Life Lessons

I Blame Shakespeare

The “rom-com” plot never changes: the pretty, but downtrodden, single woman gets saved by the rich, good looking, completely idealized man, whose only flaw is that it takes him a little while to figure out that he’s in love with her; then in the last ten minutes of the movie, he must race somewhere to find her and keep her from leaving town.

“Feel good movies,” that’s what they’re called.  But who feels good after seeing them?  Single women?  Like seeing this one movie is going to wash away past hurts and disappointments, bringing instead, inspiration and hope to carry on – and to believe – yes believe, that the exact same thing will happen for you because Mr. Right is just around the very next turn…

While channel surfing late one night, I realized this movie formula was well-established with 1950’s films like Sabrina, and the Doris Day comedies.  Who says that in order to have a happy ending, the couple must get together?

The BardShakespeare.  He’s the one.  All the comedies end with a wedding, just as all the tragedies end with a death.  We’ve had over four hundred years of conditioning!  But The Bard was wrong.  This is the new millennium and, back me up here ladies, in the real world the guy tells the girl that he doesn’t deserve her, that she’s going to be a great wife for some other lucky guy, blah, blah, blah, before leaving her with a few mementos and a broken heart.

So what’s a modern girl to do?

I muted the television and sat for a while in the darkness, only the blue glow of the screen lighting my way.  And in the solitude of my apartment, I figured it out.

It’s time to change the narrative.  You can’t expect or rely on another person for your happiness.  You have to find your own bliss.  A happy ending can be whatever you want it to poppy

Life Lessons

How I Got to Red


I only wear red nail polish.  My home décor is a rich palette of ruby, crimson, and wine.  A fiery hue is even splashed across my website.  Red evokes power and passion and I like that.  In kindergarten, the other little girls delighted in adding white paint to the red paint to make pink.  I preferred the red.  When I grew up, I knew I wouldn’t be one of those pink ribbon chicks.

pink ribbon

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I respect and appreciate the pink ribbon for the extraordinary job it’s done to promote breast cancer awareness and support.  That little symbol has raised millions of dollars and prompted countless women to schedule their mammograms.  Make no mistake: the pink ribbon has saved lives.  But the pink ribbon is not enough.  Simply being aware and supportive won’t do.  Not for the breast cancer epidemic.  Not for me.

I’ll stick with my red and that Shakespeare quote from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “…and though she be but little, she is fierce.”  I am fierce because I am dense.

When I learned that I have extremely dense breasts, I thought this was a good thing.  Like they would stay perky forever.  Turns out having dense breasts renders mammograms less effective.  In fact, more than one radiologist has told me that looking for a tumor in my breasts is like looking for a golf ball in a blizzard.

I’m the cautionary tale and this is my public service announcement.

Several years ago, when a doctor suggested I consider supplementing my mammograms with MRI’s, I was proactive and scheduled both tests for the same day.  The radiologist who reviewed my mammogram images said, “Everything looks great,” and told me to go have lunch and come back in an hour.  The MRI found the cancer cells.  Even though there was no tumor visible in the mammography pictures, and no palpable lump felt upon examination, the MRI detected what needed to be found.  Turns out my cancer cells were aggressive so who knows what would have happened if I didn’t have the MRI when I did.  So yes, I am a breast cancer survivor.  And I am fierce.

When it comes to your health, be proactive and ask questions.  Think of medical testing and treatment options as you would the dessert buffet – whatever they offer, you take it.

I challenge you to be fierce.  You don’t have to wear red nail polish.  You don’t even need to wear a pink ribbon.  Just be fierce.

To learn more about what it means to have dense breast tissue, I encourage you to visit:

red poppy