I’m a master
at the ancient art of making people feel…

No, I took no course
on how to make someone’s apology meter
go from absolute zero to “I’m-so-sorry-
I’m-such-an-ass!” in fewer than 13 seconds.

I’m just a natural
at reaping sorries I didn’t plant or want or need or,
for that matter, understand. People (good people, fantastic people) say
they’re sorry for my baldness, for my missing breast, for my bruised nails, for how I’m being “forced to think about mortality” and “fear death”. And

their beliefs about me
(which have nothing to do with me)
get so loud in their heads
that they fail to hear
the words dancing out of my mouth: I love my sparkly scalp, I’m proud of the boob that gave her life for mine, my scarred nails are warriors fighting to stay alive, dying is part of living, I don’t fear Death (how else will I get to play chess with my Pratchett and cackle with my Grandmother again?).

I’m a master
at making some people feel…
uncomfortable (or freaking joyous),
if they just care to read me
(and see me) all the way to the end.


the wee notes…
– Marian said to the Toads swimming at the Imaginary Garden, “Here is just one word to inspire poems for this weekend: Sensation.” So, I went ahead and asked Sensation if she minded being represented by her sister, Feelings, and she told me, “Of course not, Lady M, go for it!” And I did.
– also linked to Poets United.


well, yes, chemo can get rather artistic
on the nails
*slightly-mad cackles and wild giggles*


91 thoughts on “Uncomfortable”

  1. Magaly, you’re one of the most sensuous person that I have the pleasure of meeting online. Personally, I think, your lack of hair adds to your mystique, in a positive and glamorous way.

    Please don’t change this, to meet the shallow ways of people, who don’t understand that true beauty, is a grace, we’re born with.

  2. You make others (especially me) more than joyous, Magaly! This is an incredibly soul-stirring write! ❤️ Especially touched by; “my scarred nails are warriors fighting to stay alive.” More power to you! 😘😘

  3. Aha! Now that I’ve read it, I get it.I can so relate! We touched on this awhile back….when we raged at how others superimposed their feelings on yours. Well, you’re in a unique position to set them straight. It weeds out those who care for you from those who are indifferent (in my opinion).

  4. I do see what you mean… the fear of death is everywhere, but I hope that with your smile and vibrant ways that discomfort just blows away in laughter and cackles.

  5. You always make me smile Magaly. Your passion of embracing all that is and is not in your life is a fine art that we all need to learn. The world could learn a lot from you. You should hold seminars!! If you start being a speaker I will come and listen. I can relate to this to. When I was a child people were always reacting that way when they would find out my mother had passed. It always made me feel uncomfortable. Although I know they only meant to console me, it also made me feel like I was forever broken.

  6. Oh darn where did my comment go?? I adore this reflection, Magaly. Like, yeah that is how people are and what people do. And I’m all OMG, chess with Terry Pratchett!!!!!!!

  7. One of the cool (and every now and then frustrating to me) aspects of poetry is that it really is a collaborative dance between reader and poet. We bring the words, they bring their hopes and fears they find shining out of the sparkly bits between the lines. But that’s poetry, and this is your life you are talking about, albeit in a poetic way. I guess you can fairly say you live your life as poetry, and its on the observer what parts they choose to magnify or gloss over.

  8. U and I know that those that feel sorry for what the chemo effects are doing are probably thinking that if it were them they would be feeling sorry for themselves or assuming they would be getting sympathy.
    The results of the chemo IS what happens. Just like the other effects of meds that have sulfur in it causes hives.
    Baldness and yellow nails is temporary. If they only realized what the other option is. Maybe they would understand it better if u said u were going through the process of getting well? Guess u gotta dumb it down

  9. Gorgeous Magaly…this is so beautiful and magical..and I so relate. I love all your wrote..I too, am good at making others uncomfortable (and the look of dumbfoundedness comes to mind when they stare back at me), so I join you in your dance! I have come to learn that others cannot always relate to how I see the world/feel about life..how I live in that magic..and it feels so natural/normal to me.
    Your poetry is potent and I love that photo.

