Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Emotional Range Forest

I want to scream. Not exactly sure why. But I do.

I saw something online about a guy who was only given 6 months to live. He decided to give his girlgriend, who became his wife, things that she wanted in that time. He has since died, and now we hear the story. What about when he was alive?? Then, as the story is told, a question is posed, "if you only have 6 months to live..." 

It is crap. C R A P. crap. Sorry if I offend anyone, but it is. For most anyone who is asked that question, there is absolutely nothing that makes it a viable or valuable question. Many might not even know how to answer it, and those who do will all too soon forget what they said. It isn't like it is a leaping point to actually doing something about it because most anyone asked will feel like they will live forever. It isn't until one is facing that reality that most would change a thing. 

And that, actually, is quite tragic.

I saw a video in which people were talking about the NDE that Anita Moorjani had, and the things she learned. Do people have to get that far to awaken? I felt like I wanted to answer that question. The answer is a BIG FAT NO. I did not get as far as she did, but have awakened to many of the things of value that she discovered - just as she might have been losing them. The thing is, I still came farther along the path to get here than probably anyone would ever want to.

When the road suddenly deadends, you may be at a big loss. All those things you thought were ahead are suddenly unreachable. I had an uncle who worked very hard up til retirement, but died not long after. His wife, my aunt, was sad that he had worked so hard and was not able to enjoy life, living, and retirement. That, at the same time, she was giving me grief for spending money I did not have to take a trip. I doubt she realized the inherent contradiction of those two things.

I feel like I want to scream at people who are on the wheel and either can't get off, or don't even realize they are on it. I want to tell them that the time is now to BE. The time is now, and it doesn't matter how uncomfortable it is, or what anyone else thinks. There is no time like the present because no other time may ever be present. 

Easy for me to say? Not so easy for you to do? You got the this and the that and the...yeah. OK. I know. I was there, too. I was so stuck. So miserable. It is scary. It means taking leaps where there are no nets. It means all kinds of things that are so freaking scary. 

You know what? I learned from being there. And you will, too. You will take what you need, and you will add it to the sum total of your life. It will serve a purpose, and it may surprise you in countless ways. You will never change course because someone else thinks you should, or because someone wants you to. Even if you did, odds are you will find your own path because it is what you need to do, or are meant to do.

I am sorry if I want to scream at you. It is really not about you. It is about how much I somehow wish that how I did things in the past had more understsnding of the things I know now. What could/would have been different? At the same time, I have seen countless times how who and how I am is all too like others on this path called life, and what comes to help and comfort me can occassionally do the same for others.

It is also my wanting to vent anger for the place I find myself in. I don't think I have ever been angry about cancer, but it doesn't mean there is no anger. Perhaps things show up when we are ready for them, and maybe that partially explains the freaking rollercoaster I feel like I am on. Ome minute I am fine, but then the next everything feels tragic.

I imagine I depress the anger as a way to cope, and as a result it comes out sideways in relation to the things I wind up talking about, or winds up as depression, or maybe it is even why I sleep a lot. Maybe I just wish I could go back and wake the person I was up. She was so numb. So hurt. So lost. She was often swayed by what others thought. She could not have been more stuck. Is that going to be the tale of my life? Are my disappointments and delusions and misconceptions and hurts going to be the majority of my life's tale given that I have only been awake for such a short time?

I have said I am mostly without regret at this point in my life, and there is a part of me that believes that. It is the same part that logically believes that everything in my life has served a purpose - pain and disappointment and all. But there is another part of me that is terrified that I will never have the chance to really, truly - completely - fully - live this life I have been given. 

I am doing all that I can in the context I now find myself in, and maybe that is all we can ever do. Maybe it won't always seem like it is good enough, but maybe you have to sometimes eat the whole box of cereal to get the prize. 

All of these things sound good, by the way, but I am struggling just the same. If life just is what it is, and it is all OK because it serves a purpose (known or unknown), why do we find ourselves questioning  what we do/don't do? Why do we even ask why? Why do we ask, what if?

Is it too late to help myself? I certainly hope not. But I have no way of knowing. I also have no way of knowing if I can relay anything in a way that can make a difference in the world in which I live, or that I leave behind. I guess there partly is a piece about wanting to feel like I mattered - not only to the world, but to myself.

Athere are unformulated questions in my head. This blog post has gone from anger to sadness. As I think about it, the "funny" thing is that I think more people would be comfortable with the anger than the sadness, even though sadness is a good sign, as it means I am processing stuff.

I have heard stories of those who care more about how those around them feel, and how they go to sometimes great efforts to take care of them. Some people would think that inspiring. amazing, all kinds of good things - and maybe it is. But also consider that it is good for people to feel and to express what they feel on both sides of the aisle. Times like that may do no one any favors, depending on how those times come to be. Also consider that just because a person speaks of something as it is doesn't mean they are any weaker than the one who doesn't. There is a lot of power in saying what is.

I have now calmed down some. So...from anger to sadness (and tears) to feeling on the calm side, and it all came through being able to express myself. On some level it most assuredly sucks, and on another, I am grateful for the role it plays in processing whatever is feeling a need to be processed.

I was going to go back and re-read this, but I don't got it in me. It is only 7:30, but I am feeling like I should go to bed - actually, to sleep - as I have been in bed this whole time.  It probably did not help that I was up til 3:00 this morning and did not sleep today, like I usually wind up doing. Hopefully I will sleep through the night then. Wouldn't that be loverly?

Religion, Tithing and Rubik's Cubes

I just read a post from someone who said he had stopped tithing, and why he suggested that others do the same. I was curious. I had an idea of what he might be saying, but I obviously would not know for certain if I did not read it, so I clicked.

Well. It wasn't what I thought, and it got me thinking about what I did think.

Before I say much more, let me tell you a little about myself when it comes to religion. I was raised in a Christian Science home (Mary Baker Eddy ring any bells?). I even went to a Christian Science Boarding School (Not as impressive as it sounds. My family received A LOT of financial aide). I went to Sunday School most of my childhood and all through high school. Every morning at school we would have chapel. After I graduated high school I even went to be a nurse's aide at a Christian Science Nursing Care Facility for the summer.

Then I went off to college, and Christian Science as a church and religion in my life faded into the background, and ultimately lived in my past.

Quite frankly, I think Christian Science is very close in some ways to "New Age" thinking. I think there is a lot of good in it. But there were things about it, or at least the people in it, that gave me cause to pause on more than one occasion. How can we say only one slice of a pie is delicious if it is all the same pie?

I have often thought about how our beliefs as humans are like those pie slices, and all those perspectives point to the center. How can we say any one is better than any other? And yet, we do - constantly.

I am getting a bit off track. I didn't mean for this to be an entry about religion. I often stay away from the topic because it seems to be a conversation that no one wins, but so many try to.

The reason I went there was because in some ways I have history pertinent to the conversation, and yet, I do not remember if we ever tithed 10% to the church. We always had to give something, but we never had much to give. My grandparents were on Social Security and receiving state aide for raising me and my sister.

In some ways, this is not an entry about tithing, either. But I know that for some it will be. I guess I am just trying to cover my bases and share some more things about myself in the process.

In thinking about the other person's writing, I found myself wondering if people, at least some, confuse Church with God. I imagine that somewhere there must be something that says that the two are somehow one in the same. But are they, really?

Someone along the lines likely said they were. And now many believe it, and act on it, as if it is so. You must know about those who have corrupted the trust of those who donate?

But this is not really about that, either.

If we believe that God is in the world as a whole, and in all people, then why is it that our assistance to those in it needs to be through the church?

Why can't we choose to help those around us directly? Why can't we take 10%, if that is the amount, and spend it in ways that help others outside of the convention of the church?

At one point I wanted to work in conjunction with the school I used to go to, but the fact that I was no longer in Christian Science precluded me. It didn't matter that I was a good, loving, caring, giving person - in some ways more spiritual than I had ever been. It didn't matter that they liked me. It only mattered that I did not wear the appropriate label.

I do not understand how we can choose not to help someone in need just because they aren't "dressed" the right way. I do not understand how we can choose to give to someone or something because they are.

I am sure there are all kinds of rules written somewhere that I have missed or long since forgotten. But I really do wonder if God is really who we think He is, or if He is who we have made Him to be by what we know of our own humanity? How can we really believe that if He loves man that He wants him to be ONE way only? That seems to be more a human trait to me. Human beings struggle to have things be a certain way, and often get upset when they're not. Do we really believe that God is that way, too? If God is just as we are, what makes Him so special, especially when we have no way to know for certain that He even exists?

