Monday, March 30, 2015

Good News?

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

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

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

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

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

PS Have you seen Patreon.com/Jolope? I could really use your help. If you value me and/or my work, please consider contributing by being a patron. Only $1 per month can really help. Thank you.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

In a Crappy Mood

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

I am stressed about my financial situation.

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

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

I am stressed about treatment.

I am stressed about the quality of my life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am also crying, again.

Friday, March 27, 2015

So Little Patience & Tolerance...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I could be wrong. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I just...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not a sales pitch...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ps please check out patreon.com/jolope. If you like my work, please consider a $1 contribution for even one month. You can cancel any time. Thank you.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Just because...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ps...please check out Patreon.com/jolope. If my work speaks to you, please consider "speaking" back by becoming a patron for as little as $1 per month. Thank you. (You can cancel any time).

Went to bed...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Feeling Overwhelmed

It should be a good thing. There is a chance I will have an art show in April. It is exciting and intimidating and all kinds of things.

Many people I talk to think I just need to show up. What's the big deal?

The thing is there is a whole lot of stuff I need to do administratively to get organized before then. To go from barely functioning to pushing to get things done is not only stressful, but I also think a layer of impossible.

So why do it? I am sure there are those who are thinking this very question. Why do that to myself? 

Because...I HAVE to.

My financial situation is still quite dire. I am trying not to go to the places people don't want me to go, but in not "pushing"  my reality, there isn't much activity in terms of help. 

I have just been trying to keep busy "doing," in the hope that things will shift. Given I got my first commission recently, I can only hope it is. But that commission alone does not resolve my issues.

I am also likely to be on chemo until the summer. The grind of that in the midst of trying to survive financially is not helping in the least.

I feel like I need a release, but am not sure where the heck I would find one, short of some significant financial help.

I feel like I want to/need to scream. My list of things to deal with - but not dealt with - feels like it is growing longer. 

It is so hard to do the things the left brain deals with. When overwhelmed, and "healthy," it is bad enough. But feeling as I do, it just feels like too much.

Ps want to help? Please check out Patreon.com/jolope. $1 per month helps, and you can cancel any time. Thank you for whatever you can do. I really need your help to spread the word about my work, and my need. I hate to ask, but I hate even being in a position that demands I ask even more. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Where do you think help comes from?

Many people think I must get help from all over the place. Do you? Where do you think that help comes from?


My experience so far: A woman told me I should contact churches for help. When I was hesitant, she offered to contact 3 for me. One told her about a place I am not eligible to use. Another told her they only help organizations/groups. The third I never heard from.


There are women with Stage 4 breast cancer who have been denied Disability. Me? They screwed with my paperwork. It was lost. I was denied. I have had to reapply. It takes months to get a response. Even if it was to come through at some point, it won't be a cure all remedy, as it won't be enough to live on, especially if it gets to a point that I need to pay rent somewhere again. It is designed in such a way I truly believe they want people to die before they ever see a dime. They make it hard to deal with, especially for those who are the most disabled.


Many organizations don't give the ga-billions you give them to the actual people dealing with cancer. Many times the majority of the money - if not all - goes to overhead, and "research." While research is a good thing, it doesn't help those dealing with cancer on a day-to-day, putting food in their mouth/keeping their electricity on basis. Those who actually help people are few and far between. There are also parameters: where you live, male/female, age, type of cancer. If you don't fit the parameters, you don't get help. And many times? You don't get help.


Family are "people." And people often do not understand how the situation truly is. They are just as willing to go along in life without paying any attention to the fact that there might be a need. Some may not be in a position to do anything. Just because someone is related doesn't mean any problems are solved. In fact, as you may be aware, sometimes family only makes things more complicated.


"Friends" are people, too. See: Family. Friends offer there own set of complications. Friends can also freely walk away because they are not "family." Friends can make their own rules, because they are friends. Friends can also help more than most, but they don't "have" to. Friends who have helped look at everyone else who hasn't/won't and don't understand why others don't step up. They can help; but they can't solve all my problems. Should the burden of your friend's situation become yours? Would you take it on? Could you?

