Day 366: On Living Negative


“The Constant” – © 2014 Michelle Mendieta Mitchell,

A year and one day ago, or 366 days, I received the wonderful news my biopsy had come back negative. The breast lump my OBGYN had discovered, on Valentine’s Day no less, was benign and nothing more. As the news swept through me, I felt like screaming it at the top of my lungs through the streets of San Francisco. A couple of cupcakes later, the celebration was complete and I had the most restful sleep that night.

A few weeks before, I had found myself on BART traveling to my favorite place in the entire world, First Exposures, a San Francisco-based youth photography mentoring program, and everything seemed to start going in slow motion.

I realized, “This could be IT” —  no more days, no more chances, this could be the final chapter of my story.

What surprised me was that instead of feeling scared or anxious, I started to cry because I felt incredibly grateful. In the last year I had given myself a chance to go back to school to become a photographer, left a job I had outgrown, worked very hard to strengthen my relationship with my husband, was doing everything to live my life out of love and truth, and had the amazing opportunity to become a part of First Exposures. If this was the last chapter of my life, so be it. I had left nothing to chance and I felt at peace.

So, a year and a day after the news, I’m still doing what I can to keep the authentic living going. I’m still working on understanding myself and my motivations, being kinder to those around me (and thanks for being patient with me when I fail miserably), and living with the spirit I discovered that day. And I am incredibly grateful to have 366 more days.

P.S. First Exposures, an organization very near and dear to my heart, is having its Looking Forward, Giving Back benefit on Wednesday, March 25, from 6-9 p.m. at Left Space Studios. One of my prints along with work from my fabulous mentee will be part of the silent auction (the photo above is my print “The Constant,” which was part of the 2014 auction). Buy Looking Forward, Giving Back 2015 tickets here.