‘What’s next?’ After Cancer (part two of three)

So, after the realisation that I would be taking this story into the new phase of my life instead of leaving it behind, I decided to go bigger. I couldn’t pretend it hadn’t happened, I couldn’t hide it from polite conversation, it would get itself out there. It needed to be heard. I was no longer wondering ‘what next’ it was now ‘How next?’ How was I going to get this out there for as many people to hear, and to start a movement in Believing through cancer.

One day I found myself sitting on Brighton beach drinking Organic Spring Oak Leaf Wine with a lady I barely knew, relaying the old cancer tale, she said ‘You must do some talks. The way you speak about it is so real and matter-of-fact. People need to hear you.’ I went home and straight away (a little tipsy) emailed a few festivals about doing some talks, and a couple of days later I had 4 talk dates in the diary.

One of which was the local Woman’s Entrepreneurs Hub which I had attended only once, a few weeks previous. It was an open-hearted platform for ladies to share their stories. The last time I had arrived during the mess of ‘what the hell am I doing and why am I here’ in amongst the grief and desperation of just losing my relationship. I didn’t know anyone in the room of about 60 women. I didn’t speak to anyone and was fighting back the tears in my eyes for most of it. I thought I’d not go back. But then a few weeks later I knew it was the perfect place to give my talk.

This time round I came into the room, and as the room started to fill I looked around and I started to recognise faces. One woman was my yoga teacher. One from a nutrition course I’d been on. One I’d met at a friend’s birthday. One harpist I’d had a massage harp session with. Suddenly I felt like I was starting to belong. So, from being in this new unfamiliar place which seemed to hold no love, warmth or opportunities for me, there I was, holding a mic and introducing myself to everyone… in a big way.

My story was heard and witnessed, you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife when I first started speaking of Cancer (the energy of Cancer really does fill a room, everyone feels it). It was abit like therapy for me. I’d told some version of my story a hundred times now to individuals or social group settings, but her I was stepping up to the platform being given the space to give ‘A Talk’, it was official. People were there to listen and to be inspired. I experienced an intense internal shaking as I held the mic and could feel the tears coming through my voice as I started to speak, but I wasn’t nervous or scared, it was like something else was coming through me as I spoke. I could sense the emotion of the whole room being projected onto me. A carried a big weight and responsibility that day.

Considering I hadn’t really planned the talk, as I knew I’d just wing it with the vibe, I spoke with real clarity and certainty. I just knew what to say. Soon enough the ice was broken, I lifted the breath-holding curse of cancer and pearls of laughter rippled throughout the crowd…….everyone’s shoulders relaxed, and their breathing deepened. I was funny, I was clear, I was passionate, I was accessible, I was informative, I was great actually. Afterwards I got such a massive response, the biggest longest most genuine applause and cheers I’ve ever received, even with my Cabaret career. After the hub ladies came to talk to me and give me their emails for more info on my work. ‘I want to know about everything you do’. I even got an email the next day from one lady inviting me round for dinner.

And another sent me the following message:

“Thank you so, so much for your talk Jem,….. it was incredibly moving for me.
I was brought to tears with a kind of joy and relief that this information is now reaching the mainstream. I felt that you are an important spokesperson for this kind of self-healing. What incredible value is coming from the sharing of your journey! Please continue sharing! In all your beautiful authenticity – your message is exactly what humanity needs and you deliver it with credibility, power and humility
Golden! Keep going.”

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