I going
to let that shit go?

Their time is over
My time is now

Yet I am literally
hosting them
as guests
in my home
feeding them
giving them the right
to live within my head
as I slowly
rot away
because for whatever reason
I can’t evict them

I am exhausted

I’ve suffered enough
I don’t have the energy
to focus on any of this anymore

This is helping me
in no way at all

It is holding me back
from being happy
whole and peaceful

Forgiveness is the gift we give ourselves
and by holding back forgiveness
we are withholding love
and a chance
at a full life

I am not going to live my life like this anymore

I might not have valued myself in the past
but I do now

I deserve more than to live
in this self-imposed hell

I am ready to forgive others

But first
I will start by
forgiving myself



Amberley Charlotte ©2022
Photo: Daniele Franchi

Have you ever?

Have you ever told yourself
I love you?

Have you ever hugged yourself?

Have you ever looked at a photo
of yourself
as a child
and wondered
where the innocence went?

When you look at that child
did they get everything
they wanted in life?
If not
why?

When did you start believing
that dreams are for children
and grown-ups
don’t get to
have fun anymore?

When did work
become more important
than play?

Have you ever
looked at yourself
in the mirror
and didn’t recognize
who was looking back?

When did you start putting yourself last?

If we don’t know self-love
How can we know true love?

When did you stop
following your heart
and your truth
and start following
someone else’s plan?

When we are true to ourselves
we feel it at the core of our soul

When we are true to ourselves
we are set free

When we are true to ourselves
everyone can see it
because we’re happy
content
at peace

Are you at peace?

Do you love yourself?
I mean
scream it from
the beach top restaurant
kind of love?

Can you honestly say
that you would do everything
and anything for yourself
like you would for
your children
your partner
your family?

At what point
do we finally
believe
we are enough?

At what point
do we finally
forgive ourselves?

At what point
do we take stock
of the box
we have placed
ourselves in
and make a plan
to break out?

At what point do we recognize
that we are meant for more
and it all starts
with us?

When are we going to love ourselves
so unconditionally
that our hearts are full?

When I think of my family
my heart swells

Does your heart swell
when you think about yourself
because mine does not

I push myself aside

Not only does my heart not swell
but I am content pushing myself aside

I’ve gotten so used to it
that it’s taken me this long
to recognize
I’m doing it
and that sucks
because if we’re not willing to take care
of our body, mind, and soul
then who’s going to?

Right now
Right here
This is when I reevaluate everything
and recognize
that I am worth more than
what I’ve been giving myself
and now is the time to change

No matter what we go through
No matter how hard it is
No matter the pain
Our loved ones
can love us
pray for us
support us
and comfort us
but they cannot
do it for us

They cannot take
the pain away
They cannot take
the struggle away
They can only love
us through it

We have an opportunity
to love ourselves
as much
as we love
those around us

And by doing that
we will be astounded
at how free
and peaceful
life will be
because we are living
our truth
and finally
coming home
to ourselves

I am always seeking
and looking for answers
from within
because at the end of the day
all I truly have is me

I’ve got to live with myself
and I really want
to fully fucking love myself
so much!

So wish me luck on this journey
I’m excited
terrified
and extremely hopeful!

Amberley Charlotte ©2022
Photo: Chela B




Just another mountain to climb

Just another mountain to climb

Fractured
        Broken
             Shattered

This isn’t how my story ends

Battling
        back

Fierce
     Determined

Feet on the ground
Eyes up!

Three steps forward
              life pulls you back
                               
Break away!

Focus forward
            keep walking!

The door is shut
you don’t live there anymore

I’ve got one
         life to live
                  
and I will live it
                as
                 I
                 choose!

A rebel with a
             very good reason!
                            
A warrior 
        on a mission!

You’re just another 
                mountain to climb

Sorry bitches!
You may pull me back
but you will never
keep me down!
 

Amberley Charlotte ©2022
Photo Cred: https://pixabay.com/users/cocoparisienne-127419/

Put on a brave face

Put on a
brave face
it’s party time

But we know the truth

We know who’s valued
We know who’s not

A celebration
fireworks
parties
desserts

Yet so many
are deserted

How dare you say
we’re equal
when you strip
us naked
and leave us
to die

Your pen is a sword
Your vote is poison

Your hearts are cold
Your intentions are evil

Your daughters
will never forget

Neither will we!


Amberley Charlotte ©2022
Photo Cred: ruan-richard-rodrigues-v8fDCzXyG1o-unsplash



We Will Roar To Be Heard!

ROAR TO BE HEARD!

Respect is not taken
You cannot
beat
someone
to gain respect

You cannot buy respect
steal respect
or force respect

Silence may be purchased
Respect will not

To be respected
you must be respectful

Men

We need allies
not captors

We need supporters
not protectors

We need your voices
not your silence

We need action
not platitudes

We need men
we can trust
not jail wardens

We are equal
not less than

We are warriors!
We are strong!
We are capable!
We are driven!

We are fierce!
We are protectors!
We are sisters!

We are the wives
and partners
You vowed to love

The children
you promised to protect

The grandchildren
you waited for

The Mothers  
who gave you life

The Doctors
who saved your life

The Therapists
who listen
to your pain

We need men
who are worthy
of respect

We need community
We need you
We need each other

Stand with us!
Our lives literally depend on it!


Do not be silent!

Give us your voice
Your support
Your respect

And then
You will have earned ours!

We are Lionesses!
We will protect our children!
We will protect each other!

And if we have to
We will
ROAR TO BE HEARD!


Amberley Charlotte @2022
Photo Cred: https://pixabay.com/users/pf%C3%BCderi-199315/