acceptance · humility · recovery · self-acceptance · work

“Finding His Way”

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Today will be my first day of training for women’s clothing
sales at Neiman Marcus.
I never imagined I’d write that, but I’m not ashamed of it
either. Nervous? Yes. Worried I will have to be aggressive to make sales?
Yes. A little trepidatious at having to learn all new things about brands and
quotas and sales targets? Yes.
Grateful? You bet.
An interesting thing happened the other day. I was asking a
friend about a guy we both know, who I’d just met: What does he do for a living?
“He’s a server. He dropped out of law school. He’s finding
his way.”
Aren’t we all, I replied.
And I noticed something. Although I still believe that
pursuing our passions and earning a
livable wage are ideals for me in my own life and in the life of a potential
romantic partner, when I heard what this notably attractive man did for a
living, I accepted it.
This, is new for me. Call me a snob, and perhaps I have
been, but because of my own vicious drive to “do something” worthy in my
lifetime, because of my own aching need to “move the needle of human progress
forward” through my employment, I have been judgmental of my own jobs. And of
others’.
But I noticed that I didn’t have that same snobbery come up when
told about this guy’s job. Perhaps, I have gained – or been brought down to – a
level of humility around what people are doing in and with their lives.
Which means, perhaps I am finding that same compassion and
acceptance for myself. Perhaps. Maybe. Surprisingly.
Do I still want to do work that enlivens me and helps others
on their own path? Yes. But I am accepting where I am today for the first time
in a long time.
Partly, it’s because I’m taking action outside of my
“regular work hours” to engage in activities like acting, and singing, and
getting ready to make this video-ask to help get an art studio. Perhaps now,
for reasons unknown to me, I am beginning to call those other hours worthy,
enough, more than enough. And they begin to settle the aching gnaw of “WHAT ARE
YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE???” that dogs my every step.
Perhaps, although this new work could be considered
not “high” employment (working toward a greater good and utilizing my skills
and talents), perhaps I’ve just become grateful to have any employment at all.
Or at the very least, employment that doesn’t sit me behind a computer screen
40 hours a week.
I am delighted and surprised at this internal shift. This loosening
of the noose around myself and others’ over how they pay their rent. Obviously,
it’s none of my business what others do for work, but it’s a question we all
seem to ask nonetheless. And in its answering, we begin to categorize and label
people according to a caste system.
Maybe it’s realizing I’m part of the caste of people who are
bright, creative, and longing. I am one of those “finding his way.”
I have found a compassion and acceptance of this place.
(Though the shrewd part of me wonders if that means I’ll now move into the “found”
category because of my new “achievement/enlightenment”… And I can offer a wry smile to that “never good enough” part of myself.)
To finding our way, be we server or CEO – Humans, all. 

acceptance · boundaries · disappointment · family · father · recovery · sadness · self-love · truth · vulnerability

My Own Private Fan Club.

