Monday, March 30, 2015

Good News?

If you think about it, anyone who usually has good news to share can't wait to share it.

Depending on the circumstances, if you have to ask if there is "Good News" there may be a good chance that there isn't.

I came out of my doctor's office the other day, and got that question from someone I was with. I'll let you guess if there was good news, or not.

Not sure if you know which circumstances warrant the question, and which do not? Afraid of saying the wrong thing, or having things be awkward? Let the person who is the bearer of the news volunteer whatever it is that s/he wants to share.

Just my couple of cents. Take 'em or leave 'em.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

In a Crappy Mood

Times like this I should probably just stay off line, and keep my mouth shut. I am likely to rub people the wrong way, more than usual because I am having emotional overload. 

I am stressed about my financial situation.

I have been crying a lot the last couple of days.

My oncologist pissed me off, and I found myself HATING him.

I am stressed about treatment.

I am stressed about the quality of my life.

I am stressed about everything I am trying to do to survive, while feeling like I barely am.

I am emotionally, physically, financially depleted, and at times, feel utterly devastated.

I am acutely aware that life is not "handled" in any shape, way, or form.

I feel isolated. Lonely. Feeling like "everyone" is living their life, and making plans for a future, but me.

I feel overwhelmed by every facet of my life. I am doing as much as I can, but feeling like I am only able to do enough to keep myself from totally going under, and am terrified that at some point I will go under any way...if not via cancer, via trying to survive the facets of life itself.

I feel like I have tried to do so many different things, but nothing seems to be really clicking, and I just don't know what else to do, and am exhausted in the doing of what I have done.

I feel like very few, if any, truly understand or appreciate, the complete package that is currently my life, and the challenges that I face. I find myself telling people that we are relatable, which I truly believe we are. But then I try to find ways to explain why what they think of my reality, and how to "fix" it, doesn't really work. It may be relatable, but it is not the same. I find myself feeling like I need to "defend" my faults, my inadequacies, the results of "my" illness and treatment.

I am aware of the fact that feelings and emotions at a time like this aren't the "truth" or the absolutes they seem to be, but I am also aware that the logic that creates that awareness and statement is also worth absolutely nothing at the moment.

I am also crying, again.

Friday, March 27, 2015

So Little Patience & Tolerance...

I am not sure what it is, exactly, although I am sure a cancer diagnosis has a lot to do with it. I have found myself having so little patience with some things, mainly things of the seeming inconsequential type.

I say "seeming" because what may be inconsequential to me, I recognize, may mean something totally different to another. It is just when that kind of stuff has an effect on me that I am most aware  of just how little it means.

It is of zero consequence to me. Of zero consequence to my well-being. Of zero consequence to my survival.

It may sound horrid. It may sound selfish. It may sound all kinds of things unflattering.  The fact is, I just don't care. I could not care less. 

I just do not have the ability, nor time, nor energy to care about many of the things that often seem to matter. Being in a place of trying to survive makes everything else more difficult, if not downright impossible. 

Many times people think that think that we make choices when it comes to stuff. It would be easy to tell me to look at things differently. But there are sometimes life does the choosing for us. Sometimes you get a banquet to choose from, and sometimes all you get is what is served. Sometimes you get a menu, and sometimes there is a buffet.

And sometimes you limit your own intake. Sometimes you choose to limit the options. Sometimes it is predicated by circumstances, and sometimes circumstances demand it.

It may sound like I am judging the choices of others, and perhaps I am. I don't think so, though. I also don't think most realize how how little is truly important until something shows up that can have the possibility to change everything. And when that happens, that bridge of things that we relate to others on often can deteriorate - if it was ever even there.

I recently had someone criticize me for how I have handled things. Her Facebook page is full of game stuff. I can't relate. Obviously, she couldn't, either.

Dealing with cancer has changed me greatly in some regards. There are times I wonder if people knew what I knew if they would also feel differently, and also have less patience. 

