Fearless Unfolding

Since the Cancer of May, there has been an ongoing assault of problems and challenges at my end. 

It has not been a rough week. It’s been a bloody rough season.

At least, my head is still fairly intact (for now).  

Last Friday, I checked myself into the hospital and went in for a minor surgery. It was to remove a tiny lump in my left breast. This is the same left breast which caused me to go under the knife back in 2006. Yes, it was also to remove a small lump of no more than 2.5cm.

This time, the lump is less than 1 cm. Hence, this makes it a recurrence.

I thank my lucky stars that I have been diligent in getting myself screened. Well, with this predisposition and some family history of breast cancer, this is a fate I did not expect to escape from. In fact, since 2006, I had fully embraced the fact that breast cancer and I would be bosom buddies. 

The only consolation is that the biopsy came back negative (for now). However, I was already primed for the worst. One can never tell with these things. 

So, before I went for the operation, I had a long talk with my daughter and showed her where all the important documents are kept. I wrote letters to my sisters and even, my ex-husband. I thought it was essential as my death would make him the sole legal guardian of our daughter. So, there were things I needed to address. Especially on how to proceed with taking care of our daughter.  Her happiness would be paramount. As always. 

You see, I am not afraid of dying. I am actually afraid of not living.

I am aware that many people are afraid of dying. Sometimes, that fear takes hold of them in more ways than one. I used to be like that – being fearful of so many things. And because I was so afraid, I suppressed myself. I was the opposite of fearless. 

Truthfully, I was no different from a living ghost – walking around in a casket-shell of a body, constantly seeking to be validated through external means. It could be people, things or words. Like a drug addict, I would crave more and more.  

I was too petrified to voice my own opinions, too insecure to stand on my own, too immature to understand what I was really looking for, and the list goes on. I was too busy trying to comply while silently murdering my authentic-self from within. 

It took a painful fearless journey to arrive to where I am today. And the journey has not ended yet. 

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that being true to oneself means adopting the “F*ck the world” attitude. No. That is not what I mean, or advocate at all.

It is more about understanding how I may vary from others in opinions, preferences, or beliefs and yet, I would remain respectful and kind. Just because I do not like something does not mean that everyone should not like it too. It certainly does not mean that I should dislike/hate them, or be rude to them just because they are different from me.

Frankly, I am the one who sticks out like a sore thumb. The majority of the people blend in very well with what society approves and upholds. There is nothing wrong with that.

I am only interested in what’s right and perfect for me. Because I only know what is right and perfect for me. I have had no experiences in living others’ lives or fighting their battles. 

As much as I value others’ opinions and advice, I would always decide on my own, and for myself.

I am the one who has to live with the results and consequences. So, I do not base my decisions on people who do not have to be accountable for what will come to pass. And since discovering that I have the highest risk for breast cancer, I made sure that I did all the things I wanted to do, said all the things I wanted to say to the people I love. I try to do it on a daily basis – while I am still breathing. In this way, I would have no regrets even if death catches me unawares. 

As long as we are alive, there will be problems and challenges. This will not change. The only thing that changes is how difficult or painful those problems would be. And just to really mess with us, there is all these unpleasant sudden surprises that will most certainly pop up at the worst possible time. This is all part of living. 

Mastering Change


So, this is what I do not do – I do not cry and say, “why me?” or “woe is me.” Because it is pointless and it doesn’t benefit or help me. I rather spend the same amount of time and energy on positive things that would make a difference to my state of mind/being, and situation. That said, I would allow myself to cry and grieve. But once I am done doing that – like in the bathroom or when I am alone in the car – then it is done. I do not revisit it like it’s a home away from home. There will be no reruns. 

What I detest most is having all my problems or adversity change me into a bitter, angry person. Because I had been there, done that, and even left a trail of blood. So, no – I do not wish for that to ever happen ever again. Because it affects not only me, but it hurts those who care about me most of all. We often forget that we are still worthy of love, care and wonderful joyous things when we get into a bad rut. Hence, we tend to forget that there are people around us who would care about our well-being as well. 

This is what I have learnt so far, and this is what I really want to share with all of you :-

Let your LOVE be mightier than your hate or anger.

Let your DREAMS be stronger than your fears. 

Let your HOPES be invincible. 

Be led by your own greatness, always. 

Sometimes, we feel like our wings have been ripped off our backs. We think we can no longer fly without our wings. Then, something magical happens. With our courage and strength, we begin to fly without wings. This is how we soar to greater heights. 

So, no matter how tough or bad it gets, you can count on yourself to pull yourself through. After all, if you look back on your track record; you have 100% success rate. This is why you are still here, fighting the good fight. Please continue to believe in yourself and cherish those around you. Because you are as valuable to them as they are to you. Always keep your thoughts, speech and actions positive. In this way, your every waking moment on earth is a moment well-spent. 

“True nobility isn’t about being better than anyone else; it is about being better than you used to be.” ~ Wayne Dyer.


Above all, be humble and kind. Don’t take yourself or anyone for granted. 

As always, start your own brand of fearless living and love the life you live. 

Peace 🙂

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

  • Mae Acmali
    August 20, 2014

    Hi Shirley! Great post as always, and I super agree with this too –“You only know what’s right and perfect for you”. I kind of know the feeling of having a family history of breast cancer. It is scary, but I try not to think about it as much as I can.

    You may not know me personally –I’m not sure if you remember that I once emailed you- but I will pray for you. This prayer is not because you might have the possibility of getting a positive biopsy results, but that may you always have the courage to see things differently as you always do. Stay as brave and as humble as you always are dear Ms. Shirley. You are an inspiration 🙂

    • shirleymaya
      September 13, 2014

      Hi Mae, nice to hear from you again. So sorry for my late reply. I must have missed reading your comments. Thank you for taking the time to share. I do remember you and your previous email. I appreciate your support and prayers very much. Thank you yet again. Means a lot. Hope all is well with you 🙂

  • Jacob Mathews
    August 21, 2014

    Life is a goal in which we set our dreams. The path may not smooth or calm. But every step forward is a star added to our achievement.
    I am very proud of your positive mindset in reaching your set desires. God is with you all the way, as you trust, believe.
    Love and hugs

    • shirleymaya
      September 13, 2014

      Thank you, Jacob. Sorry it took a while for me to reply. I must have missed reading your comments. I really appreciate your supportive words. Thanks again.

  • scottishmomus
    September 2, 2014

    Your brand of fearless is a credit to you, Shirley. We go forward not backwards, 100% here and now. I’m so glad that the biopsy was negative and admire your approach to the possibility that it could have been otherwise. I pray you and your dear ones now have some respite from hospitals.x

    • shirleymaya
      September 5, 2014

      Thank you, darling SS. Your words mean a great deal. I am finally having some respite from hospitals. Let’s hope it stays that way for a bit. Can’t wait to get back into the swing of things. Have been missing out on a whole lot. Miss you too, my dearest. Hope all is well with you. Hugs and love x