I am not asking these questions to stir a debate. I am also not asking them as a way of saying I have any answers. Nor am I asking to have anyone give me their version of the "truth." I am only asking these questions because these are the questions that occur to me when I think about these things, and I happen to be writing them in a public space.

I respect that there are a myriad of beliefs in the world, and I respect those who think what they think. If you are happy with what you believe, and it works for you, it is not up to me to question it. We all get to where we get to when we get there, and in the process we become who we are.

It is a process that I have come to greatly admire and respect, as it has brought me to myself in the last year in a half in a big way. Without the "process," I do not know how anything would come to be because we seem to need the perspective for insight to happen.

Not long before I came here to write I was reading about how JCPenney has gone back to pricing things the old way. They are inflating prices so they can knock them down so people think they are getting a good deal. People apparently prefer that to "every day low prices." It sounds a bit weird, in theory, doesn't it? And yet, the company has done much better since the change, after doing a lot worse since the initial switch away from it.

It almost seems that it we require the conflict as part of the journey because without it, we don't seem to have too much interest. What would it take to not need it? After all, most of us wouldn't likely mind doing without.

We are such walking, talking, breathing paradoxes. I almost wanted to say we individually were like a Rubik's Cube in the univers. It would sound like a great metaphor, wouldn't it? Let's see. Can I say it?

The first thing I think of is the fact that while it may take some time and effort to figure out, there are ways to get to the solution. Some people give up on it long before they'd ever get there. Some will be persistent. If we are the cube, then who or what is manipulating us? Is it possible for us to get to a "solution" ultimately? What if the "solution" was life itself, and once we enter life, it is when the cube gets jumbled, only to return to "solution" state in death? What if our essence, our soul, is the one who gets to "play" with the variances and the combinations and the spins? What if it is we who do this to ourselves, purposely?

I don't know.

My head kinda hurts. "Conversations" like these really aren't really much more than a guessing game. As a child I used to think that someone had the answers to life as they got older. The older I got, the more scary it in some ways became. There were still too many questions and questions out numbered the answers. People would tell me stuff, but it didn't always fit or add up, so it was like never having an answer at all.

And you know how we humans be. We love to win. We love certainty, and we will do our best to create it - really the illusion of it - at times at great cost. What does it cost us to believe the things we do? What does it cost those around us? What does it cost the world?

The life we live is something we "buy" with our beliefs and invest in with our choices. Hmm. I wonder if there is something in that that somehow correlates to the financial concerns many face these days.

I don't know, but the water I am treading is getting to be a bit much. So I think I will end this entry, and go on to the next, or something else. My mind is in overdrive these days. There is so much I want to do and write. And most of what I am doing is actually sleeping.

PS After I left this entry, the very first thing I saw on Facebook was this. LOL. What the heck does THAT mean, other than perhaps that the universe has a perverse sense of humor? LOL)

It Sneaks Up On Us

Tonight I was speaking with the beautiful and talented Sherri Robbins. She had shared with me a new song she is working on. We spoke as I went to the grocery store, and as I walked around and shopped.

One of the things she talks about in her song is about magic in life. I told her I wasn't really sure what I thought of that idea, as I think we so often look for magic that isn't there/isn't possible (as maybe not all thing are meant to occur - or occur the way we want them to). At the same time I acknowledged that there have been things in my life that have seemed to be quite magical. 

It is quite the paradox.

As I checked out of the store, I was beginning to wonder if I had enough cash on me. When I left the house, it was with $60 and a quarter in my pocket. 

The bill was getting very close to $60 as he picked up the last item and scanned it. The final total? 


Next time I think I will take less money. LOL.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Storm Clearing

Well. The storm feels like it has passed. Feeling calmer tonight, even tired. Maybe I will be asleep before 3:00 tonight. That would be pretty nice.

I did some significant work with a shaman recently named Jean. She is a beautiful woman that I met while in New Mexico. 

I am thinking that stuff got stirred up. I have been all over the emotional map recently. My world really felt horrendous earlier. Very dark.

Now. Not long after, I am once again feeling on the stronger, clearer side. It really is amazing when I allow myself to process  the stuff that wants to be processed - instead of resisting or fighting it.

Funny thing? I sat down to write about something specific, but it has slipped my mind. Oh well.

Tonight I was watching another video with Anita Moorjani. I found myself wondering something I may have to ask. Since we are so sure in life of the things we believe, and there are so many variances of what is "right," is it possible that in death something similar happens? Could we have different types of events there, too?

Another thing I have been contemplating on and off is removing my port. It is for chemo or Avastin. For convenience, it can also be for blood collection. 

The thing is, though, I do not know how I feel about the Avastin any more. I know how I feel about the chemo. I am not sure the medical profession has much to offer me right now that is worth keeping the port.

It needs maintenance so that it remains useful, and it is a foreign object inside of me. I keep thinking I would like it out. If I decide to stop treatment I may wait a bit to do it, but I am really thinking its days could be numbered. 

I already know that no one will recommend it given the way things are. But I obviously don't care what they think, or I would be listening to them already.

Sometimes I really feel like I am OK. A part of me has to believe I am. Only time will tell what that "OK" means. I sure hope it means I get to stick around for a while. When I am not down or frustrated, I get really excited about the possibilities.

And, with that, I will wish you a good night. I will be posting a link to Anita's video on Facebook.com/Relatingtocancer. It is rather lengthy, a bit over an hour, but if you feel inclined to watch it, it will likely be well worth the investment.

Sweet dreams when you get there.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

You Can Have Everything?

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.

Zig Ziglar

Zig was awesome to watch speaking. He was quite dynamic. So many love Zig's work, and much if it does sound pretty awesome. However, these days I am on a kick, questioning the things we have taken on as Gospel, and I question this statement, and this is why.

I am a person who has done a lot of things to help people over the years. Many times I even extended myself for free. There are many things over the years that I have also wanted - but not gotten. 

By Zig's "equation" it would seem that for as much as I had done, I had not done enough because if I had, I would have netted the things I wanted. Is it possible that he could be right? I believe there is a good chance that it doesn't quite work that way.

There is something to be said for caring for others, and wanting to help them. There is something to be said for considering more than just yourself, but the thing is there are times we might cost ourselves more by overreaching to others than it does overall good.

There are also statements like this that keep you playing the second-guessing game. Did you do enough? Did you do the right thing? The best thing? What is lacking? How can I make it work? So many questions that net a whole lot of nothing positive.

One might try to make the case for it keeping you on your toes/striving, and suggest that it could be a good thing. I am not so sure.

It seems to me that we can't always get what we want, so there is no magic to make it happen. And yet, it is what we want to, and are sometimes desperate to, believe. We will want it so much we will spend all kinds of money to learn the secrets and/or what is wrong about us/the way we think of things or live our life.

Maybe our goal shouldn't be to figure out how to get stuff. Maybe we are focused in the wrong direction. 

I remember hearing how good it was to seek success and money, as it helps you do stuff for others. I kinda bought into it for a while, but something about it just felt off to me. It probably didn't help that in some part it was being used to justify spending thousands on programs.

I may seem to be picking on money, but it is just an example. If we weren't so busy focusing on what others thought we should be, who would we be? 

This not to say there is no value in programs. I have found pieces of myself in them over the years. But, rather, to question how often we seem willing to allow another to help us override ourselves because there is something we could be doing better to get that thing we want. 

We have seemed to be trained to want. Aspire. Great word. Positive connotation. But if you are who you are in this moment, there is no room for aspiration. It is something for the future. 

What if we more fully lived in the now? What if we more fully made choices not by what we aspire to, but by what feels right in this moment? My guess is that those two things will not always align, and may even at times be in conflict.

So, with all due respect to a man who seemed to be full of a lot of love for his fellow man, and for someone who has likely helped many, I disagree. For anyone who feels differently, and it works for you, awesome that you have something that works for you.

But for anyone who also may feel like it doesn't exactly add up, you are not alone.

Getting Soaked

I am really beginning to think I am depressed. I do not feel like doing anything - including eating, and that is so not me.

It is like the "reality" of my situation is hitting me. I imagine that getting through   something like what I am facing takes a bit of denial on occasion.