In the moment there seems to be not much chance to say anything. There is a game, of sorts, played, and most play by the same rules. I won't question you, and make you uncomfortable, so don't do it to me. I like this place of ignorance. Leave me here.

It is not all people, all circumstances, but it is extremely common and happens a lot. I overhear many conversations that probably don't matter in the grand scheme of things.  

I could be wrong. 

This could all be a perception of my making. I get that. It is what makes me a bit reluctant to even post this. 

At the same time, maybe my willingnrss to say these things will make a difference for someone who struggles with similar thoughts. Or maybe someone who has never considered it will see things a new way. 

I don't expect people to see things "my" way. I do not have a lock on "right" - except for when it comes to myself. The best I can hope for is to have others respect me, my situation, and my views. In return, it is my hope that I do that for those I interact with.

As we have a tendency to believe a person has to be in accord with us to respect us, there is an uneasy line we walk when we aren't of the same mind as the other person.  

How do I respect another without disrespecting myself, and without upsetting the other person? There are all too many times the task appears so formidable, it is ignored all together.

I say this to you not to make you uncomfortable, but in the hope that you might consider a perspective that is helpful to me. There are so many times I have so little energy and resources, and the last thing I need is to talk about stuff that takes my energy, but gives me nothing in return.

For some, the idea of that removes all manner of available conversation. For me, I see it as a prospect to chart some pretty awesome waters.

Sadly, many will never be in a position to truly understand the cost of the kind of conversations I am talking about - unless they find themselves in a similar type of situation, too. That leaves a big chasm, or creates ample opportunity for growth,depending on which side of the interaction the parties stand on.

I think the place to start is the ability to talk about these kinds of things, and bring them into the light of day. They may, in sheer teror, run back into the darkness, but it doesn't mean we can't try.

I saw a quote about progress, "The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." (Charles Kettering)

I would absolutely agree. Things I often talk about/suggest take a degree of change, and people aren't always willing to go "there." The fact is they may think where their "here" is just fine, and there is no there to get to.

I am not clear where "there" is, but I am thinking there could be one that has a greater level of love and empathy for all parties concerned. I would think that is a there that would be worth working toward. 

Many say they want a better world, but look at it only on a macro (big) scale. They think the individual relationships and reactions have nothing to do with what happens in the bigger picture. 

The seemingly smaller pictures count, whether you start with them, or go back and fill them in, but they are always there, and they always matter. If you think about science, it is always finding smaller "pieces" of matter that make up the things we know, and many scientists are already asking what else there is. Whatever they find counts unto itself, but also adds to what is already perceived to be known. Pieces add up. They do not exist on their own.

We do not exist on our own. Others matter. The trick is to find a way to interact with people and things in a meaningful way, even when we can't, and don't, relate. It seems to me that what we do, and don't do, in relation to others is what what often brings us our experience of life, for seeming better or worse. 

At the same time, I don't think that means we have to be open to everyone and everything. It is just not realistic. Part of the puzzle, I think, is being able to know where we stand, and be able to stand there without knocking someone else down in the process. It also means not taking things personally when another does not match us, and allowing others to be where they are - even when we couldn't be any farther from any possible agreement.

Easy? Ha! It takes work to be able to relate. It takes communicating. It takes a willingness to ask questions, and really hear the answers. It takes truly valuing the other person. When we bring judgments to the table, and our own set of shadings from life experiences, it is difficult to be able to see anything without some sort of built-in bias, which often inevitably places those we interact with in a position of great disadvantage. 

It takes saying things that are uncomfortable, and risky. It takes being honest when previous learning has taught us that survival, and being liked, means we should be dishonest, or at least silence what we truly think and feel.

It means being loving enough to embrace who and how we are, even when others may not appreciate, or even get, it - or want to get it. It means working through the myriad of issues, concerns, and questions that arise within us, without taking it out on those around us.