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“I’m a fan of you, Molly Daniels, in your entirety,” he
wrote.
Granted we later slept together. But I digress.
I had the good fortune to spend time last night with several
women I admire. I shared with them what’s going on with my father and my
having to make the decision to attend his wedding in lieu of performing in the
play in which I’m cast.
One of them reflected: “I’m sorry your dad is not able to
see you.”
And when I listen to this more deeply and clearly, it is a
bell of truth.
The fantasy and illusion I’ve abided by for years has been
that if I am a good daughter, a good girl, a devoted and doting woman, then I
will be seen. The delusion is that my people-pleasing will make him see me. But. This is false.
I have tried many times, this path of behaving. And I’ve
tried its opposite, being a wanton, crazed, rebellious teen and young adult, in
order to be seen.
But what struck me this morning was this image: You know
when someone has a lazy eye, and you’re not really sure where to look, so
sometimes you just look at their forehead? Or if you’re trying to avoid
someone’s eye for another reason, you focus somewhere else that sort of looks like you’re looking at them, but you’re not?
That’s how I feel with my dad. That he never actually looks
directly at me, which is why I’ve tried to make the trappings around me so much
larger or different or “approvable” or “disapprovable.” If you can’t see me,
maybe you’ll see the life I’ve built that meets with your military/engineer’s strict
sense of correct.
If I have the job you can brag about, … but that’s not me. I
am not my job.
If I have the relationship with you you can brag about, …
but that’s not me. We don’t know each other.
If I have the life you can brag about, … but I’ve tried
that. You threw my own failings in my face.
I have tried to make the external parts of me approvable
enough for you. But even those periphery trappings (and they are “trappings”)
have not been enough to hone your focus onto the all of me. Me in my entirety.
I didn’t know that was what I’ve been seeking until my
friend told me he saw me. I didn’t know that was what I’ve been missing,
and making a pretzel out of my life and myself in order to make happen.
If I want to please my father so he sees me, what do I think
will happen if he sees me, “in my entirety?” … I don’t think I can answer that.
Except to say he’d love me, in a way that I could feel.
Because here’s the thing: If he’s looking around me, and not at me, he’ll never love me in a way that
I feel. He may “love” or approve
of the things around me, the life I meticulously and back-bendingly try to
arrange around myself. But that’s still not me.
This is a system, a relationship in which I am not seen. The
one thing I want to glean from it is the one thing I cannot have.
In reading Brene Brown so voraciously right now, I can know
this: He’s not able to be vulnerable enough to do that.
To see me, is to expose himself, is to open himself to being
vulnerable, and for him, that is not an
option. His whole life has been built on a foundation, a faulty one (well, in
my own estimation), that precludes true connection, because he is unable to
look at and love himself. I know how this formed, and I can only presume the
pain that’s caused, because he’s never shown it. (Except in these indirect ways.)
Brene writes that men deal with vulnerability in one of two
ways: Rage or shut-down. (She also writes about those who find ways
out of that dichotomy, but those are the go-to’s without the tools to do
anything differently. And surely, those aren’t the only means to deal, but it’s her
research, not mine!)
I know that when I told my dad that I might not be able to
come to his wedding because I’ll be in a play that weekend, when he put on his “I insist” voice, that was his way of hiding his vulnerability, his
disappointment and hurt. I know that this was rage to mask actual feelings. I
know that this rage was to protect and prevent of moment of true connection, in
which something different might have been said like, “I’d really love for you
to be here. It would mean a lot to me.”
That directness is too vulnerable.
To look me in the eye and say that is too vulnerable.
To see us both as humans doing a dance of having a
relationship, instead of as a master and a servant, a “father” and a “daughter,”
is too vulnerable.
If I can’t squash it or approve of it, I can’t deal with it.
I “get” this. I get and have compassion for and understand
this dilemma for him. Also, this is a dilemma that I’ve prescribed for him; true or
not, it’s only my interpretation.
But, like I said before, it’s my choice how I want to engage
in this “relationship.” Because for as long as I can remember, I’ve been waving
my arms in an effort to start one. An effort in vain. And my arms are tired.
Brene writes that shame is countered by self-love, and that
shame resilience is a practice, not a diploma.
“I’m a fan of you, Molly Daniels, in your entirety.”
I’m going to have to say this phrase to myself, repeatedly.
To truth-test the thoughts of “not good enough” – especially “not good enough daughter” – as this future unfolds.
I’m going to have to truth-test my fantasies around this
relationship versus the reality, and I’m going to have to accept, even for a
minute at a time, that this relationship is the way it is, and that my father
is the way he is.
I’ve heard many times that “acceptance is not the same as
approval.” No, this isn’t ideal. But turning my life into a pretzel to garner a
connection I will never (or not today) have, is the worse fate.

acceptance · adulthood · beauty · faith · intimacy · letting go · loss · love · relationships · self-love

Because I’m your Mother, That’s Why.