I can't help but think the Avastin is not helping. I want to get off this ride, but I do not know how. I seriously was contemplating stopping the Avastin. It may not be helping in what it is supposed to be doing, and hurting me in other ways, too.

Plus, I don't need the doctors to be continually looking for me to get worse. I hate the term "re-staging." It seems to imply things getting worse. If they thought they were getting better, would they care as much?

I debated slightly about making this post public, knowing that too many would likely want me to "stay positive." Some would even think I should go to therapy. 
Even the treatment center tells me they have people who I can talk to, who can help me.

I do not see how. It doesn't change a thing. It doesn't take away my pain. It is not like I never talk about how I feel, and need  to get it out. Even the one time I relented and went, the therapist agreed with me.

Whatever this is, it is. And I need to be in it. It just feels like such a big, dark cloud at the moment. Like other storms, this too shall pass. 

But, as for right now, I am getting soaked.

Depression, Myths, Fixing Things: A Stream of Consciousness

Before I begin, let me tell you I am feeling depressed. It does not help that I did not fall asleep until after 3 this morning, and did not sleep particularly well.

And. It sucks.

I am laying in bed, wanting to close my eyes on one hand, and wanting to write on the other. As a side note: my mind just thought about how writers actually used to write. But writing is now more an act of putting words together than an act of actual act writing.

Oh yes. The places my mind does wander.

So what is on my mind? I just saw yet another fundraising campaign raise thousands (20k+) in a matter of days. It was for a couple who has been through a lot, and I am sure they will benefit greatly from every penny.

When I compare their story to mine, mine lacks key elements: youth, romance, a seemingly conquerable situation, hope for a happy ending.

It got me thinking about many of the stories that actually make it to the media. Unless it is a shooting or an attack or war, the stories we see are mostly the "feel good" ones, the ones in which the humans involved have conquered their foe.

It is such a paradox. On one hand, we show how we can't control our lives and what happens, and on the other we show stories that sell us on the feel good illusion that we do.

No one wants to hear about the "bad" unless it can be neatly wrapped up in something that can make us feel good. Is it manipulation that got us here? Is the need for a "reward" that we get for our interest so deeply ingrained that we won't invest without some sort of "feel good" pay off? 

There are times it sure does seem that way. 

Given my mood, it feels like what I am writing could be construed as sounding whiney or negativr. Any time a person says something we are uncomfortable hearing, we have a way of labelling it, or the person, or both that isn't positive. It is likely our way of trying to minimize its occurrence that way, and keep people in line for fear of what others may say or think.

When you no longer care about those things, when your situation has been stretched to the limits, when you have said and done everything you can think of and have nothing to lose, you can say and do anything and it doesn't matter any more what anyone else thinks. You are no longer controlled or manipulated by what another thinks.

Odds are good that those who would be the most negative and verbal are the ones who have no clue about what they are judging. Anyone who has been on the side of the fence you have been on would likely understand.

In each and every case? Not necessarily, but probably more often than not. I would be willing to bet those unwilling to share many of life's rawest stories without the "feel good" components have never had to experience of standing where those people do, because if they did, they would likely do things differently.

Once you have stood in a place, you will never see it - or its occupants - the same way again. You stop seeing things as problems and attitudes to be fixed or altered, in part because many times you learn that a "fix" does not cut it. 

It is not the simple thing you thought it was. You realize that there are things about it you will never understand, and things about you others will only think they understand.

You will find some of your greatest allies will be those who are in a similar predicament as you. You will find definitions shifting. What was once a no, or was once a limit, changes borders. You will find you think of things differently. You will speak of things differently. Your life, that you thought was predictable, is anything but. The act of living life will never be the same. 

Those who are willing to speak their truth could be a gift to the rest of us, but it is not one we often are willing to accept because we want something else instead. We would readily exchange it, if we could. What we do not realize is that those who say what they really mean are showing us the way to what we want, the way to being fully ourselves. But instead of embracing it, we push it - and ultimately ourselves - away.

Those with major discomforts in life likely would not want them if they could look away from them like you can. But they have no choice but to face them, and interact with them, despite the fact that you as an outsider so wisely thinks otherwise.

Most times the things we have a good opportunity to learn come from the things we do not want to interact with and the painful things we experience. Perhaps we could do it some other way, but then again, without the contrasts and conflicts how do we figure things out? Is it possible to know what you like if you don't know what you don't like? Is it possible to know what you know if you aren't faced with ways to use, and challenge, the knowledge?

What if part of the "problem" is that we label anything a problem to start with? What if part of a "fix" means stopping trying to fix those things that make us uncomfortable?

I can hear some thinking that discomfort compells us to act, and there are things we should fix. Don't I think my situation is one that requires fixing?

I think it might be more of an awareness thing than a fixing thing. If you fix something, there seems to be a feeling that inherently you know better than what is. You are above it, and seek to elevate it. With awareness, you go the level of what is going on and seek to understand it. As a result you may come out of it differently than the way you went in.

I sure have a lot of questions these days. The less things seem to work, the more likely you are to question them. Anita Moorjani (who wrote Dying to be Me) posted something earlier about <a href="https://m.facebook.com/notes/anita-moorjani/what-are-the-invisible-myths-that-inform-your-thinking-by-anita-moorjani/732569806788020/">"Invisible Myths" that shape how we are</a>, and it would seem to me to be a part of what determines how we think we should be in all aspects of our lives.

Maybe those who speak aloud the things others would rather have silenced are playing a "mythbuster" role of sorts. And while it may seem that people hold onto myths for a reason, perhaps we have a better reasons to disperse them.

I am sure there is some better way to end this...but all it is going to do is end. 

Later gator :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

"No One Talks About It"

Once in a while I search my name on Google. I am curious where I might wind up. Tonight I found a friend posted about my October trip on Soul Pancake. There were two comments. One was from a woman who had had cancer several times and said that the site was not a "fundraising site." The other was from "stillnotalittler" who said, "No one talks about it? It's the only disease that anyone ever talks about."

What the person did not get was that the thing no one ever talks about is what people living with cancer deal with. Yes. There is a lot of conversation around the topic of cancer, but it is more of a gloss over. It is about fundraising - for a cause. The most verbal about cancer are the organizations that often talk about helping those with cancer, but the funds often do not go to those in need directly.

There are many misconceptions about the "help" available to someone dealing with the illness. I cannot tell you how many times a new person shows up and points me to the same, useless sites/links/companies. So many think that for sure the American Cancer Society could help, right? So often calls to them wind up being referred to Cancer Support Foundation, here in Maryland. If anyone can help, they will. The way they are helping me is to be a non-profit clearing house for tax-deductible donations. Cindy Carter, who runs the organization, tells countless stories of needs that aren't understood, and therefore not addressed.

So many think Disability is an answer. Well. To start, you have to get it. I wasn't eligible to apply for it, until I had a recurrence. And I was denied once because they said they never received my paperwork. I have heard many stories of those who need to seek the aide of a lawyer, who proceeds to get 30% of what is gotten, and then is paid before the claimant by several weeks!

Even when you get it, it really isn't enough to live on, and they must know that because you are allowed to make up to $1000 a month without jeapordizing your payments. Even then, I imagine it will still be tight. In addition, one should be able to get food stamps, right? Well, yes. But they make you jump through hoops to get them, and the amount you get apparently is greatly diminished once Disability starts.

Most people who are dealing with cancer might not even look like it. As a result, others will expect that they can do whatever they need to do. They do not understand what a person dealing with cancer deals with from moment to moment because no one really wants to hear about it - and THAT is the thing "no one" talks about. There are biases and all kinds of issues around a diagnosis that most will never know or understand - unless they personally meet up with it one day.

Because I have been so open, I have had countless conversations with people who fall into 2 categories: those who have no clue about what the "reality" is and those who know the reality all too well, and welcome the opportunity to talk about it. There is a general, overall, feeling that it is not to be discussed openly or publicly. I have even had people tell me my Facebook profile is open in much the same way you would tell someone the fly on their pants was.

I sometimes wonder if people understand that I am doing more than complaining/begging. I sometimes wonder how much they truly understand what I am facing, Even many of those closest to me do not seem to understand - or want to. And if they can't/won't/don't, I wonder what chance I have with the world-at-large.

But the thing that keeps me going are the times that I am made aware of the impact I can have. Someone lets me know what my openness has meant to them. They let me know how they have been touched or affected in some way. There are some who even say how needed what I am doing is, before I ever get the chance to tell them that that is exactly what I think.

