The two-time cancer survivor is rediscovering the carefree girl she used to be

By Diem Brown
September 05, 2013 12:00 PM
Matt Sayles

After successfully battling ovarian cancer for the second time and sharing her journey on, Diem Brown is back to blogging. This time around, she will not only share updates on her own life, but also about competing on her new show, MTV’s The Challenge: Rivals II.

As we go through different experiences in life we often feel the need to gain and maintain control of our surroundings, hearts and life paths. We all find comfort in things we can control. We yearn for schedules, routines and things that remain constant when the world throws us curveballs.

But when we become ill or encounter various life roadblocks, the urgency and need for that control becomes stronger.

If you would have called me a control freak 10 years ago, I would have thrown my head back and arms in the air laughingly saying, “Ha, heck no. I’m free as a bird! Whatever happens, happens! Just live life, baby!”

However, “living life” has had some setbacks for me. And I started feeling the need to control everything that was controllable … It became my security blanket but it also became a wall that held me back.

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Yes, I am on a reality TV show with my ex, an ex who ironically met me back in 2006 when I was in this exact same stage of emotional recovery after cancer. There is comfort there – I’m not sure what that means but when I think of those moments, I just felt comfort and an acceptance of who I was.

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I was not trying to start the romance back up – I tried to stay far away from all that – but things happened a kiss happened. Emotions are confusing and I was extremely confused by my interactions with my ex. “What am I doing?” “Where is your control, girl?” “Everyone is judging you.” “This is wrong.” “This can’t be right.” So many thoughts flooded my head but the familiarity of it all made my control blanket seem so much more comfortable.

Ironically enough I’m a pretty private person when it comes to my romantic life. I had an amazing boyfriend for over four years that the public has probably never seen. I wouldn’t put up pictures of us on any social media site, or really talk about him in interviews. He was successful and because I felt I was still struggling with my goals and dreams, I wanted to feel independent from his help.

I am realizing now that the “tough girl” stuff was my way of keeping my control and maintaining my distance to safeguard myself from getting hurt. Sadly not showing him that carefree, screaming from the rooftop “I Love You,” couch-jumping love, ended up destroying us.

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Looking back now, I would have never wanted to date me. It’s a weird thought, but it’s true.

I am finally learning to balance my need for complete control. I’m learning you can be your tough independent-girl self and still let in someone that loves you.

I want to meet my former carefree self in the middle and realize that losing control doesn’t mean that all things fall apart. If you don’t let yourself go a little you aren’t letting yourself live, fully.

When I dance I feel free. It may sound cheesy but that’s when all my walls and control-freak tendencies fall to the side and I’m back to being my fun, fearless and free self. I don’t care if other people are watching or judging. I always dance like no one is around. It has always been one of my greatest releases.

When I am out dancing, my guard’s down and my emotions are exposed. At times I have felt so beaten, insecure and vulnerable but when I dance that’s all washed away and I can just be me again.

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I am beyond lucky to be here today, I am beyond lucky to be living. I am excited to feel the balance return. Working hard, going for your dreams doesn’t have to be a lonely road. I am becoming more and more ready to have a partner in life. A partner who has his own goals and his own dreams yet loves and respects the passion I have for my own.

I think the best relationships are those of two independent individuals who become greater and stronger when they are together. They can admit their shortcomings and together they balance each other out. No one is perfect but like that country song says, “I want a man who stands beside me, not in front of or behind me.” What a beautiful thing to aspire to create – a partnership, a teammate in life where you both want the other to reach their dreams and goals.

Life may have thrown you some curveballs that have made you become more guarded, trust me I know that feeling all too well, but becoming that girl you used to be – head thrown back, hands up in the air – is possible.

You just have to come to the realization that love and happiness can’t happen if you are too afraid of letting go of some control. You have to able to trust your gut and jump all in. I am ready to become a person I would want to date!

Follow me on Twitter @DiemBrownMTV and on Instagram @DiemBrown.