Breast Cancer, Life & Parenting

The “Holey” Ones

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Holy? No, no, not the Pope and such, but seashells. “Holey”, then. I like the holey ones. You know the ones, the seashells with holes. And not just the shells with one hole, the shells that are full of holes. The shells most skip over in search of the perfect shell. Oh, and you know that perfect shell. The one with no flaws, perfect edges, pristine condition. Kind of like in life. How it’s easy to get caught up in trying to be perfect, trying to look perfect, take the perfect photo, thinking that you have to have that perfect life.

The way I see it is that perfection is a facade. Don’t get me wrong, some folks have wonderful lives; but they aren’t perfect. Nobody’s life is perfect. Even that perfect shell, isn’t perfect.

Because the perfect shell once had life inside of it. And that life has passed on or moved on to a bigger and better shell. And this perfect shell was discarded. Left to tumble in the ocean. To sit on the sea floor. To flow with the tides. To ride the waves. To land on the beach. And to possibly be picked up by a human and loved once again.

And those holey seashells? They just tumbled around a whole lot more. Like some of us. We had to tumble around a lot before landing on that warm beach. And I’m not just talking about going through breast cancer. I mean by all of the harshness and heart break and loss in life that we have all been through.

See, we all have our things. For me, some of the things I have tumbled through in life, I have written about. And other things from the past, I have not written about. Because it’s just too hard to write those things associated with such heavy emotions sometimes. Because life can be unbelievably hard.

As we are collecting shells on the beach today, I realize that I’m collecting the holey ones again. I absolutely love those shells. Because with each one I collect I sit in wonder as I turn it over in my hands. What created all of those holes? Where did each come from? Where in this vast ocean has this shell been? Wonder how big it once was? How many years, hundreds or thousands or millions, has it been around? If each piece of that shell around those holes could talk, what story would it tell about all of its holes and fossils and scrapes?

I relate with the holey seashells. We’ve been through some shit. But we’re still here. Hanging out. Sitting on the beach. Rollin around and having fun with our polished friends and our holey friends. Together we have some crazy, amazing, boring, exciting, loving, heart-breaking, unbelievable stories as we tumble along.

If we put all of those holey seashells together, would it fix them? No. But look at the amazing stories they could tell. Of world travels, of beauty, of heartbreak, of pain, of loss, of boredom, of loneliness and of love. I think that the mix of shells on the beach is a lot like all of us. Here we all are, in this world, a glorious mix of a lot of different people with some holes. We have all been through something. Whether it shows or not. Whether our exterior shows all of life’s hardships or whether it’s polished to a T.

I think it’s important to know that even our perfect shell friend may have some holes she’s hiding under that name brand scarf or behind those perfect Facebook and Instagram photos. And we don’t truly know. Because like the holey shells, we don’t always talk about our pain. And that’s okay sometimes. But those perfect shell and holey shelled friends may just need an extra hug sometimes.

These shells coexist on the beach. They live in harmony with one another, no matter what path they traveled to get here. Some even had another shell attached to them, as you can see from the fossils.

My collection today included the holey seashells and the perfect shell, the weird shells, the creative shells, some goth shells, colorful shells and plain shells, pieces of shells, big shells, medium shells, tiny shells and all kinds in between. But there are a whole lot of holey seashells.

As I turn each shell over in my hand, I am so appreciative of life. The good and the bad and all in between. Appreciating all of the beauty in the ‘so-called’ flaws. Because that is where the real beauty lies. Within. Within all of the holes in the seashell and in the sturdiness around those holes.

And I noticed one more thing. When you pile up all of the holey seashells, you still see the holes, but you can’t see through them anymore. So let’s be there for each other. Support and love each other. Let’s not point out the flaws, or try to cover them up. But simply appreciate the person. Let’s see the real person in each other and not be afraid to be your real person. Be yourself. Holes and all.

Much Love,
Shannon

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