It is difficult, though. I am challenged regularly by the ignorance of others. I am challenged regularly to interact with the fears of others, instead of others themselves. The only chance I could have to live a "normal" life at this point would be to stop talking about cancer, and hope to get well because then we could all go back to pretending like cancer never happened. 

I really don't think it is possible, though. And even if those around me could get past it, and forget a fear of recurrence, I don't think I could. My life before cancer was dulled. I, like so many others, got up each day with a blissful ignorance of my mortality. There would always be another day, month, year. Planning for a future that *shhh don't tell anyone* may never come. If something didn't happen now, there was always "next time." I was caught up on the treadmill, in denial that I wasn't really getting anywhere. But, of course, I could never admit that. It would have been too devastating.

But I came to be devastated any way when cancer showed up. It is when I flew off the treadmill. It was when I got to see the illusion that I was living with. I did not know any better what to do in my life, but what I came to discover was that my life still felt a lot different when I was honest with myself. 

When I could see things as they truly were, I could value them a lot more than their fictional counterparts. When I could start saying what I really felt, and could be OK with who I truly was, I found the inner peace so many seek, and likely will never find - as long as they continue to live life in the guise of who someone thinks they should be - instead of, and with an acceptance of, who they truly are.

Now that cancer has entered the picture, my life has more life than it ever did. I also simultaneously have more and less patience than before. More, because I have a greater understanding of jphow good it feels to "roll" with the things that do not go as I want them to. Less because It is like a light got turned on, and yet so many around me are still functioning in the dark. When someone tells me "we'll do..." and it is something built in a "conventional" framework, I can't help but wonder if I will be around to do it. I do not have the built-in assumption that I will be. For me, "there's no time like the present" means more than words because it may be all I have.

The fact is, it may be all any of us have, but it is detail that many of us are all too willing to forget. cancer has the potential to take my life, but the experience of cancer has given me life in a way that I think very few things could. I think it also has the potential to awaken others - as long as they are willing to see past the barrage of distractions that life offers us, and the things that appear to have substance, but are just a mirage in the desert of life.

If we think we are talking about cancer, but aren't making any real progress, then it could be it is because we are talking "about" it. We talk "about" all kinds of things: The Olympics, the weather, what we ate last night, what we are doing next year, but there is nothing inherent in the act of talking that does anything. 

Maybe that is part of any perceived problem here. Talking about something that never changes seems pretty futile, doesn't it? What's the point? It is painful. It sucks. We don't seem to know how to handle it, what to do, or what to say, so let's just ignore it. 

Having said that, often action will begin as talk. In talking, you can learn what needs to be addressed, and how best to address it. And when you begin to transform words into actions, power comes to a place that once seemed powerless. We can't do anything about the things we do not understand, and we cannot understand the things we do not talk about and we cannot talk about the things we ignore. 

So...if we stop ignoring the things that make us uncomfortable and start to talk about them, we can begin to understand things in a way that we can begin to effect a change. And you just never know when that thing you may have been avoiding will show up one day with a full residency in your life. Wouldn't it be best to understand it before it happens? Maybe it never will, but at the very least, it might make you a better neighbor for the person who it does show up for.

In my messages it would seem that that is in part my goal. It sucked to be initiated into the cancer club. Everything I thought I knew about it was pretty much wrong, and there was so much I did not know. If I can save someone from the shock of that, I would like to. At the very least, maybe my speaking up will help those around others dealing with cancer be better neighbors.

A part of me wonders what the odds of that happening in regard to the conversation we have around cancer, but...you know, I really don't want to know. I guess in some ways there are still are still some potentially painful things I am not sure I want to know. But the skeptic in me would like nothing more than to be proven wrong. 

Anyone want to help make that happen? Let's talk.

Struggling - Better to Have Love and Lost?

I was talking to someone tonight about "A." I was saying that I think part of what I feel in relation to him/the situation is fear that he could be the last person I will ever love in the way I loved him. Her response? A chipper, "in this lifetime!"

I apparently was doing a good job of holding back the tears, as she must not have known how painful it was for me to acknowledge that fear. I promptly and calmly said, "that's not the same." She may have realized at that moment that maybe that wasn't the best thing to say, as she said something about how it might not have been the best answer to give in the form of a New Age catch all.

It made me pull in more. I didn't want to show how vulnerable and sad I was feeling - especially given the wealth of pain I was feeling. I was in dangerous, emotional territory. We ended our conversation shortly after, and I went on to do other things.

As I was cleaning the dishes just now, it caught up with me, and I was fighting to hold back the tears until I could be in private. If I was alone in the house, I might have just let the dam burst, but I am not.

As a result, I sit here silently sniffling so that the friend I live with doesn't hear me. I know many times he wouldn't know what to do with my feelings and emotions so I try not to express them while he is around. Occasionally, like the day I got the really horrible news back in September, they come out whether I want them to, or not.

I don't know what to do with this feeling, and my guess is no one else will know, either. If anything, I will be offered platitudes that will come up empty.

As I think about my life in terms of relationships, I am really sad. There have been some really beautiful things that have happened along the way, but they have been sandwiched in between some really great pain.

I remember how, when things sucked when I lived with someone, I wondered if I would ever be in love or have sex again. It seems in some ways rather silly to think that, but the fact is that I have yet to have any relationship that even came close to the nature of that one - in both good and bad ways. Maybe I somehow knew that I would never again have something similar.

At the same time, when I realize that I did come to care about others, and have other experiences, I have the slightest bit of hope that now could be like then, and that I will find my way to someone and something special.

I have always felt that it was possible to have an incredible relationship with someone. I don't think I am delusional about it, or that it is wishful thinking, or any number of unflattering things. And yet, it has not happened. Will I leave this lifetime never having had it, or will I finally be able to stand vindicated by finding that one person/relationship that I have felt is possible to have?

I get scared I will leave empty handed in that regard. I get scared that dealing with cancer is a barrier for so many reasons to finding someone who could sign up to be with someone in my predicament. It would not even be fair to "A" to go "there," even if he wanted to, even though a part of me very much misses it.

This stuff, coupled with anxiety about money and an upcoming visit to the oncologist, is really stretching me emotionally. I feel incredibly taxed, and yet I am trying to keep it together and keep going. There are times I feel good. Life feels good. I feel optimistic. I feel like I am going to make it.

Unfortunately, though, this isn't one of them.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Impression or Depression?

Impression or depression, or none of the above?

Well. I finally got out of bed. It took til nearly 3:00, but I got up. I have done a couple of things like eat, and make some coffee (to wash my hair with), sing in my head "the best part of waking up is Folger's in my cup," plant a coleus clipping, do some dishes, and am back to feeling lackadaisical.

I was thinking about how I have been doing. My appetite has changed. I have been difficulty getting to sleep, and then once I am there, I can't seem to wake up and get out of bed. I haven't done much of anything in almost any regard.

I found that the longer I was being treated with chemo and/or Avastin, the more impacted I was by it. I couldn't believe how great I felt on the road, once the Avastin wasn't so present in my body. Could it "just" be the Avastin that is making me feel this way?

Then there is the thought, too, that it could be depression. It sort of feels like depression. I am dealing with a lot, and am feeling at times overwhelmed and frustrated and a whole bunch of other not good stuff. A part of me struggles to also care about how I am feeling. It sort of feels like I could be "giving up." It sort of feels like, "what's the point?" But I am not sure it's that, either.

Add to this mix the fact that I have been doing energy work to help myself. At this point living life as fully as possible and working in any other realm that might have an impact on me are the only ways that I see potential for things getting better.

I had a pretty heavy duty session this week. In addition, I have been trying to remember to cut cords at night before I sleep. The first couple of days interesting things were happening. One of them was that I was going to the bathroom more. And, here's a warning...I am going to wander into the possible TMI range. In some ways it felt like I was letting stuff, more the sh*t, go. Saying stuff doesn't feel like it really conveys how it was and felt. Interestingly, I dropped a few pounds pretty quickly.

In the back of my mind is the fact that they're always asking me about how those types of things are working in my body. They want to know about changes, as it could be a sign of something else changing - but not necessarily in a good way. But it doesn't feel like it would be that. It actually feels like it would be the opposite of that. It feels like it is likely a good thing.