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The last song on Anticipate Thisthe mix CD I’d made for him, is Dave Matthews’ Say
Goodbye. It includes the refrain, “For tonight let’s be lovers, and tomorrow go
back to being friends.”
The line from Alanis’ Thank You has been repeating in my head: “Thank you, Disillusionment.”
And, finally, if I was “craving cupcakes,” well, a cupcake
isn’t a sustainable meal, is it? It’s never actually intended to be, and so you’ve got to enjoy it while it is there, savor, relish, cherish it, and then you let it
go. Then you move on.
We had a “debrief” conversation last night, during which most of the
above sentiments where shared by us both. Acknowledging the loveliness, the heights, the
calm, the titillation. And yet, that it was what it was. That it was a moment
in time that we’d both signed up for, participated in, and get to let go, get
to allow its sanctity, without marring it with all those Whatifs that spun in (both) our heads.
To allow the sanctity of beauty, to allow it its singularity
is a challenge and a lesson of adulthood. To be disillusioned, to know that
moving isn’t right for either of us, that fantasy can overtake reality and
crumble it. To have had the hard-won experience of knowing that selfishness and
possessiveness can suffocate a beautiful thing, is perhaps not “romance” as we
think of it. But it is, in itself, a mercy.
Relinquishing the ties to future, to “meaning,” to purpose,
we can allow it the simplicity and integrity of its joy.
I wrote a poem once about trapping a moment away in a mason
jar, locking it deep inside for fear that the moment would get marred by time
and eventuality. But the problem was that I forgot what that moment smelled like anyway; in my possessiveness and fear of losing it, I forgot what
made that moment so precious to begin with.
The same is true here. And, smartly, maturely, rightly, and a little wistfully, we both, or at least I, have to allow the experience its
autonomy and “string”lessness.
I called my mom yesterday. I’d spoken to several friends
about my conflictedness, and my sadness in letting the moment go. In knowing,
surely and deeply, that I would have to. This knowledge all the more
painful since it was such a thing of beauty, since it was, for me, a lesson in
intimacy, vulnerability, and ease that I haven’t felt with anyone in my past.
As we spoke, I told my mom it was like tasting ice cream in a shop
for the first time, and having to realize that ice cream is available
elsewhere, all over the place, in fact. That I don’t have to go to this one
place to experience it. That I’d be missing out if I thought this was the only
wellspring of deliciousness.
Part of the beauty of it at all, is that I get to see that
ice cream is in fact available to me.
(Ice cream! Cupcakes! Sheesh, can you tell I don’t really eat this stuff
anymore!?)
But, I did. I got to experience, savor, relish, and cherish,
and I get to decide to believe—DECIDE TO BELIEVE—that I can have similar dishes elsewhere. Somewhere a little less
complicated.
My mom told me that of course it was available to me. That we all deserve to have the kind of love
we want in the world. That we all are worthy of finding it, searching for, letting
the non-fits go, and working toward creating in ourselves a person deserving of the highest order this life offers.
Why? I asked her.
Why? Why is that so? Where is the cosmic contract we’ve all
signed that says that we’ll get that kind of love? Where is the agreement that we
sign as humans that says, Work and open and heal and (for)give, and you shall receive?
Really, honestly, who the fuck says that any of us get any of that?
It was important for me to play my own Devil’s Advocate. I’m the one with all the woo-woo affirmations posted
around my apartment about abundance and light and love and serenity and
security and radiance. I’m the one who’d easily and believingly tell a friend that
things work out. I’m the asshole who believes all this muck.
And for once, I needed someone else to tell me it. I needed
to be the petulant asshole who says, “Yeah, Says You.” I needed to allow my
disillusionment of that kind, too. I needed to allow that it sucks and hurts,
and is disappointing, and hard fucking work, and that we (I) do this with
absolutely no promises whatsoever of any kind of “reward,” or change.
There is no rule that says, Thou Shalt Not Toil Until Death.
There isn’t.
So, I need, sometimes, someone else to tell me. Because,
truly, somewhere (a little out of reach at the moment), I believe that we all
do deserve the precious and gorgeous things in life. I believe that none of us are meant to toil and suffer and be beaten by
life. I truly, somewhere, have a faith that is unalterable. A
place inside me that has never known fear or scarcity or sorrow.
But, despite my friends’ ears and wisdom and empathy, I
simply needed my mom, former Miss Cynic of the Universe, to tell me, Molly, It’s
going to be alright. There is ice cream
elsewhere. There is love, abundant and resplendent. Not that it isn’t without
its own challenges and lessons and compromises, but there is love, and I am
worthy of it. That I “deserve” it.
Despite the “adultness” of letting go and loving detachment
and equanimity and allowing what is… in these moments, in this one, I simply needed
the maternal “all knowing” assurance of that which I actually believe.
Dear Egregiously Gorgeous Moment in Time: Thank you.  

