Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stream of Consciousness

About a week ago I wrote what follows. I had no idea where I was headed, and there is no final destination, or neat wrap up. I was going through my blog today, and was reminded that this was in draft form. Even though I often say that my blog is like my personal journal, there are some times I am a bit more acutely aware that someone is looking over my shoulder, and times when I am feeling my least clear are some of them. That is why I tucked this away. I am publishing it as the stream of consciousness it was.

I am sitting here, watching the light, fluffy, beautiful snow fall sideways. It is likely I will not leave the house until the weekend, when the temp goes above freezing.

There is a garage that my car could be parked in, if it wasn't full of stuff yet to be unpacked and found a home. I am saying these things because I want to write, but don't know where to start, in part because I am not sure where I am headed. At least if I knew the destination, I would have a sense of which way to turn.

For that reason, I guess the "logical" place to start is exactly where I did - in the moment. I am feeling very unsettled. Things seem to be in a regular state of flux for me. Yeah. I know life is like that, even when you're not dealing with cancer. I have felt this way other times in my life, long before a diagnosis ever showed up.

 I am really struggling today. I feel like I can't do anything right. I failed at an on-line event because I wasn't really ready, but I dived in any way - at least to the degree that I could, given my energy levels and the fact that I had to finish moving.

I wanted to have a few conversations with some people, but can't for reasons that I can not control, and that bothers me because it in some part has to do with the fact that I am dealing with cancer.

I am feeling frustrated financially. I am feeling like I don't know how to be, how to act, what to do. My life now has cancer written all over it. Part of it is by design. I decided a long time ago that if I could help others to deal with their situations, I would do just that.

I sometimes wonder because I may not seem to have it all together and all fixed if that could be why despite my attempts to reach out, I haven't been able to find those that might benefit from what I have to offer. I also wonder if people might think, "oh, I shouldn't bother her." If only people that might think that would realize that I want to be "bothered" in a way in which I might be able to contribute to others.

There are times like this that even though I have much to offer, I feel quite useless. I realized today that when I can't seem to express myself in a productive way, then I express my experience instead.

I think it quite likely that people don't know what to do with the latter, or even want to hear it, so they stay silent, or stay away which makes things all that much more difficult and frustrating for me. On top of that, there are times I wonder if anyone cares about what I am going through. Odds are there are some who do, but because they feel helpless to do anything about it, they do nothing.

More than once I have told people how they can help me, but because I don't seem to do it the "right" way or package it correctly, they again do nothing. The biggest thing that people could do - if they did nothing else - would be to share about me and my story. But I get told by people all the time that they can't. They just can't bring it up in conversation. I am supposed to understand.

I do. But I don't. There are ways to do things - people just have to want to do them. Because the topic of a conversation about me is uncomfortable, or would provide discomfort, people don't want to bring it up. I bring it up more than I would like to myself, but do it in part because I want to deflate it as much as possible.

Remaining silent only makes it worse. Better to talk about it and bring it into the light of day. But in some ways *I* have to do it. Pretty much anyone else can go on with their life without even thinking about it.

 I would love to act like everything is fine. I would like to have a "regular" life again. I would love to talk about all kinds of things and have cancer not play such a big role. I found myself wondering if I could actually do that. I am not sure how it would work, quite frankly. cancer is a part of the equation, whether I want it to be, or not, and whether I like it, or not.

It has also become something I feel important to bring up. People have no clue what those dealing with cancer deal with. Some can afford to be blissfully unaware. In some ways I am jealous of that. I used to be there. I used to be in a place where I could choose whether or not I would interact with the idea of it because I didn't have to. I always knew I would likely suck if someone really close to me had to deal with it, because I just felt so awkward around it myself.

Well. cancer decided that I needed to learn how to get more comfortable around it, apparently. It gave me quite the wake-up call. It showed me a lot about how how I acted with a couple I knew who had dealt with it. Interestingly, with one of them, I had a foreshadowing of what was to become MY experience.

In speaking with her, I had the thought that she could help others in dealing with cancer. She seemed to want nothing to do with it. I suspect she, like many others, just wanted to put it behind her. Even if I had a lifestyle in which I could put it behind me, I don't think I would want to.

It feels "right" to share about the things I go through. But then I wonder every time that I share stuff that makes me upset (especially) I wonder how many people think, "oh, there she goes again." I wonder how many people think less than flattering things about me because I hang out all of my undergarments for people to see. And when you do that, people often think you must be doing that for a reason, like you want attention. They judge you, and often in a way that if you were to get their judgment, they'd be trying to tell you how to fix things.

Imagine someone trying to help you fix everything you think. Most of it you never share, and that is probably a good thing. I really wish I didn't feel the need to be so open. I never used to be like this. I never used to share the kinds of things you just know someone else will judge. I knew enough to keep silent.

I have come to realize, though, that it is that stuff that we're supposed to express. What good is it when it is kept in? It really isn't good. Plus in sharing we come to learn to stop judging ourselves because we see that what we do is not so unusual, and that others are just as likely to have similar stuff, but we'd never know it while we choose to be quiet.

The more I have spoken about my experience, the more I have had people tell me about theirs. For some it is very much a relief to be able to let it out. It was a burden to have to hold it in. I can sometimes literally see physical relief.


In some ways I know I matter. But there are more times I feel like I don't matter than times that I feel that I do matter. I had visited with a shaman at one point, and my aunt who died almost a year ago was there in spirit. I was kind of stunned, and it never occurred to me to talk to her for myself.

My aunt, though, very much wanted a message to get through to her kids, my cousins. She lived for her kids. There were times I was jealous of them, given my lack of relationship with my own mother. My cousins had an amazing mother, and for a time, she was kind of like my third mother (my grandmother who raised me til 10th grade, when she died, being my second mother).

I appreciated all that she did for me, but over time she didn't make much of an effort to talk to me, so I got to the point where I made less of an effort, too. We really didn't have much of a connection after a time, and the Christmas before I left for California was the last time I saw her. I somehow knew when I left her house that night that it would probably be the last time I would see her - even though she did not die for several more years.

For that reason, I guess, it should come as no surprise that she wouldn't necessarily have something to say to me, but the reason she came up in the session was because there were times that she was hanging around me. Perhaps obviously that meant that she cares/d about me. But I wanted to hear something from her besides how much she loved her own kids.

This has made me think about my relationship with my own mother, and it is sorely lacking. I never felt as close to my own mom as I did with my aunt. I could speak with my aunt about things I never would discuss with my mother.

As a result of many things, including this stuff, I am feeling rather lost and disconnected. I am feeling unimportant. I think one role that friends play in our lives is one in which we get to see how much we matter. They tell us we are valued and appreciated. When people won't interact with you, if you don't have a good inner core of worth and value, it is likely all too easy to feel devalued. And that is what this is telling me right now.

I must not have that inner core because there is a part of me that is feeling devastated by the crumbling of most any relationship that I have valued, which is some way is tantamount to the crumbling of any self-worth I thought I had. If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound? If you have limited, or no, ability to interact with others, do you have value?

A part of me thinks the answer is No. That part of me scares me, though. Because if the answer is no, then why am I still here? And it could also mean I won't be much longer. I don't want to give up. That is not what this is about. At the same time, how long can you keep swimming without getting tired? It is not like I haven't reached out. I have done the best I can, given my situation. I can only do so much, and there is so much that is impossibly difficult about handling things any differently. I get treated like a "normal" business person, and that isn't exactly the case.

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