I have been processing some significant stuff, and there is still more to go. I still have things I need to say and get out. It has been difficult to hang on to them, but it has been difficult to know how to let them go. Sometimes it is so hard to know how to say something to someone else about how you are experiencing life in relation to them. The longer it goes, the more shoulds that seem to be involved.

Sometimes it is just hard to have to explain myself. I can't just say I feel something and leave it at that. I have to explain what is behind it. And that is wearing. I don't always even know, and there are times I don't even care. I have too much else going on and drawing my attention. It is like things like this force me to be in something I don't want to be. On some level I think it could be a good thing, and on another level I am not so sure.

What I am sure of, though, is that I haven't had any real clarity about any of it, other than to recognize that it needs to be dealt with in some way. I figure that when the time is right I will hopefully either discharge it easily or find a way to communicate it to the parties that I need to communicate with.

A part of me is tired. Tired of not being good enough. Tired of doing things wrong. Tired of being seen in ways that discredit who I am. Tired of feeling badly for who I am because I haven't lived up to what someone else thought I should have lived up to. Tired of doubting and questioning myself.

LOL. I just snickered. "Tired."

And who just said she can't seem to get out of bed?

I called this blog "Impression or Depression" because, as an alternative to depression, it could just be that life, and the work and release that I am doing, is leaving an impression on me, and it is having me re-wire myself. It is helping me to be imprinted with a different way of speaking and doing things and a different way of seeing myself. That is not usually a light-weight job.

It just kinda sucks because at this point in my treatment, I usually have more energy to do the things I need to do. Next week I get treated again, and feel like I got not much of anything done. I don't suppose that is a "fair" statement, as I have been doing other things. I could have been unpacking instead. But the other things were feeding my soul, so I am going to have to give myself permission to believe it is a good thing.

Last night I also stayed up for a bit after I found out that Amtrak is going to start a new program that involves writers (a writer's residency). Writers will be given free rides on Amtrak. In exchange, Amtrak will ask them to do some tweeting and social media sharing.

I saw that and got ultra excited. Could it be my next tour? Could I possibly write my book on the train? Driving is wonderful, but I can't write while I drive, and it takes a lot out of me. I told them I thought we could be a great match. We could help each other, and help others. I told them about my previous trip, and how I thought it could be absolutely great.

I can only hope they will see it as I do.

So I sat there, as tired as I was, and I wrote them about me. I think the news of their plan might have only been hours old. I wanted to jump on it. In the time that I was writing, I got lost in my thoughts, and away from how I had been feeling. It was such a great feeling I had. It is one I so much want more of.

I have been really struggling lately. It is hard when a part of you thinks that you shouldn't been here. I have spent so much of my life trying to be invisible, or the "good girl," perhaps in some way for it to be OK for me to be here. After all, if you're not wanted, maybe that could change if you're good, and people like you.

For as much as I may seem to be seamless in my expression, it hasn't always been that way. I was getting better before diagnosis, but the dam started to really leak in early 2013, and I think broke at the end of it.

What fascinates me is that being invisible and silently good didn't seem to help me, but neither does trying to be visible and verbal. In some way they seem to net a similar result.

I am really grateful to those who not only believe me to be a good person, but tell me that I am from their hearts. I think they get that I am struggling. For so long there has been an undercurrent that something is wrong with me. I have known deep down that that is not the case, but it hasn't been enough to prevent how I ultimately have felt.

I may not have been perfect over the years, and there are most assuredly times I haven't made the best choices or said the right things, but at the core of who I am is someone who has a love of others and is quite sensitive. Most who know me as sensitive have often seen that to be a bad thing. I have two nieces who have been similarly labelled. I sometimes feel badly for them that what others see in them and in me is not seen as a good - or flattering - similarity.

I have struggled to find a way to be me in a world in which the me I am has never really fit. Why could I never fit? It never really occurred to me that not fitting was a good thing, in part, because of what the majority around me believed. How could they all be wrong, and yet it never really felt like they were right.

I just want to go back to bed. *Sigh*

All Aboard?

It is 1 minute away from 1:30 in the afternoon. I woke up a while ago, but have yet to make it out of bed. Why the "play by play?" I think many people have no idea how difficult it is for me at times. Appearances can be deceiving in the bit that is seen/experienced online. 

Much of what you actually see is done from bed. But I do not feel like I always need to be announcing that fact. And the thing is, I am not the only one who goes through this type of thing. There are many who likely seem a lot finer than they are. There are many who know "you" have no clue what they are dealing with, and that you would prefer to keep it that way. There are many who have heard the the things that can fix them, or why or how they created their own situation, enough times, it just makes preservation sense to stay quiet. 

There are many who have said and done everything they can think of, even the once unthinkable, but still find themselves in a place once unimaginable. There are many who are just trying to survive who are judged by those "fortunate" enough not to have a clue of what the other person is experiencing. 

There are many who now stand in a place that no one plans to stand in, and yet countless people once "fortunate" have their world transform and they join those they once judged, and instead of being one with all of the answers, they become one with the misunderstood. 

At first, they are silent. Embarrassed. Next. Incredulous. How can you not see? Understand? Unable to make it on their own, they have to reach out. Help? Please? As if a whisper. Help? Please understand. More insistent. Desperate. Help. I need help. Why is it it seems you can't hear me, or ignore me? I don't want to do this. Really I don't. But I need help. Help. Please. As if a whimper. 

This is not something that happens in isolation. It happens while living within a context no one wants to own. It happens while doing one's best in a context that now finds them deficient, lacking. We can never know what another deals with in its exact form, but at the core - our humanity knows. 

We know what it is like to be judged. We know how it feels to be found lacking. We know what it feels like to be ignored, what it feels like when no one wants to play with us. We know when we are being someone we are not, and remaining silent - just so we can hope to fit in. We know the discomfort of the game of pretend. 

We know how uncomfortable it is to have to hide who we are, and how much relief we can feel when we can just be ourselves without judgment or cost. We can relate to those who seem to be unrelatable. 

I hear in my head, "but why would anyone want to?" And, that my friends, is why we are so disjointed. So separate. So upset. So dysfunctional. That is, at least, in part, why we are having the issues we are.

I suspect that the more we could relate to others, the more we would assist them in their time of need, the less we would have to fear, the less that would be misunderstood.  Instead of running from something uncomfortable which only makes it a bigger and worse problem, an "Us v Them" problem, we would not have much to look at any more, because it would be handled in a way that lovingly understands the people and world in which we live, instead of fearing and condemning them. It would not stand out as much. 

But the thing is we can't get anywhere near there when we run away in fear. The only way to get there is to dance with the discomfort. I think "there" is worth getting to. The problem is we are too focused on where we think "there" is, and we stop short. We stop too soon. 

In some cases, it is like getting off the train a few stops too soon, and in others, we are too afraid to even board. I think we are becoming a world in which fewer people are willing to board the train. It does become a lot easier to board, though, when there is a fire behind you - when you feel you have no choice. 

It is times like those that have shown me that the other side exists - that there is not only more, but an incredible more. It is why I can say what I do. As terrifying as the train may be, the fire is even worse. At times I have been grateful for the fire. In fleeing, I got to run toward something I would have otherwise missed. 

What if running away from our fears only brings us bigger ones to face? What if facing our fears brings us to the best parts of life? I certainly think there could be some validity to that idea given some of the incredible things that have happened when I not only willingly boarded the train, but stayed on when things got rough.

All aboard?

Friday, February 21, 2014

I am Hurting

I am hurting, and I am thinking (hoping) it is a good thing. I am thinking it is a way of telling me that there is pain that hasn't been dealt with, or pain that needs to be dealt with. The easy way of dealing with it would be to not deal with it. I could walk away from the source of the pain. But the thing is, it won't help. It would, in some way, seem easier, but it wouldn't necessarily be better.

"A" and I have spoken a few times now. It has been challenging and confusing. I sometimes think I have a handle on things, but then there are other times, not so much. Waters that I am wading in are often murky. Most times intimate relationships end, they really end. I was telling him tonight that it would have been a lot easier if I just called him all kinds of names and never wanted anything to ever do with him again.

The thing is that I have done what I am attempting to do before. There have been others in my life that I have cared deeply for, but had to choose what was the most important thing. If it was important for me to have that person in my life in some way, then I had to find a way to work through the range of emotions that followed - especially in times that the choice not to go a certain direction wasn't mine.

So much of societal conditioning says that the end should be the end. It also says so many other things that are not in any way conducive for an on-going dynamic of any kind.