acceptance · change · community · love · trauma · truth

in.to.the.light.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve had occasion to sit with two
friends who shared with me about trauma in their past, as well as reading an article by a
sexual abuse survivor about the upswing of the Dylan Farrow case.
A little less than a year ago, after I completed chemo, I started reading a book
about healing that kind of trauma. As you may remember/know, it’s my
understanding that disease can be a function of underlying emotional or
spiritual dis-ease, and after my bought with cancer, I was (and still am)
determined to do all I can to root out causes and dis-ease that may underlie
the causation of cancer. The book suggested that before you really begin, you collect your army of support
because the work would be intense. So, I sought out a somatic therapist, as the
book suggested, and saw her a few times. I wasn’t a good fit, and I soon
stopped seeing her, and soon stopped reading the book, maybe a chapter or two
in.
However, this morning, I was toodling around on my phone,
compulsively checking my email for the rehearsal schedule for the play in which
I’ve been cast(!), and I clicked on the “Notes” app I have on there, wondering
if there wasn’t some old “to do” list that may have good ideas for me.
Instead, I found a series of quotations from that book. A
series of words that struck me, applied to me, and offered me compassion,
understanding, and hope.
I … don’t really want to do this. Read that, re-read that.
Tell you here. But, my friends, it is all related. Don’t worry, I won’t get
specific here—it’s not appropriate, and not necessary—except to say my abuse
was not incest or young child abuse, but simply a series of events from a youngish age into my 20s when I didn’t
understand what No was, how to stop things, how to not
go along.
But, apparently, several things in my current life are
pointing me back at looking in that direction. And, from my own understanding
and cosmology, the “Universe” tends to bring things up when you’re ready to
deal with them. … And, if you don’t, you’ll be given occasion to deal with them
later, we promise.
One of the quotes in my app says something about moving out of
isolation into relationships. Va voy, if that’s not what I’ve been trying to do. And
here is a hiccup I didn’t see coming. A gentle nudge from the Universe saying,
Hey, there are these unresolved things. I know they’re hard, but you’re not
alone, and we’ve already pointed some support structures your way, if you want
to work on this now.
I may say, Fuck you. I don’t wanna.
I may call on the language I read once that said, Stop
Identifying With Your Trauma. Don’t use it as a shield and a sword to say, LOOK
SEE THERE’RE THESE FUCKED UP THINGS THAT HAPPENED, SO YOU CAN’T GET CLOSE TO
ME, AND I’M TOO SCARED TO GET CLOSE TO YOU—BACK! OFF!
I could call on that language and say, see, I need to not look at this, because then I’m just wallowing in my
past, instead of moving out of it.
See…. but the thing is. I haven’t wallowed. I’ve avoided.
Plague-like.
Partly because “it wasn’t that bad.” Partly because it’s
so damned fucking common
. Heartbreakingly.
Partly because there have been other fish to fry.
And mostly because it’s really really hard.
I have some Louise Hay “Affirmation Cards” over my kitchen
sink, so I can look at them when I’m doing my despised dishes. The one that
calls to me about this reads, “All these changes are easy to make.” These
patterns are easy to heal and change. Maybe. Maybe this is easier than I fear.
The big boogey man with a flashlight projecting himself on the wall much larger
than he really is.
It’s happened before.
I know it’s a heavy thing to lay out to you here, but I also
know some of you are there, were there, get it, and are curious, like me, on how to go
through this stage of healing. As always, I write this for us.

acceptance · acting · change · dating · growth · joy · trying

So??

