A Year in Review – #SOL21 March Challenge Day #1

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Last year I wasn’t able to participate in the Slice of Life March Challenge because I was recovering from cancer treatment. Not only wasn’t I able to sustain something as taxing as writing and sharing every day, but I was barely able to read or write much of anything. And, I wasn’t eating a whole lot at this time last year. Although I was recovering, it was touch and go for a while.

This year, I am more like my old self again or maybe I’m my new self.

I am grateful for everything that happened to me because it made me take stock of my life and my relationships. It allowed me to clarify my goals – postponing some goals for a later time and reaffirming other goals that I had neglected for way too long.

My hair has grown out. It is a mix of black and white and it’s pretty short compared to my old hair style. And, I like it.

My hair’s not curly anymore. And, I like that, too.

Every time I remember how I tried to straighten my hair when I was a teenager, I cringe: I was trying to look like someone other than me and I was not succeeding. Looking back on that time, I’m glad I failed at that experience. Not that having straight hair now, considering the reason why it’s straight, makes me happy, but it has taught me that all of the things we do to be not like ourselves are a waste of time and governed by external criteria of what it means to be beautiful or smart or brave.

Well, a cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery took care of exposing those lies. Those things are not really important.

Full disclosure: I’m still trying to figure out what really matters.

So, this month I am thrilled to be returning to this community to share slices during this seemingly never ending pandemic. Although most of my posts will be about the challenges and joys of online teaching (yes, there are joys), I also hope to find joy in unexpected places and blog about that.

Looking forward to this year’s Two Writing Teachers March Slice of Life Story Challenge!

20 thoughts on “A Year in Review – #SOL21 March Challenge Day #1

  1. tenilleshade says:


    Your story of surviving cancer is awe-inspiring. It sounds like it’s been a long journey toward healing. I really loved how you weaved in the line about cringing when you think back to your teenage self, straightening your curly hair. I think we are all still trying to figure out what really matters, and I’m glad we can learn and grow together here in this vibrant, encouraging community of practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments. It has been a long journey. I am so thankful for a lot of things I experienced along the way, not least of which has been a community of teacher-writers, here and in other spaces, that have sustained me in so many ways.


  2. Elisa, I am so glad you are back for this year’s challenge. Most of all, I am glad you are on the road to recovery and feeling better. That’s a tough fight. Honestly, just living COVID life has been a challenge so to do that and fight cancer….well, you’re my hero. COVID has made me think about what matters. I think I had my priorities a bit out of whack and it is good to be finding my way back to what matters. I understand still trying to figure out. It has to feel good to have the hard fight behind you. I look forward to following your SOL journey this year. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, Cathy. I don’t know how well I would have fared if I’d been first diagnosed during COVID. My heart goes out to cancer patients who’ve had to start this during a pandemic. That required a special kind of strength. It really is true that when we are faced with a life threatening illness (cancer, COVID), we are called to a reckoning of sorts about our lives. If I knew then what I know now…Looking forward to slicing this month!


  3. mrssurridge says:

    Congratulations on making it back to the challenge, knowing yourself better, straighter hair and fighting the fight of your life! Hoping this experience makes you smile every day.

    Liked by 1 person

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