Posted by: alegra22 | May 24, 2012


I have a friend who is arm-wrestling cancer. What she might lack in bicep-strength, she makes up for with a great selection of wigs, eyeliner, frilly undergarments, and a vision of a gopher-free garden, a garden where loofahs grow up to sing songs of exfoliation. I’ve been thinking about her all day, about a brief exchange of words between us.

Today I realized that issues of health often slip into my writing and that I don’t intend them as gonging sounds of drama and doom.

Admitting these moments on the page (I’m tired, I’m in pain, I’m sick…again) has mostly been a bold declaration and exorcism that these are the conditions I’m untangling myself from. They are the conditions that have shaped me but they are not me.

For years I was ashamed about struggling with a body that doesn’t keep up with my mind and spirit. The more I acknowledge this on the page, the more I turn with compassion and gratitude to the strengths that these challenges are developing in me.

I do not know what this will look like in six months, a year, two years from now, but I do know this: every year I grow healthier and stronger than I was the year before. I haven’t leapt over my limitations in a single bound, they are still present, but I’m no longer wasting energy battling them – at least, not as much as I used to.

This blog is mostly for me, I realize this. There is a power in confession and witness, so tonight I come to the page and I write:

I am learning to rest when my body asks me to. I am learning to listen to my dreams – especially when they shout and throw frogs at me. To invest in those around me wisely.  To not argue with fools, not even in my head. There is a soft spot in my heart where all of our foolishness resides and I know if I step too close to its edge, I’ll sink in.

My body has taught me to apologize when necessary, to walk away when no apology is necessary; to not care what the world thinks because the world is often thinking of  itself, and that I am one of those chattering voices that make up the world.
As often as I am able, I try to be a voice at peace with itself.

Today, I’ve been thinking about this lesson: When a woman with a great selection of wigs, frilly undergarments, and a knowledge of eyeliner, reaches out her hand in the form of words, you take that hand.

You listen carefully to hints dropped about braiding wildflowers into crowns. Stories of how to trail toilet paper like a bridal train on days when the sun is high and bright in the sky.

It’s how to win the arm-wrestling match.







  1. Beautiful, inspiring words. My mother held her own arm-wrestling match with Cancer. Thankfully she won, but we still pray every day she remains healthy. Thank you for sharing, Alegra! This was an excellent reminder.

    C xx

  2. I think this is one of my favorites of your blog posts. What fun! What a great attitude your friend enjoys!

  3. You always bring tears to my eyes. You are such a wonderful soul, Alegra. Miss you!

  4. This is beautiful. I’ve admired your strength and guts as you figure out how to balance family, friends, life, and health. Reading blogs like these are what help me stay on track and keep me motivated to pursue my dreams and goals even when life’s not being kind.

  5. I am humbled by her resilience to face an illness like cancer in the way that she does. She is not a victiom, but a warrior with a really great sense of humor…the way God intended it to be, I am also always humbled by your grace as well in how you carry yourself as you walk the line while illness, motherhood, your studies, and life in general come crashing over you.

  6. This reminds me of a time when I was being daft with my mother in the garden..she’d do this quite often when I was young. We’d be carrying out some dreary household chore and suddenly she’d say, “Walk THIS way!” and giggling, I’d copy her walk. She didn’t mean walk the path she chose for me, she meant for me to create my own daft walk and relish the journey I was on, be joyful and mad and laugh. Even when taking the vege scraps out to the compost.

  7. I was hoping this was going to be about you and Dan actually arm-wrestling!! But I think this story is much nicer. What a wonderful friend you are. We, who have the pleasure to know you, are so blessed.

    • Well, you and I both know that Dan and I arm wrestle in one way or another on a daily basis (and I win)! 😉
      Someone once said to me that we can judge ourselves by the people who love us…I took this to heart, so based on this, I consider myself the blessed one. I’m the sum total of those that love me.

      • I’m sorry if this sounds strange but are you married or interested in anyone, if not (and this is where it gets strange), my number is 719-480-2388 and my email is – call!

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