In addition, when we struggle we are often trained to go a direction that takes us away from the struggle - and not through it. Most people - if I was willing to talk to them about this - would likely encourage me not to talk to him. But I have been pulling in in regard to it, and have only discussed it with one person who has been supportive of me, and even supportive of the struggle. After all, there is something potentially wonderful to be gained in the process.

I learned a long time ago that you can love someone madly, deeply and completely but that it doesn't have to "look" a certain way. You can love someone that way and never even see or talk to them. You can love them that way and not be in a "relationship."

In learning that, I have had some incredible gifts in my life. I was telling "A" that things were pretty wonderful until they weren't - that they were booby trapped. I got lulled into something, only to get bitten by the trap. We also talked about how I felt he resented being there for me toward the end because he was doing something he really didn't want to do, and he took it out on me. I could feel it, although at the time I didn't know exactly what was going on, or why.

I feel like talking to him now is an incredible gift. It allows me to say how I feel and felt about things, and he has grown to the point that he can hear the things I say. At the point that he told me he stuck around because of my diagnosis I told him I hated him. That was all he heard even though I also said that the reason I hated him was because I loved him as much as I did. You can't hate something you don't care about. But he didn't hear any of that - until today.

The fact that we are talking is helping me to not only express myself, but he is helping me feel validated after doing so much to invalidate my feelings previously. He really started to make me start questioning myself more. There is nothing worse than feeling something but being told over and over that what you feel isn't accurate. Do you believe your feelings, or do you believe the person? In my case, I wanted more to believe the person.

I know "A" feels badly about things, and as much as much of the situation that has occurred sucks, I truly feel like if he learned something throughout this, it is a good thing. I feel the same way about the GI doctor who was so freaking arrogant with me. I never spoke with him again after he called me back with his personal cell phone number after telling me about my 10cm tumor.

If he gave me that number, you know he had to be feeling pretty damn lousy. I could even hear it in his voice on the first call. He knew he screwed up. But, more than that, I could tell he felt badly. I have hoped more than once that he learned something from what happened, too. In that way, he can take it on to his practice in regard to other patients. Odds are good he will probably not see another case of ovarian cancer - so many never even see one - but I can only hope that he learned something from the way that he was with me.

If I had just walked away like he told me to, there is a good chance I would probably not be here now, and I suspect he knows that.

We learn from the things in life we interact with. Some we choose, and others seem to be thrust upon us. As much as I don't like the way I feel with "A," I have been here before, and it gives me some level of confidence that I can find my way. How I ever did it the first time, I will never know, but what an incredible gift that has been many times over.

We all have our sucky moments in life. We may not be able to find our way through to the other side of all of them. Had I died late last year, "A" and I would never have had this opportunity. I am grateful that we were able to get here. I don't know where we go next, but I am grateful for having the ability to choose the path that allows me to remember the person I fell in love with, even if we're not going "there."

I appreciate what life has offered me in Love Lessons. They have been profoundly incredible, and incredibly painful. Provided I get to stick around for a while, I truly, deeply hope that I will find an experience of love that doesn't get punctuated by such incredible pain. Each time has been harder than the last, and cut so much more deeply.

A note to any Powers there might be: Can we please just consider this a lesson learned, and move on? I would be most grateful. As a secondary note, can we move on to the type of relationship I always knew I could have? The kind that so many think is illusive. You know the one. I would love nothing more than to be right about what I believe is possible. Well. Actually. More than that, I would just love the opportunity to love and be loved in a healthy and sane and beneficial and sweet and supportive way within the context of a relationship with a man. Some think I should be specific to get what I want. Well. I know you know what I want. We've talked about it enough over the years. And I thought you had given it to me. And I am thankful for what it was as long as it lasted. But...next time, please?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

View this to Find Out What is Going On (Video)

Please understand it is very difficult to have to repeat myself over and over - especially with news that I am not thrilled about. I made this video to speak for me. It is long because it describes not only where I am, but where I have been. At least compared to 125+ videos and 1000+ blog entries, it is Cliff Notes. :)

Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Help on the way? (*Fingers Crossed*)

Today I called Social Security. At least my paperwork is being processed. Thank goodness for miracles. :) I knew what would happen if I am denied, but I did not know what would happen if they approved. I found out a few things:

1. It will take 30 working days to hear from them. Basically 6 weeks, if there are no Federal holidays. That means I will not hear anything til mid-March-ish.

2. Provided they approve me, it will take another 6 weeks to get any back money, so that means the end of April.

3. If a lawyer was involved (and at the moment there is not), get this, s/he would receive their payment before I would!!! I think that is horrendous. I know the lawyer works for it, but the person filing likely needs it a lot quicker than the lawyer does. That just seems crazy to me.

Best case, I will be on my way in about a month. But I still need to make it til then. Worst case, I do not even want to think about.

PS People are trying to be helpful by telling me how difficult it is to get approved. I have heard the stories. I have already had some of my own hiccups. I hear they are a bit more compassionate when it comes to cancer, and that a recurrence of ovarian cancer is likely to go through. Whether it does or doesn't, at this point all I can do is wait and hope, and keep doing what I am doing. In some ways I rather not share, but I do so you, as a potential person who can help, know what is going on. I seek to be as transparent as possible. I already know how much it will be per month, and it will not be enough - but at least it will be something. All I can do is take one step at a time. Please, no Disability  stories - unless they are good ones. Things are stressful enough. And, if you happen to be one of the ones who already shared, thank you for caring. Thank you, too, as it told me what else I needed to say/share to take care of myself.

Good night.

What if...?

Are you familiar with Anita Moorjani? She wrote the book Dying to be Me. I am more enthusiastic about her and her book and message than I have been about anyone in a long time.


Because sooooo much of what she says resonates for me, in part, because there are things she has said that I have also said. I could have, at times, have thought I was reading my own stuff as I read what she wrote and heard her speak.

Having said that, there are some other things that haven't occurred to me that I find myself sharing because they are so powerful. One of them has to do with one's purpose. She says that she believes that our purpose is to be the best "me" we can be.

If you think about it, it makes sense. What is the point of having so many of us here if we're all supposed to be carbon copies of each other? We try so hard on the surface to be who the "world" tells us we should be, and the result has us forfeiting ourselves in whole or in some part.

There are so many facets to life, why do we feel like we need to ignore some, or put them aside? How can we truly have a complete experience in this playground of life if we are feeling compelled to live by someone else's perceptions, which were really, in some way, based on their discomforts?

If who you are and what you believe really fits you, then there is no doubt you should be that way. IF it really does. Is it really "yours" or is it someone else's? And if it goes for you, then it has to go for others, too.

We have such a double standard at times. If we think something is OK, or not, we figure everyone else must think the same way, too, and if they don't, and (especially if it makes us uncomfortable) they should.


We would never want someone to come along and do that to us. Standing up to be who you truly are is scary and uncomfortable only because you were taught that you weren't supposed to be that way. It is, however, the most natural way to be. You will ruffle feathers, and a whole lot more, and it likely WILL suck, but the peace that you gain within can make a big difference. You may not even realize how much energy you spend on what other people think. It is a waste of the precious life you are intended to be living.

There are better ways to spend that time, and you will be amazed at how certain concerns you had just disappear. I suspect many of our issues come from our discomfort in truly embracing and loving who we are.

Things We Live For

I recently got a call from someone about hypnosis. The person is already working with a hypnotist, but was looking for a recording to amplify the changes they wanted to make.

As we spoke, I was pretty much talking them out of getting one. I was explaining things about how our mind and how hypnosis works, and why it might not be the most effective choice - if effective at all.

Sometimes people say hypnosis doesn't work. Many times the reason for that is that the effect is addressed, but not the factors that originated those effects. Find the core, and it is like finding the key that unlocks everything.

It can be like magic. There are times that the cause of something was thought nothing of in the mind when it first happened. It was something that "just" happened, and it became am undifferentiated part of the landscape of the individual.

In speaking with the person on the phone, I was doing the opposite of a sales pitch. I wasn't trying to sell them, and I was giving everything away.

It is not that I did not value myself or my work - as some would readily suggest. It was that I valued and loved this person enough to share what felt right to share - without putting conditions or a dollar value on it.

Ironically, perhaps, I wrote something yesterday asking for financial help. I am down to my last $2000 in the bank. I needed the sale. I needed the money.

