I suppose I should be grateful. Some never survive even half as long. I am sure there are some who will read this, and think just that.
It is not that I am ungrateful. There is so much that has happened in the last two years that was unimaginable a short 2 years plus one day ago.
But with the "good" has come heartache unlike any other. As much pain, disappointment, confusion that I have felt over my life, it pales in comparison to knowing about my mortality.
I want the blissful ignorance of not knowing back. The problem is it is gone, and can never return.
Yesterday I saw something about "when life gives you cancer." I thought about it, and switched the words around - "when cancer gives you life."
The thing is, though, that life is so many things. It is pain and sadness joy and love. It is anticipation, and it is disappointment. It is desire and it is heartbreak.
Living and experiencing and feeling life isn't just about the good stuff. It is about all stuff.
Some of my best life experiences have come from times the ending wasn't only uncertain, but if there was any certainty, it was certain for disappointment.
I willingly walked in the path. I did not want to. I did not want to experience the pain. But to refuse the potential pain would be to refuse the moments of bliss. There was no way to have one without the other.
My head gets this. It all makes some sort of sense. It sounds good, too, doesn't it?
Despite knowing these things, and despite being grateful for all of it, and especially grateful for the good, there are times my heart aches and my heart breaks.
It breaks in my desperation to have something in my life that at least appears permanent, something that is an enduring support. Something that has the illusion of certainty.
We all know nothing is for sure. We all know there is nothing definite. We just walk around with a veil on. We see life through a distortion. We act as though that distortion is real, and yet it is no more real than anything else.
A part of me would love to be that ignorant again. A part of me is grateful for the clarity. But there is a problem, and it seems rather large and looming. How do I take the learning and the realizations that come with it and live in the world without the comfort of the delusions?
Much of my life has sucked. I look back and it makes me really sad, especially when I wonder if I will ever be able to have things I have thought I could have. I get especially sad feeling like I can't plan my life, and that I am mainly just existing now.
It is no life.
I get really jealous when people talk about their plans for the future. When they talk about finding someone to spend their life with.
They still have the veil in place. They can do that. They are blissfully ignorant of the impact of the next moment or of tomorrow because they can be. Nothing has jarred them out of it, and if they are lucky - nothing ever will.
Some might say I live more fully now, and at times I might even be one of the some. There is an urgency unlike any other that comes at a time like this. When you can't depend on a tomorrow you do all you can in today.
It is a form of currency with a greater value in the moment than comes with time. And yet we have been trained to believe that value lives in a never-ending number of tomorrows.
We make plans with those we believe will be in our life at some future point, and any potential uncertainty is just pushed aside - if even considered at all.
What is even harder still about the veil lift is interacting with those who still have theirs. In some ways I am an express train, while others are leisurely making their choices. In other ways, I am the one paying much more attention in the moment, while others are going through life looking at it through the blur out the window, not realizing what they are missing.
Either way, though, we are in very different places, with very different perspectives and resulting realities. We might be on the same track, but more often than not, it is a different train. We only connect - if we do - because we have some illusion of a shared experience.
I am sitting here, wanting to cry, wanting to be numb. I have cried so much in the last week. The terror I feel on every level is tangibly present. Every disappointment of my life is in my face, with the potential reality that my end could be closer than I would like it to be.
I struggle to be at peace within the beauty that shows up in the moment with everything else lurking in the background.
I feel angry about what is - even the good stuff. It is like a Grand Tease. See what you can't have? It just taunts. It gives me a taste. It takes me down a path. It gives, and then it steals it away.
I try my best to be OK with things. I try my best to not be a victim in how I relate to my life. I was there many times in my life, and it is miserable.
But the thing is, I AM angry. Why? Why the hell am I led down paths like this over and over and over? Some might say it is because I have made poor choices. The fact is that in many ways I believe my life has been enriched by it all. I believe there could have been a reason and purpose for things to have been the way they have been.
It doesn't stop the feeling of torture, though. It doesn't have me wanting something else with a lesser potential for pain.
I once heard we couldn't be given the desire for something we could not have come true. I think it is bullsh*t. Do you know how many desires have been left unfulfilled?
Some would give reasons for that, many of which would call my conscious and unconscious into question. I think there is something inherently wrong about that approach, as it seems awfully cruel to me for us to be set up in that way, for there to be something we don't know we don't know, and therefore can't access.