  10. This is you… this is you… you embrace and wrestle (ok maybe hammer) opinions, diseases into submission, wearing your badges of honour, because prize fighters never walk around without a scar or 3… love you ❤️

  11. I love the brave honesty of
    ‘I’m just a natural
    at reaping sorries I didn’t plant or want or need or,
    for that matter, understand’
    and that’s what makes people feel uncomfortable, because they make their assumptions and project them onto others. I love the way you rejoice in your sparkly scalp and will be reading you all the way to the end, Magaly – unless I get there first, in which case I’ll be waiting for you with Terry Pratchett and open arms.

  12. My own wife Maureen had a beautiful shiny scalp like yours too (albeit caucasian style) and seemed to delight in feeling it often for some pleasurable sensation that was not available before! She wasn’t keen on apologies and sympathy either as she was determined to fight the disease whatever the cost.

    • I never knew a smooth scalp could offer so many joys. I love massaging my head with oil, or just standing under the shower… I can’t wait to feel a bit of spring breeze, too.

      Your Maureen sounds like a person I would’ve really, really, really liked.

  13. Some people find it hard to hide their own fear of death, and project it on others – but I am sure many are sincere, if inept at conveying their feelings. I admire how you go the extra mile to put others at ease regarding your own struggle. To push through the horror of disease and find the pride and self-love you possess is not an easy thing. But it contains its own reward. Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Magaly. We all need to read them.

  14. For several hours last week I came face to face with my mortality … your masterpiece could not have been gifted in a more timely way!

  15. This poem–it gave me guilt and joy in equal measure. I’ll keep the guilt as a reminder to stop living in my head when I should be ignoring myself to listen to others and the joy to dance around the kitchen. 🙂 Thanks for both.

    • I do the same thing–live a lot in my head. I, too, shall try to do better when it comes to seeing things from the other side. I don’t scare easily, but I know fear. I need to remember that a lot of projection is the result of fear.

  16. I love the way you empower yourself, and if others are uncomfortable it is not about you but about them. You show your strength in your life, in your words. You are a force to be reckoned with in the poetry world and I think in the ‘real’ world outside of poetry as well. Keep those words dancing out of your mouth! We really need to hear your voice.

  17. Your poetry comes from a deep place of knowing. I feel inspired by your strength and courage. I think people feel uncomfortable because they just can’t seem to find the right words. You my dear poet are a wordsmith with a beautiful soul who weaves words of understanding.

    A warriors always continue onward…

    Have a wonderful day!

  18. Magaly you are beautiful. My daughter went through a terrible illness recently. She came as close to death as anyone can, lost her hair, now has a disability. You remind me of her. You are both strong, wise and happy to be alive. I love your words, your attitude. I don’t apologize.

    • “happy to be alive”. Last night, I repeated that phrase a lot… while trying to explain to someone that I don’t get too mad at the nasty side effects that came with treatment because I’m just too happy to be alive.

      Thank you so much for telling me about your daughter.

  19. Once a poet said to me that I needed to put a trigger warning on a poem I wrote about a friend’s suicide. I sniffed and ignored him. I don’t enjoy making people feel uncomfortable but neither do I run from it. It is what is is. Years ago when I had cancer and was going through chemo and surgery, I told my friends basically, I will play the hand that is dealt to me. I did. Still alive after these years though my hair grew back white as snow. You are dealing with what is dealt to you. Rick on warrior!

  20. Love your style Magaly! Great humor with lots of wits that’s your trademark. You weaved around a storyline taking within your stride of what others just whine about. Have always enjoyed your brilliance, Ma’am!


  21. “…being ‘forced to think about mortality’” This for me is key, Maga. Most people (me included) avoid thinking about mortality, even though death is a natural part of life; no-one gets out alive. My humble opinion is that we tend to project our undesirable feelings or fears onto others.

    And you are correct, this has nothing to do with YOU. As I’ve mentioned before, you are already a winner because you have embraced your warrior spirit. Keep spilling the ink!

  22. Magaly you embrace everything my friend and you show us how. I love that, I am never uncomfortable, I am blessed to know you, to read your words and to be the teeniest tiniest part of such a beautiful ladies days.

    Love June x

  23. This is a glorious piece of writing, Magaly. I love that you are able to express your feelings (and sensations) as you move through this passage in your life – an endeavour (I suspect) many might be inclined to hide from. I admire your strength … your humor … your self-knowledge and truly believe ‘your-way’ is far healthier – and an inspiration to your readers, to boot.

    Hopefully the ‘comment’ hiccup is cured.

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