But it turned out that I needed to be who I am even more. I have said time and again that I am willing and able to give of myself, and that is in great part my intention for a trip.

In addition, I have found that there are times people help me, and I help others. And there are times I help others who help others still. It is part of the beauty of this thing we call life.

While what happened yesterday may not be tangible in dollars and cents, I just smile and shake my head. There is so much about life that just doesn't fit the expected parameters.

In speaking with the person, I was not only "pushing" them away from what they called initially for. I was also giving them something they didn't even know they could get. I started to talk about dealing with cancer and my blog.

Can you imagine? Who freaking does that? Well. Me. Apparently.

I talked about it because my story related to why the person was calling - even though the reason had nothing to do with cancer or illness. It had to do with them being able to love and appreciate - and be - themselves.

I would be willing to bet that is the desire of most anyone, and where many of our issues stem from. When we love and accept ourselves, it can change the landscape of our life - in a big, beautiful way. It may upset those around us, but what it offers internally, and in regard to ourselves, has so much value, it could not be more worth it.

There were times yesterday I had no idea what I was going to say. I just went with what came out. At the end, I even said something about how I felt about the person intuitively.

It wasn't sought. It wasn't asked for. But it felt right, and seemed to be appreciated. I am certain that phone call was nothing like the person thought it should be, and what they were calling, and willing, to pay for. But it also seems like a good thing, not only for them, but for me, too.

There are times I really question my value in the world because so many are silent or ignore me these days because they cannot see past the cancer. As a result, the opportunities I get to be the person I know I am is when I take someone by surprise and give them what they didn't even know they were looking for.

Strangers often seem more receptive to me than those I know. Those who "know" me likely know who they think I am, while with strangers I get to be more of who I indeed am. They don't get a chance to put up their defenses. They are taken off guard.

Part of my dilemma is that who and what I am does not come neatly packaged. Most people have come to believe they are faulty and need to be fixed, and that there are others (who often charge a lot of money) who will tell them exactly what is wrong and what they need. All kinds of bullet points. After all, you need to know what you are buying, right?

Well. Maybe not.

Maybe we believe a lot of things that sounded good at one time it another, but really are only superficial fixes and distractions.

If i had tried to sell myself yesterday, I likely would have not only failed to make money, I would have failed that person and myself. Instead I gave them a gift that came from me being who I truly am, and not a packaged good. They got better than what they came for.

In the process, I got to be me.

In the end, I was unattached to an outcome. If they think I can help, they have my number, and perhaps I can make some money. If not, that is OK, too. Maybe it was exactly as it needed to be, and all it needed to be.

When I woke up this morning, there were a few donations that were not there last night. Are the two things related? I haven't a clue. But I am grateful for those who do see value in me enough to support me as I try to find my way through this maze.

Sometimes the belief of others is all we got to get us by. It is not that we should not have our own, but there are just times it is hard to come by. Sometimes we only find it by standing vulnerably out on a limb and doing the very thing no one - including ourselves - thinks we should do.

It often means doing things without a net. And it is scary as hell. But the thing is, when we are truly who we are meant to be we connect in a very profound way.

When that happens, time stands still. We are at peace. And nothing matters other than our mutual heartbeat. Nothing is more amazing. And even though there are times money is involved, it has more value than anything ever could with a price tag.

Maybe it is no wonder we aren't there more, we are all too busy shopping for the best deals for the things we have been told we need to fix those things about us we are told are faulty.

Moments like I described above exist outside of anything we think we know. They happen when we don't expect them, and they certainly cannot be planned for.

And...another thing...

I think they are most likely the ones we live for.



I write about so many things. I write about so many facets of myself. I write about many taboo-ish types of things. And I have "hinted" at the sensual aspects of myself by some of the pictures I have posted.

Tonight I decided to swim a little more deeply into the waters. I took this picture, and it had me wondering what, if anything, to do with it. My hunch is that it will be too much for some, but for others I suspect it will hit a lovely note.

We human beings are so different, and yet we have facets that are very much the same. We just express them differently.

Last night I watched The Queen. When Lady Diana died, Queen Elizabeth, at least according to the movie, felt that the way that Englishmen mourned was in private. She was surprised to discover that it seemed that there had been a shift when she apparently wasn't looking. Suddenly people were demanding her to be a way she had never before been.

She could have reacted any number of ways, but she reacted the only way she knew. It seemed her mother encouraged the way she acted as well. It was the way it had been, so it was the way it should be.

I find discussions about sexuality and sensuality are at times difficult. At other times, they are met with intrigue and inquiry and excitement. It would seem natural as human beings to be sexual and sensual, and yet in an open forum, it suddenly (for many) often becomes something incredibly taboo.

I see nothing wrong with the picture above. It covers all the pieces people deem pertinent, and yet the sensuality has it bend in a way that could be quite uncomfortable for some. I think there is something warm and wonderful and inviting about the sensual, as it is the stimulation of what we sense. It is the warmth and softness we feel. It is the whisper or bird's song we appreciate. It is the sweetness of taste of chocolate or of fresh baked bread. It is the beauty of the flower or in the sparkle of someone's eyes. It is in the inhalation of the scents that we find of home or of pleasure.

It is in our sensuality that we sense life. It awakens us to the things around us and within us. It gets all distorted when it gets tied to sexuality, especially when someone has a discomfort around it in some way. Is the discomfort justified? It is an interesting question. Is the discomfort of any conversation "justified?' It would seem to depend on who you talk to.

Not only is there discomfort, but discomfort often breeds a sense that something is wrong. It has a way of telling us that we shouldn't be a way many of us would find naturally occurring, if it were not for learning otherwise somewhere along the way.

There are so many pieces of this experience I am having with cancer that cross over into other aspects of life. It is really amazing the more I look at the various parts. At the core of many pieces of life is an inherent discomfort one has for a topic that is expected from others as well. There are, after all, only certain ways to act in an acceptable manner. A problem arises when what is acceptable publicly is at odds with what is more likely occurring behind closed doors. It seems ironic that some of the most verbal opponents of things get caught with their hand in the cookie jar - caught in the very indulgence they are speaking against.

Maybe it is time we found a way to a compromise. Has anyone ever considered that we might have issues because we are trying to push things down and away? Ever notice when you tell someone they can't have something? They want it even more, don't they?

As I am writing, I am reminded of an article that I wrote several years ago called Accepting and Embracing Your Sexual Self. I should post it here at some point, but for now I will just link to it elsewhere on the web, if you are interested in reviewing it. Be forewarned, though, I speak quite openly and frankly.

I am not sure how I can talk about myself fully without fully embracing this aspect of myself in the conversation. There will likely be more to come. Cue the dramatic music? "Dum. Dum. Dum." Personally I would prefer something a bit more sensual, if you don't mind.

And if you do mind, I am not quite sure what to say to you about it. I respect that maybe you would appreciate me not being so open or frank about things. In the same way I respect that people think I am too open and too frank about other things - like, say - cancer. But the thing is, I feel it is important to write about the things I do and to share.

I can't - or won't - make anyone read anything that I write. If it gets too uncomfortable for you, I'll never know if you excuse yourself to more familiar territory. And, even if I did know, good for you. We should all respect ourselves enough to know what and who we should expose ourselves to, and stay away from the rest.

Hm. No pun was intended there. But it is an interesting one none-the-less. And I think a great note to end on.

Til next time.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gluten Free Chocolate Bread (Recipe)

I made a new recipe yesterday. I seem to be wanting to cook / bake up a storm lately. It is a challenge. Sometimes the choice is to stay in bed or do that.

Sometimes staying in bed wins, depending on how much of an effort and mess the recipe will require. The good thing is when I make something that isn't going to be eaten completely as soon as it is finished cooking.

I wonder how many people realize what goes into making a meal, given how many packaged goods there are. Boiling water for those who utilize those goods is likely the extent of their cooking abilities.

For a long time I have appreciated making things from scratch. I have no idea why, but I have. One year I made Thanksgiving dinner. Everything but the stuffing was from scratch. I had to have Stove Top, as it was a piece of my childhood holidays. At some point I really must make some from scratch, maybe even from my homemade sourdough bread. Hmmm. Anyone have a good recipe to share?

I suppose I could be doing other things, but for some reason, this is feeling like the right thing to do - for now, at least. There was another time in my life I spent a great deal of time in the kitchen and I think it was, among other things, an escape and a comfort for me. Perhaps it is a bit of both now, too.