It means a lot more than I was ever taught as a child, as a developing human being. I was taught to be honest about the "factual" things, but never about the emotional or personal things. There was always some sense of correctness that superseded those kinds of "truths." Saying how one truly feels often inherently seems to have "wrong" and "bad" plastered all over it.

If we could just all be who we truly were, and stop feeling like we had to fight it, perhaps we would also fight each other less, and be better able to find ways to relate, instead of focusing on reasons to be at odds. Maybe if a part of me didn't feel so guilty about not caring any less, I could stop feeling as defensive as I sometimes do, and perhaps react differently, or even stop reacting, as a result.

It really seems that there are times life is more about unlearning things than learning them.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I just...

I just renewed my car registration, and used my credit card. I didn't really want to. I charged a lot of stuff recently in my attempts to buy the stuff I need to make my art and jewelry. The "good" piece is that I have the ability to do it. But it is also the "bad," as it isn't free money, and adds to the amount of money that I must pay out each month from mostly non-existent funds.

Many have told me to file for bankruptcy. They say it almost flippantly, like it is no big deal. What they don't realize is that the repercussions could make my life even harder. If, by some miracle, I pull off a miracle and get better, a bankruptcy could make it difficult for me to even get a place to live on my own.

And that is about a possible future. What about the present? If I didn't charge the stuff I have, I wouldn't be able to have a car to drive. I wouldn't have things to try to sell. I sometimes wouldn't have food to eat.

At some point it will catch up to me, and I may have no choice but to do it. The sad thing about this all is that I was within 6 months of paying off all of my debt when cancer decided to announce its presence. If only I could have gotten there. I could have used the money I use to pay bills to actually pay for things.

I don't even want to think about how much debt I have at the moment.

Another thing that nudges at the back of my mind is the fact that people probably think I am more OK than I am, seeing the things I do. It's not that I am OK. I just occasionally have to close my eyes, jump in, and hope for the best.

If you were me, my guess is you would, too, as the alternative is even worse.

PS Have you seen Patreon.com/Jolope? If you like me/my work, please help me to help myself. You can do it for as little as $1 per month, and can cancel any time. Thank you.

This is not a sales pitch...

Yesterday I was thinking about how much there is on Facebook that is about sales. There seems to be quite a lot lately. If I see it, I imagine others do, too.

It is something I think we learn to tune out to the best of our ability, as we are inundated by it. As I try desperately to survive financially, I wind up "offering" my jewelry and other things as a "trade" for some financial offering a person may make. 

I am not trying to sell jewelry. I am not trying to sell recipes. I am not trying to sell my book.

My "things" are not about the things themselves, they are about my trying to survive.

For many, that is part of my problem. I should be trying to sell them. They should be made to be more about you. I should market them differently. 

Imagine if you were not healthy. How would you feel about having to effectively market something for your survival. How does the thought of that make you feel?

Now also consider the irony that there are those who would suggest that you use your illness as a form, a piece, of the marketing. And the fact is, you have, indeed, spoken of it, but it did not seem to have much of an impact, either, because like selling/business, there seems to be all too much of it these days, and it, too, is often tuned out.

And suppose it is your approach that isn't working, period. How would you feel when most days you feel like you are drowning, and can barely eek out a "help," much less something more formalized/acceptable/effective?

How does a person who has limited health and resources, a person in great need, effectively ask for help? Is that a question that should even have to be asked?

There are times like this I am beside myself. I get concerned I am going to drown while many watch. 

No matter what I say, how I say it, what I do, what I don't do, at the core I am only doing the best I can. And you know what? It is so very damn difficult.

I often find myself on repeat. Some would say that is a form of insanity, a part of me might agree - if it wasn't for the fact that I think a lot of times what I share is not seen. 

So...did you catch that? Here I am talking about how people seem to ignore stuff, but then I say it isn't seen. Which is it?


At least, it is what it seems to be. I have been told the reactions of others when some I know have asked for help on my behalf. I know there are many who know what I am dealing with, and have offered the only currency they feel they can - prayers. 