So, what is happening
with the boy (in real life, not in my brain)?
Well, instead of sending my crazy text on Saturday morning,
I sent instead, “Brunch tomorrow?” Luckily my journal, you, and my friends get
the brunt of the crazy, so by the time I get into interacting with human
beings unaware of my brain functions, they get something resembling “normal.”
So, there was brunch on Sunday. During the course of
conversation, without blasting a fire extinguisher of mania at him, he said of his own accord, “We’re dating; that’s what we’re doing.” Oh, Okay. Good to know.
So, then… Dating. There’s another one planned for this
Saturday evening. And, I am unsure if there will be more, and unsure if I want
there to be, but want there to be this one, at least, so I can figure that out
– that’s the whole point of the dating thing, isn’t it? To spend enough time
with someone to figure out if you want to spend your time exclusively with
them? (Not like all your time, just your romancy time.) I’m honestly not sold,
which is as it should be – we’ve been on three dates. Not enough to know much, except we have relatively good
conversation, I am still a little stiff and breath-holdy around him (though I measurably relaxed once he said, “We’re dating”), and really
enjoy his roaming hands. If there’s more than the roaming hands that I enjoy,
only time can tell.
So, that’s the story. I am honestly still tempted to “put on
my love light” and get back in the ring (to mix metaphors). I don’t know the
strength of this one dating situation, so why preclude myself from others. What
that will mean to “get back out there,” I don’t know at all. Maybe just a frame
of mind. I am still single after all,
and I’m not racing to lock it down with this one dude, cuz I’m not sure yet.
Seems … mature, maybe? Realistic? Appropriate?
In much other news, I have an audition on Monday for a
staged reading. I have a role suggested to me for my monologue by the
25 y.o., but haven’t yet read the play – this all means, … I’m not prepared,
and unlikely to have something memorized by Monday. I need a contemporary 1-2
minute dramatic monologue, and all I have/own in my head is the Shakespeare
piece I did the other weekend. So, … if, lord help me, I need to use notes for
this, then I will. It’s just information, it’s just trying. I know now that I
need to have/own more than one piece if I want to be in this auditioning game,
which may one day, who knows,
how-much-easier-to-let-go-of-the-results-of-this-than-dating, lead to the acting
part – the part I actually want.
It’s interesting to me, getting to compare the way I was
clinging to certainty around dating, and am pretty much just joyful to show up
around acting. I actually did a fist pump when I left my audition the other
week! Not because I thought I did awesome, but because I showed up. THAT’S awesome.
Of course, you know I’m going to say something like, “Now,
if I can just allow the fluidity, joy, presence, confidence and love of self I
hold around auditioning flow into the dating world, I’ll be much happier, and
indeed, much more myself.”
Yes, I would say something like that, wouldn’t I?

acceptance · change · dating · internet dating · trying

Let.The.Horse.Pull.The.Cart.Molly.