I think explanations like that only serve the illusion that we can "fix" anything and everything. Any other thought can leave us feeling vulnerable and helpless. However the alternative has the potential to make us question ourselves and feel inadequate.
Every day I struggle. Every day I toggle between being OK-ish and losing it all together.
Someone told me I need professional help. A professional has nothing that can help me find answers. That is what I really need.
I sobbed the other day because there is no one anywhere that can tell me what I need to hear. There is no one who has any answers for my soul. There is no psychiatrist who can help me deal with the gut-retching pain of my spirit.
At times the most healing, helpful thing for me are the least rational. They are times my tears reveal the tears in my psychic self.
Some people never talk about what they are dealing with, and for them, a professional might be the only one that is a witness for them and their pain. As for me, I have my expression. I have my releases. I find experiences with professionals to be of limited - if any - help.
Sometimes the only way to heal and deal with pain is to go through it. I would so much rather go around or over or under it, but it seems there is a much greater wisdom that has me sail through it.
There are times, though, I feel as though I may capsize and drown. There are times I can barely breathe. There are times I am gasping for air. There are times I am shaking and coughing out what I did not intend to take in. There are times all I can do is what I am doing. Times I am afraid, and am exhausted, wondering if it might just be best to give in and give up.
And while this is a great metaphor, I do not just mean this in a metaphorical sense. There are times I am literally, physically gasping.
The other night when I could not stop crying, I felt like I might have been crying a lifetime of tears, feeling a lifetime of pain.
More than once in my life someone has told me they are amazed by my story. They are amazed by everything I have been through. Even more than that, they are amazed by who I am in spite of it all.
I had to suck it up so many times in my life. I never really got to be a kid. At a young age I was taking care of my grandparents: cooking, cleaning, washing, grocery shopping. I had to be an adult long before my age proclaimed me as one.
I was often scared about what would happen to me if something happened to them. I never really felt sure footed. I lost my grandmother when I was in 10th grade. My aunt stepped in, but I was a great deal on my own at that point. I only went to college because I filed all the applications myself and sought loans and financial aide to get there. There was no one forcing me, or compelling me, or badgering me or caring about how well I did or did not do. It was just me, myself, and I with help occasionally from my aunt.
My life has been nothing like anyone else's I know. I have moved around countless times. I have had a countless number of jobs, at one point, even 4 at once. I have worked for myself. I have been in an abusive relationship. I have been abused as a child by my stepfather. I have gotten to travel more than most I know.
There are so many labels I could wear. There is so much many never could or would understand. In many ways, it is the long list of things that are me in conjunction with the sum total if my experiences that leaves me in some way depleted, and at times feeling defeated.
It is like standing there with an armful of rocks, and someone comes along with a boulder and tells you to hold it, too. Many would not be able to withstand the strain.
That is kind of how I feel now.
It takes everything I got some days not to collapse under the strain. Some days I do collapse, and then it takes everything I got to stand up again.
I get fearful I one day may not be able to get up again. Even worse, I get fearful I won't even want to try.
Most days I am aware of the feeling that life is going in one direction - and it is not the one I want. There is good in my life. There are times I feel very blessed by who and what shows up. There have been some very amazing people and things.
I wish I could live only in the good...but it is the "bad" that has me appreciate the things I appreciate all the more.
As you can see, I go back and forth between seeing the
good in the bad, and being potentially buried by the bad. There are times I feel greatly empowered and strong by the same things that could, and sometimes do, destroy me.
I have thought more than once about how the oncologist was trying to tell me about the power of my mindset. He is a new one for me. He has no clue about me, my background, where I have been. A part of me gets angry at his denial of my fears and concerns, his overriding of where I am. I get where he is, and where he would like to see me be. But that doesn't mean that is where I can so easily be just because it seems to make sense on some level. Tell me just how easy it would be for anyone to stand where I stand, and handle it the way others think you should.
Words are sometimes all too easily said.
I am exhausted.
Dealing with cancer - and the resulting circumstances - is like trying to do a full time job with the flu. It doesn't really work out very well. I have been trying to give myself something of a reprieve, but it doesn't help that major concerns loom around the corner.
Yeah. I know. I said I was about living more in the present, and that ain't exactly the present. Well, I never said I was perfect, and I am all too human. Several times daily I am reminded of that fact.