(All photos by Rankin, except the one with Rankin in it!)
I was a Beatles fan when I was young. this was neither the cool nor the popular thing to be. It was the late 70s – Paul McCartney was in his mullet wearing, pot smoking, Wings phase; George Harrison was singing about Hindu gods; Ringo and John were nowhere to be found. Our parents were the fifties generation so unless they were really hip, there was nary a Beatles album to be played on the Hi Fi. I really can’t remember where I heard about the Fab Four…but the moment I did I was mesmerized by the shaggy haircuts, matching suits, cheeky smiles, oh, and the music too. (It’s no wonder I ended up an adopted Brit.)
I knew everything about them – used to even, very geek-ily, call myself a Beatloloigst..John was my favorite with his sarcastic wit and hard-edged sense of humor …so it is amazing that, after living here for nearly 10 years, I have never been to Liverpool. Finally, on the night of May 17, I found myself at the Walker Art Gallery as part of an exhibit in the city centre overlooking the Mersey: Alive: In the Face of Death.
A week and a half before checking out the Cavern Club, through a set of very random and roundabout circumstances, I was literally covered in purple paint posing for one of the most famous photographers in the world, Rankin. He was participating in the Liverpool Photography Festival…http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kate-lawson/alive-in-the-face-of-death_b_3305414.html and had asked me to pose for him as one of the survivors.
I have to admit I was scared being part of this – yes, he was photographing survivors and I had survived something that potentially could have killed me last year but does that make me a survivor? I constantly live in fear that it is not really gone – ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but I don’t think I will ever be the same as before. Every doctor’s appointment now is wrought with anxiety, but I know that everyone has to deal with something and no one lives without stress in some way. Not that the knowledge that others have pain makes me happy but sometimes it helps to know that I am not the only one struggling with life or death matters.
Then I told myself that there was no way I couldn’t do it as there are only so many opportunities in life to be photographed by a world-class photographer and I would be so upset not to have done it…so there I was looking like an alien bathed in purple… (He had taken glam shots of me before the dousing – even said I looked like Charlize Theron and praised my smizing – how much do we love him!)
So back to the night of May 17…there were loads of participants attending the opening night exhibition and every one of them had a story. Most were surrounded by loved ones taking a picture of their picture. Rankin held court and was sweetly chatting up everyone, even inviting us all to dinner!
One of the ladies in the exhibit who is dying of breast cancer regaled me with stories about how the Pharma companies have found a cure for cancer but are hiding it from the public because they make more money with sick people than healthy people. It scared the s**t out of me and I had to run away from her. Hopefully that is not the truth.
Another gentleman, John Ellison, started Climbers Against Cancer, raising fund for cancer research all over the world by selling T-Shirts. He was amazingly positive even though he had to give up climbing – his passion, living up to his motto of: “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.”
Someone asked me today, if now, a year after chemo, I have a new take on life and I really didn’t know what to say. Yes, of course, it’s amazing to be home in London and there are tons of things I want to do but hey, I am the same person who procrastinates, wants to find a new job, tries to find more time to write, complains and can be super lazy…but I am wearing my Louboutins a lot more and I guess that was my goal a year ago!
Reunions report: So many of you asked about my 25th, so I thought I would fill you in. It was amazing but I have to admit that almost no recognized me with short hair – even a really good friend, who I hadn’t seen in a while. She blamed the heat and P-Rade – and given that it was 90 out and I adore her and she hadn’t seen me in 5 years and my photos on Facebook are all with long hair, I will forgive her. Only one girl went on and on about why I would cut my gorgeous hair…I had to pull out the “I had cancer” card! Funnily enough, I did have more hair that most of the male members of my class.
Most of my classmates totally ignored filling in the yearbook portion – so I don’t know why I stressed!
Here is the look I was sporting: had spent the whole day before in nice shoes and then my feet exploded and I had to wear flip-flops – so no photos with Louboutins.
I love that we got to spend so much time together at reunions! And I’m amazed you found the energy to write the blog post (I’m still recovering).