With Camp Breastie just a day and a half away (eeeek!) I thought I’d share my packing list for the weekend, however… this is not your typical packing list. What is Camp Breastie, you ask? It’s a weekend retreat at Camp Lindenmere in the Poconos Mountains, hosted by The Breasties (one of my fave support groups)! The Breasties “is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting young women affected by breast and reproductive cancers through community and friendship.” I have connected with women all over the country, and even all over the world because of this group, and I can’t wait for camp this Friday! Without further ado, here’s my packing list:
- An open mind: I’ll be meeting over 400 new women this weekend, so an open mind is KEY! Some women will have gone through the same treatments I have, many will have had different journeys, and some have not had any treatment at all. It will be important for all of us to check our egos and biases at the gate, and come into this weekend ready to embrace every person we encounter, no matter their phase of life.
- Empathy: This sort of goes with the above, but I’m sure I’ll be meeting women that have stories so different than mine, and practicing empathy will help us connect and find common ground. From previvors to thrivers and all that’s in between, everyone deserves empathy.
- Laughter: Though the ties that initially bound us are inevitably sad, scary, anxiety-inducing, and morbid, we have an opportunity to change those ties so that we are bound by laughter, shared experiences, and happy memories. I am so grateful to have a group of women that I can laugh with and that truly “get” me.
- Listening ears: This weekend will be filled with opportunities to share our stories, and I want to make sure I don’t miss a single second. I want everyone to leave this weekend feeling heard from the depths of their soul.
- Strong arms and warm hands: All the better to hug you with, my dear! I’m a total hugger and cuddler, sorry (but not sorry) in advance!
- My best self: I promise that this weekend I will not stress about things that I can’t control. I won’t think about work, finances, or medical issues (outside of story sharing time, that is). I won’t let little anxieties get the best of me. I promise to put myself out there and be a welcoming face to everyone I pass. I promise to put my best, most honest, truthful, real self out there, in hopes that you all will see me and love me for who I am. I will be fully and wholly present in each moment with each of you.
If you were looking for an actual packing list, I’m sorry! But on the plus side, with a few hundred women at camp, if you forget something I’m sure someone’s got you covered. The most important thing is that you remember to bring YOU. Pure, honest, raw, YOU. There’s no one I’d rather meet – can’t wait!
What are you most looking forward to at camp? Have you been to a Breastie event or retreat before?