People, I think, don't know what to do, so they sometimes do nothing. Or they do what they think will help, which may be no help at all. I have even been criticized for asking for the currency of money more than once by more than one person.

As difficult as this all is, I have offered to try to even help others who have a need with my work. But, so far, no one has taken me up on it. I am not sure why. In a couple of cases, though, the idea that it is something to "sell" seems to be at issue.

I would much rather make a "trade" than flat-out ask for help. Unfortunately these days neither approach seems to be effectively helping me.

I am teetering in a way that those who have also teetered seem to understand the best. They are also the least able to help. 

Those who are in the best position to help will often find reasons not to when they look at everything but the fact that there is a person who is in need that they could help.

I wish there was something I could say that would matter. I wish there was something I could say that would help.

I have been told I shouldn't care what others say or think. It is a good thought, in theory. But when you need the help of others to survive, those people are not so easily disregarded.

On top of that, as long as we continue to accept the silence many have around this stuff, the less likely anyone is to get the help, understanding, compassion they need. There are too many others - dealing with all kinds of things, including cancer - who are faced with similar issues.

I would like to think there is a way to help the situation. I don't know what it is, but I am fairly certain silence is not part of it.

I know I likely would never have been this verbal about things if I wasn't in a position to have to speak up. I suppose it is something that is both "good" and "bad." But it is also a lot of other things, including exhausting.

What it comes down to is that I am a person - a human being - that needs the help of others to get by right now.  

Ugh. I have no idea what to say any more. As often is the case, we want to believe that if others only understood where we are coming from they would act differently.  But the thing is, and this piece is tough to get - that people may very well "get" it, and just not want to do anything any differently.

Where does change come from? When I speak from the place I am now, I am often discredited because of my own self-interest. If I was healthy and working that would sound sad, but then I would probably shrug it off, and keep going. After all, what could I do to change anything?

This is creating a whole other hole I am just not up to going into...I just had to write this morning, as I am fighting depression. I needed to get this stuff out, even if no one is listening, or acts in a way to help. 

A drowning person makes noise, and maybe it is because she doesn't want to drown.  She knows she can't likely save herself, so maybe it is a way of drawing attention to someone who could potentially be one to help save her.

Some would say we need to save ourselves. But I don't know that we can. We may think we have that power and control, but I suspect it is just an illusion that gets dispelled the minute the things we think are in our control show us how much they are connected to others, and the bigger picture.

This is not to say we shouldn't do whatever we can, by the way...just that we can't necessarily do all that we've been told we can. And I am not sure that is the "bad" thing we have sometimes made it out to be. 

Although at times like this, it can be downright sucky, and I can see why we would want desperately to believe that we can rescue ourselves. It is a much better fantasy than the one that has us drowning without receiving the help we need.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Just because...

Just because you want to make a change doesn't mean you can. Just because you don't like the way life looks doesn't mean you can alter it. Just because things are the way they are doesn't mean you haven't done enough, or done things wrong, or have a skewed perception of what "reality" is. Just because things are how they are, it doesn't mean you have faltered.

Sometimes things are more perfect than we give them credit for. Sometimes they can be great lessons or teachers. And sometimes...things just suck. Sometimes we do not know why we must travail the path we do, but it is the only one we seem to be able to take.

I am not sure that we have as much say over the path we have in life that we think we do, but what we do have is a say over how we view that person taking that path. How do we react when we can't seem to effect a change? Do we kick ourselves, or do we love ourselves? Do we think less of who we are? 

I think the reactions that are seemingly more negative are the result of inaccurate perceptions of what we believe to be true about what we are capable of. We wind up beating ourselves up as a result, looking for reasons to explain why we have been inadequate. 

This is not to say that we don't sometimes block ourselves, or get in our own way, because there are times we most certainly do. But, rather, it is to point to the idea that beating ourselves up is more than likely rarely helpful. If something is the way it is, especially after an extended time, and with extended effort to change it, maybe it is not that we are doing anything wrong or should be doing anything else. 