The bread I made was quite sense/thick. I imagine if it wasn't gluten free, and had more sugar and/or other amendments, it would come out quite differently. But it is, after all, a bread and not a cake. Despite that fact, I decided to "ice" the top with some melted chocolate chips.

Perhaps my share will inspire you to make your own spectacular version.

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c plain Greek Yogurt
1 3/4 c gluten free flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c organic chocolate chips/pieces

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and yogurt. Beat til smooth and creamy. Add dry ingredients, til combined, then add chocolate chips. Place in well greased loaf pan. Bake 55 minutes at 350 (use toothpick test). Let rest in bread pan for 20-30 minutes before removing. If you like, pour some chocolate chips on top, and spread like icing as they melt. When it cools, the chocolate will be solid.

Last, but not least, enjoy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Getting to the "Other Side"

More times than not I have been told that I don't handle things very well. So many people think that once things sour with a relationship, you should call it a day. Many never get past the bitterness of the end. Most don't want to. Often there is a lot of pain, especially when the end is not one of your choosing.

Things sucked when things came to an end with the guy I call "A." There have been a few blog entries about him since the end of what we had was called. I suspect there aren't too many that think that kindly of him and how things came to pass.

The two biggest issues I had with things were my request that he let me know if he decided he did not want to be in a relationship with me. I asked him not to stick around because of my diagnosis. This request he ignored. The second was how he choose to act at the "final" curtain. He couldn't handle my anger (even though he did feel me justified) so he just shut down completely. We went from talking most days to not talking at all. He totally pulled the rug out from under me.

Throughout it I did my best to handle how I felt. I cried. I wrote. I felt things. I didn't know how best to be, but I was just however I felt I needed to be. I wrote him more than once so that I could express how I felt. He shut that down after a time, too, but at least I got out what I needed to say. I felt like I expressed what I needed to. I felt complete. Not happy, but complete.

I couldn't change how he felt or what he felt, and I couldn't understand what the hell happened, but I didn't need to. I needed to find a way to cope with what was suddenly my reality. I had to find a way to stand without my crutch.

More than once I wondered when we were still connected how I would be if he walked. I had come to depend on him so much. He gave me such great comfort by just being who he was. It wasn't so much what we talked about, as much as it was the feeling of support and comfort I felt knowing that he was there, in my corner, and I knew I could depend on him. He had been amazing, all throughout my experience of chemo, and as I got my port. I had come to love him more because even though I told him to go if he had to, he didn't seem to be budging. How lucky could I be?

I think I knew the end was coming. Things hadn't felt right for a while. When I indirectly questioned things, he was adept at side stepping my concerns in a way that I felt I could just keep going as if everything was OK.

There were times after the bottom fell out that I wondered if he ever really cared about me. Was it all just a facade? Was I delusional? I suspect it was my way of coping. After all, logically it would seem that if he truly cared about me he certainly wouldn't have just picked up and walked away so coldly. Right?

Over the past year we had a few messages back and forth. Nothing was ever all that significant. I felt a bit like I was walking on hot coals. After all, he had been pretty much on the attack back then. I didn't think I was doing anything like he seemed to think I was, but I didn't want to do anything that could be misconstrued. It wasn't worth the potential aggravation. I had enough I was dealing with.

On occasion I wondered if we could ever find a way to be more than just a token message, or two, friendly. I have done it with others I have been interested in so I knew I could do it with him. It was what I had been striving for when I wrote him what I did when things had fallen apart. Apparently, though, my words fell on deaf ears.

The fact was I knew I had to just leave things be. But I also knew that I had to say things to him sometimes if they showed up to say. Once in a while I would share something with him because I felt nudged to do so. There were times I was like, "Really?" I felt kind of stupid, actually. Odds are any outsiders trying to help me would have likely have told me to leave things alone. He wasn't initiating anything so that likely meant he wasn't interested. So I never told anyone what I was doing. I just did it.

Several key events in my life passed, silently and without anything from him. Most would likely think it speaks volumes. I just observed, and kept doing what I had been doing. If something felt like it should be said/shared, I did it. Once in a while I would hear something from him, asking how I was doing. But for the most part he was pretty silent and/or reactive to me/my messages.

The fact was I was also a bit scared to talk to him live again. The last time we did that was horrible. He was horrible. The energy between us was horrible. He was on the offense, possibly because he felt defensive (although that is really a guess on my part). I tried not to cry as we spoke, and act like I was OK, even though I was anything but. I was trying to keep my cool. I did not want to feed any fire that he seemed to have going.

It was horrible. I know. I already said that. But it was. It left me feeling like sh*t. If there was any chance I was going to get more of "that" I wanted no part of it, and I wasn't going to give him anything that could be misconstrued, if I could help it. At the same time, I wrote things I hated to write. Why did I have to tell him some of the things I did? I could so hear the voices in my head of those who would have told me how stupid I was, if I gave them a chance. Even though they weren't present, they still managed to make me question myself.

But just like so many other things in my life, I have learned to listen to my inner voice and nudgings. I have learned to do what feels like something that should be done, even when it makes no damn sense logically.

In what happened, there was some good that occurred. I felt like what I went through and shared could likely help someone who is either in his, or my, shoes at some point. Even though he may have been around for the "wrong" reasons, he was an incredible support for me while he was around. I am grateful for it when I am not at odds with the part of me that wants me to believe I was stupid for believing what I did.

Part of this experience of life has a lot to do with "letting go." So many things I have had to let go of over the years. So many things and so many people. It has never stopped sucking. What has changed over time, though, is how I respond to it. There are things I don't want to let go of, and I wouldn't by choice, but just because I don't want to, doesn't mean I won't have to.

As long as I am in touch with the part of the situation that is about LOVE, I know I will somehow manage to do the right thing. When I love someone I want nothing more than for them to be happy, and if they're not going to be happy with me then I can't make it happen. If somehow things continued, it would make both of us miserable.

I would be less than honest if I didn't add to this conversation the part about my mortality. I wonder sometimes how much time I do have left. Is it "fair" for me to want to be with someone if I can't stick around for a while? On some weird level, it makes letting go that much easier. But it is still not "easy."

I keep thinking I need to let more things go. I will leave everything behind when "the" time comes, and at that point there will be no choice. It seems more powerful to make the choice while I am still here.

I am very grateful for all that my situation with "A" has taught me, even though I am still a bit raw around the edges. We spoke at length recently, and it was amazing. My friend was back. The bitter, harsh shield of before was gone. As we spoke, pain came to the surface, and I was crying. But I was grateful for the tears. It felt like a release. It felt like there was stuff that needed to go, and the conversation was giving me the opportunity to allow them to come out and leave. I had no idea how much pain had been stored away in my attempt to cope.

I share all of this as a way of saying that despite how we want things to be, and in spite of the way some think things "should" be, life has a way of twisting and turning in the ways that it wants to, and if we let it, it can bring us through the pain and to places of great appreciation and understanding. It is a package deal, though.

I would not have gained as much as I have if it had not been for the pain I have experienced. Some people believe that those in our lives play the roles they do so that we gain what we are meant to gain. Sometimes those people get to be quite the villain in the process.

We get to choose how we will be after the blow. It seems to me that there is magic to be had in being able to go with the flow and where it takes us. That often likely means doing the things that we and others would likely ridicule and judge.

I had told "A" I hated him when the wheels fell off. I might have said other things, too, but I don't really remember now. I know I was in a form of shock at the time. I was devastated.

When we spoke recently, I told him exactly how I felt about what he had done. I didn't hold back. To his credit, he has come to a place of understanding regarding his actions that allows him to hear me without being defensive or offensive in his defense. He has taken responsibility for his actions, even though I am not sure he fully understands what happened, either.

I may not have liked how things were, but in the process of coping with him and his actions and words I tried my best to look within and deal with myself and where *I* went in relation to everything. It was the only person I had any ability to affect. It was the only person I could even remotely attempt to understand or control. In some way that gave me some sense of peace.

We spoke again today, and I thanked him for allowing me to have my friend back. He has essentially dropped the wall that prevented us from finding the friendship plane after what happened just over a year ago. It is really all I could have asked for/hoped for if he ever decided to walk away from the idea of a relationship. It only took a year+ for us to get here. But the fact is that we have found our way to the beginning, and even though I have some mixed feelings, I am incredibly grateful for where we are.

I really missed my friend.