One guy’s profile on Tinder read, “Let’s just tell people we met in line at a coffee
shop, and I said something charming.”
Because (forgive me if you did) who wants to say, We met
online.
My dad met his fiancé online. My mom met her boyfriend
online. My coworker is happily married to a man she met online. To name a few. 
So, what’s the big deal? Will this stigma end? Is it a
stigma, or is it just me and my highfalutin ideas of how people should act and
meet and love?…
So, how did me and the 25-year old meet? Well, according to
my highfalutin idea that I would “meet someone on the way to meeting
myself,” in fact. Amazingly.
We met at the Theater Bay Area auditions last Sunday. He was an auditor (i.e. some kind of representative of a theater company who watched all the auditions–casting director, director, who knew), I was a volunteer.
We repeatedly caught one another’s eye during the day, but the day passed without a word and was ending. I didn’t want to let the opportunity to meet him pass by, because either he’s
someone in the theater world I’d like to meet, or he’s just a cute boy I’d like
to meet.
Everyone milled in the lobby at day’s end, and I simply
walked up to him and said, “Hi, We’ve been glancing at one another all day, and
I just wanted to introduce myself.” He replied that it was the red I was
wearing that caught his eye. And, that I was very beautiful.
We chatted, we laughed a little, and in the end, I gave him
my card, utterly ambiguous to either of us whether our intentions were personal or professional.
Then, his email later in the week, and the ambiguous Saturday afternoon meeting
that turned into half a date. And last night into a full one. 
His beard hid the fact he’s 7 years younger than me, could have been anywhere around 30, til I asked on Saturday outright.
The agony I poured into my friends’ text messages yesterday
morning about the age gap! “He was in diapers when the Challenger blew up.” “He
doesn’t know Corey Feldman before rehab.” “He didn’t suffer neon like the rest of
us.” Though born in the 80s, his earliest memories begin in the 90s. This is a Millenial. 
My friends’ resounding response was: Just go on a second date,
doofus.
You don’t even know if you like one another yet; stop
manufacturing reasons to make this a no.
One friend in particular had good insight about the
generational gap. About the desire for aligned frames of childhood reference. Her husband is from
Germany, arrived in the States in 1995. His American pop-culture references
only go back that far, even though he’s of similar age. She said she walks down
memory lane with her friends. And that’s enough.
What are the need to haves; what are the nice to haves?
What about the “He’s employed, attractive, intelligent, ambitious,
Jewish, tall” part of the equation?
Then again. Your 20s are so much different than your 30s or
any other years (that I’ve lived so far). There is a certainty about the world
and your place in it that you have in your 20s that completely shifts by your
30s. There is a hubris about your knowledge. The development of those few years
is drastic. I know. I’ve lived it, and
watch others live it. I know that people who are 40 look at me and how I think
I fit in the world, and smile good-naturedly at my naïveté.
Though, perhaps it’s my own hubris that I can know where
another person is on their developmental path.
There is no definite here, there’s only exploration. More
opening, more meeting, more laughing and softening. The part where you (I) feel
comfortable enough to be silly–if that part even comes to pass. You
can’t even know yet if you like one another, and so all the questions about how
you met, about generational alignment, about maturity and Back to the
Future
references AREN’T EVEN RELEVANT yet.
For now, I, said doofus, went on the second date. And this
one was unambiguous. 

acceptance · adulthood · anger · art · faith · frustration · gratitude · progress · recovery

Cancer.