Maybe it is just the way it is "supposed" to be. In matters that suck, that idea is extraordinarily uncomfortable. There just has to be a way out, right? If only I was better. If only...

So then not only do the circumstances potentially make us miserable, so does all of the stuff we put on ourselves for our perceived failures. Making matters worse is when others tell us what our reality should be, and why they think we are not there. There may be times they could be right. But there are also most certainly times what they believe about you doesn't fit. It just seems like it does. You are made to believe it does. It sounds "right." The right buttons are pushed. The right negative reactions are ignited. 

You wind up becoming more reactionary as a result. You are determined to not be something more than you are determined to be who and how you really are. It may look and sound better to be something you're not, and to some that may very well be the point. But, here's the thing: if you are not being true to yourself, you will know it. And when that happens there is a cost. And often that cost is greater than any perceived benefit of following another person's path that we think is, or should be, our own.

It may not be something we realize immediately. Often we are lucky to recognize it at any point. Things like this are so well hidden. We all too easily, at times, take the things of others on as our own, wearing the thoughts and beliefs of others. They seem to become so much of who we are we can't separate ourselves from them, often coming to believe it is who we are. 

There is great freedom in being able to distinguish who we are outside of what others believe - and have taught - us to be. Along with that, though, can come an incredible discomfort because we no longer fit into the molds we are told to. We start to draw outside the lines. We start to make new ones, or even make none at all. We upset the apple cart, and those around us may even be more desperate to "help" you find your way. You may even be tempted to go back "there," as it will likely seem safer, and is certainly more familiar. 

The negative feeling of beating ourselves up is incredibly familiar, isn't it? 

Becoming who we truly are is no easy task that I think is made all the more difficult by the many "shoulds" we tend to live by. I do not know The Answer to life's many uncomfortable propositions. I wish I did, as some terrify me. 

But what I suspect, given what I have experienced these last few years especially, is that we do a much better job of living life when we are willing to take our own path, and listen to our own inner voice than when we let the collective ideas of others sway us. They may be well-meaning, but I think many times they divert us from listening to that inner voice that is trying so hard to be heard and accepted, even when it isn't as seemingly attractive as other options.

I share this because I can. Does it mean I am right? Who knows? But if it resonates for you...

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Went to bed...

I went to bed, and I wasn't feeling great. I tossed and I turned. I dreamt of Mrs Eisenhower, and of spending time with her. I also dreamt that Ross Perot had requested to see me. Odd that these people were in my dream. I am usually not dreaming about anything even remotely "political." Oddly, perhaps, Mrs Eisenhower said her name in the dream, and it wasn't what it has been said to be.

I also now remember another part of the dreams: a terrible train wreck. There was a lot of fire and destruction. It seemed to go on for miles, and get worse. I think I was with Mrs Eisenhower at the time.

I woke up this morning and am feeling physically crappy. Last night it was more stress than physical stuff. This morning they seem to be double teaming me. In speaking with someone they expressed surprise at what they deemed my surprise was at my situation in regard to the minimal help I receive from others. 

There is no surprise. There is frustration. What do you do when you don't know what to do? What do you do when you tell people you are drowning, and you are flailing, and many just seem to watch - or not notice?

This isn't a comprehensive look at my life right now, but it is a lot closer than most would like it to be - especially me. There are times I am calm about it all, and can only hope it truly is calm, and not battle fatigue. I do occasionally wonder if what I feel is just sheer exhaustion. 

Ideally I could focus on myself and the things I need for my health and well-being. Instead, I find myself caught up trying to do what I can to survive fiscally. It is scary on so many levels, not the least of which is what will happen if I can't function?

I am still in bed. I know I should get up and do stuff. But I really do feel crappy. I am not sure that is going to happen - at least not any time soon.

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