Scrolling through my social media and messages, there are a lot of photos of handstands. There are photos, not just that I have posted, but that other people have sent me of themselves, or pictures they have tagged me in, as if to share in the handstand experience with me, or say, “Look, I can do it too!” To be honest, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable, because that’s not what my handstands are about, and so it can change their meaning.
It is not meant to be about showing something cool I can do like a performing monkey, or comparing what I can do to someone else. Showing off is not my thing. And honestly, the quality of my handstand is terrible!
Handstands are individual, and represent so many personal things to me.
Handstands represent a different way of looking at things. Looking at possibilities, and asking not “Can I do this?” but “How can I do this?”. They are kind of a physical representation of a very personal and private part of my life. I’m reminded of the mocking tone of the neurosurgeon when I asked when, if at all, I’d be able to get back to doing handstands after I was first diagnosed.
Handstands are something that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do again. Not just once, but multiple times now since the appearance of Timmy.
Handstands are defiance. Defying gravity, brain cancer, my prognosis. Defying the loss of function involved with the number of assaults on my brain from the tumour, the multiple brain surgeries, radiotherapies and chemotherapy.
They are me, standing on my own, when the impact of the very rare and aggressive cancer I have threatens to make me completely dependent on others for my own care.
There are a lot of attempts before I actually get one I am happy with. So handstands represent failure as well, and the importance of failures in our journey, and how we integrate and learn from them. (Notice I did not say “overcome” them – that is a different blog post!).
Only I know the work that has gone into regaining this skill each time I have gone through surgery, chemo, radiotherapy. Each time something changes in my brain, I have had to learn it all over again. Each time is a massive challenge. It’s not something that I just have to practice a little to get back – hours and hours of practice, hundreds of practice sessions, with painful attention to detail. Patience has been key. It is something that no matter how many other people can do, it is as individual to me as the journey that I am on. Handstands are a sign of the adversity I have faced along the way. Every handstand is a success built on thousands of failures. It is like a flag, stating not that I claim this territory, not that I survived long enough to make it to this point, but that I thrived to make it to another country, another adventure, despite the challenges, adversity, naysayers and odds.
And yes the location is always a bit risky… close to a cliff edge, or on top of something high. Why risk? Well, I love the adrenaline hit, but to me it also symbolises just how on edge my life is and has been for the last nearly 6 years. It also brings in facing fear. One small change or bit of growth with Timmy, and now Webster, and my life is completely upside down! (Pun intended!)
My handstand says I am here living, striving, not dying or giving in.
Yes, I have cancer!
Want to learn more about Cameron Gill’s journey, his legacy, and his legacy projects? CLICK HERE for Cam’s official Facebook legacy page. We have heaps more of his story to share, so like and follow to stay updated.