About a month ago, I was diagnosed with Leukemia. And my
whole life changed.
I don’t know what this change is, was, will be, but I know
that I am in several ways entirely different than I was. The way, at least
right now, that I see things are entirely new. And profoundly grateful. I
almost died. And yet, I didn’t.
We each get this each day – I got this each day, prior to this happening. I got the chance to
understand that life was precious, but I didn’t, really. I
understood it,
but to really
feel it? Well, it’s
different now,
and it brings up a host of other questions. Am I allowed to still watch Ben Stiller movies? Am I allowed to spend a day on the couch? Will
I now stop stopping myself short on all my varied art projects, and allow
myself to follow through on anything
that I’ve started? I have no idea.
I’d like to think that part of this “change” – for lack of a
better term for “life altering sudden tragic happening” – will indeed move me
toward being more in my art, more in my life. I’d like to believe that part of
this whole thing is a very nasty kick-upside-the-head lesson in not living for
tomorrow. That I’m being given the chance to very acutely see that life is
short and tenuous, and so I ought to embrace the talents that I have, and finally
let myself explore them fully so that I might share them with you.
I’d like to believe that there are lessons here. Otherwise,
what the fuck.
I’d like to believe that the Universe or my Higher Power
couldn’t — for some reason completely unknown to me – send me a postcard, or a
dream, or a message on Facebook. That
for some reason this lesson had to be learned hard, and fast, and
therefore more gentle methods of smoothing a rock down to its shiny parts were
not available to this massive Power.
I’ve been out of the hospital for a week now, and I will go
back in next Monday for another round of chemo. This will be the 2nd
in a series of, likely, 5 treatments. The words that I’ve had to learn over
this month scare the crap out of me. I don’t want to use words like chemo,
nausea, pain meds, pneumonia. I don’t want to hear “How bad is the pain on a
scale of 1 to 10,” or, “It’s time for your shot,” or “Well, we expect this.”
I’ve oscillated since I’ve been out of the hospital between
those few stages of grief – anger, grief, acceptance. Often within the same
minute. When I was in the hospital, there wasn’t time for anything except acceptance. This is happening. Period. Go with it. And, despite
what you may think, it’s really f’ing busy in the hospital with people coming
in and out at all hours of the day and night, throwing information or
medication at you. There’s not really time to process, space to absorb and
consolidate what has been happening to me.
And so, being home now, I’m getting the chance to experience
what I couldn’t while basically holding my breath for 3 weeks. I’m getting to
realize the enormity of what happened. The slow, marinating, seeping
reality – I almost died. The nurse told me that I had 49% leukemic cells in my
blood when I came into the hospital – WITH STREP THROAT – and that if I hadn’t
come in, I would have died within two weeks. I would have gotten a bleed,
likely in my brain, and I would have just died. No one would have known – no one would have known why. Relapse?
Suicide? Understanding this fact has begun to lead me to know that I need help
in holding the space for all this – and yesterday I contacted a cancer support
group.
AND, I have to tell you, I don’t want to be someone who needs a cancer support group – I shouldn’t have
motherfucking cancer in order to
need such a group. A month ago, this was unfathomable.
This morning, I read my last Morning Pages entry from the week
before I went into the hospital. I haven’t written morning pages since then, I
was too sick, and then too hospitalized. And so I read them, and I see myself
talking about how my throat really is starting to hurt. About how I went to the
art store Flax and got new pens and a notebook and talked to the woman in the
back about different types of pressed paper – hot press versus cold, what would
be good for the art I want to do. About the café I’d emailed with the month
before about putting up a show in their space, and how he wanted to do
November, but I simply wasn’t ready, as it was the end of September at the
time.
I’d written about the clothing I’d bought for cheap at good
thrift shops, and the flying lesson I was scheduled for, which ended up being
the day I went into the ER. I wrote about being excited, about art that I would
make. About missing my family, and wanting to go home for Thanksgiving to see
them.
In some ways, it feels like reading a journal from junior
high, it feels so long ago. And yet, it’s all still me. And that’s something
that I want to take away from this too. This process is going to be HARD, challenging, painful, difficult, and yet, I’m still
me. As I was writing my first Morning Pages this morning since that last entry,
I was inwardly elated to see my handwriting hadn’t changed. That major facts of
who I am have not changed. That things that were important to me then, “before
cancer,” are still things that are important to me now. – art, family,
adventure.
I’ve been blasted with some of the nastiest chemicals, shorn down
to the barest slices of my body … but my handwriting is still the same.
I could go into the ways in which gratitude has become this
sort of well of tears behind my eyes at all times. I could talk about how just
waking up this morning feels like a gift. But I don’t want to today, really. I could
list the thanks and the inundation of love and support and care, but that’s not
what this blog is about this morning, at least. It’s not a love fest, it’s just
a truth fest. About where I am this very day, at this very time, arguing and
stamping and shaking a fist at the sky with WHY in the m’f’in hell couldn’t you
have made this a little bit of a gentler lesson? About how I feel like I’m some
sort of icon now, with people telling me all the time what an inspiration
you are
, when I’ve had diarrhea for 3 out
of the last 4 weeks. I’ve asked people what on earth that even
means, an inspiration to what? What have I inspired in
you? What am I inspiring you to do?
I haven’t done anything except lived.
I get to be bitter about it. And I get to be amazingly
thankful to get to be bitter about it –
to be alive enough to have emotions enough to get to scorn about it.
It is surely true, the love and support I’ve gotten. And
yet, there’s a part of me that feels angry that I even have a situation in
which to receive such love and support.
I know people love me. Couldn’t I have had my 31st birthday at a
restaurant with them, instead of in a hospital bed? Couldn’t I have learned to
get out of the way of my own creativity and drive and lust for life in a
different, gentler way? Couldn’t I have gotten to see my family by flying East
for Thanksgiving, instead of them flying West to hold my hand while my hair
falls out?
I’m grateful for this blog – this tempestuous blog that
gives me the chance to be honest in every way. Which I want to use to
springboard to something else, to write in another venue, maybe one that’s
paid. I’m glad that I get to write here, as someone told me, as I speak – that if I
write the way I talk, they said, I’m surely a great writer. I don’t know how much that is
true, but somehow the cancer lets me see it a little more clearly. And perhaps begin to accept it. I want to explore my talent more – because there simply is
more there. I want to push into it, and I want to share it.
I swear I would have gotten there without this whole cancer
thing, but I guess I really didn’t have a choice in this one.