Significant Other?

I don't have one. And, even if did, that person isn't required to stick around. I imagine there are many significant others who don't, and others who feel the incredible pressure of the belief of others that they are supposed to take care of everything because they are the "significant other." But having that title doesn't magically create all that one needs for everything to be ok. What if they can't work because the partner/family needs them? What if they lose their job while taking care of their partner?


Strangers have helped me. Some strangers have even become new friends. However a majority of strangers do not help. The easiest reason not to help someone? "I don't know them."

This is a fairly broad brushstroke, but is the essence of what I, and many others, face. You may think there has to be "someone" else who can help/fix things. But if I am going to survive the ramifications of living with cancer, the someone I really need is...YOU.

Sorry. I hate to say it, and put you on the spot that way. But it is all too true. We have the illusion that we know what things in our life look like. We think we know the people, and how things go, and will go, in times of trouble. The thing is what we think often is what we'd really like to believed, and while you might be right for yourself (and you'll never really know whether they are, or not, until your beliefs are experience tested) there are those it won't be true for, so over-laying your blueprint onto someone else just doesn't work. But it doesn't mean we won't try, especially if it lets us off the hook.

You can choose to help me - or another - or not. I just present this to you as information to consider. If you are going to make a choice, it might be better to make it on more accurate information than you may otherwise have. If everyone was to always think "someone" else was going to help another, no one would be getting any help at all. And that might seem to be an OK thing - as long as you aren't the one needing it. 

PS please visit Patreon.com/jolope, and become a patron for as little as $1 per month. You can cancel at any time. Thanks.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I hope...

Once again I am scanning my doodles. I am now in the 80s. If I had to guess at this point how many I have, I would say 120. Let's see how close I am to being right when the "final" tally is in. I have so many ideas for my "stuff," in some ways I really just don't know where to begin, and yet...I have.

There is so much administrative stuff that needs to be done. I think people have no idea what it takes to do what seems to be so simple. After I scan the doodles, I have to catch up on my artwork, too.

I haven't done that much to create new artwork in the last couple of weeks, and maybe that is a good thing, as I try to get to some workable place in terms of the administrative stuff.

Scanning Doodle 90. 

There are so many things that cross my mind to write about. They come and they go, and sometimes they come back, and sometimes I can't remember that "brilliant" idea I once had. I guess I have come to the point that if something is supposed to be written, I will remember it. At least that is what I will tell myself to feel better. :P

Today I was putting together some bookmarks. As I was doing it, I was thinking about how grateful I am that I can do the things that I can do. If I couldn't do anything, I would be in sooo much trouble.

But the thing is, I am still in trouble, and in some ways I think I am more in trouble because of the things I seem to be able to do. I think people think that I am capable and fine, and why would they want to help me.

As I was thinking these things, I had a TERROR pang. Will people help me if I ever get to the point that I can't help myself? I don't think many - if any - that I know realize how terrifying any version of "The End" is for me, at least as it applies to going out of this life dealing with cancer.

It is something I have a hard time thinking about. At the same time, the thoughts come in as there are definitely things I need to think about and plan, if what comes at the end, and after my death mean anything to me. The problem is I still don't know how to plan for a lot of it.

How does one simultaneously live life and plan for death, while in the midst of "survival?" Am I being artistic for me, and for my life, or am I doing things that are meant to live on after I am gone? If the latter, how do I insure that that will happen? I know of no one who will be anywhere near as invested in my stuff as I am. It could all wind up in a corner, or worse, in the trash, and I really don't want that to happen.

Is it my ego talking? I don't know. But what I do know is that my work speaks to people on a heart and soul level, and for whatever it is worth, I would like it to live on, even when I don't.

My life is like a big corporation. There are so many facets that I really need departments to head and be responsible for, but I don't. For what it is worth, I am managing to do things now, but at times, I am barely functioning. I am in a rush to get things in when I can actually function. Earlier today I fought going to sleep because I had things I wanted/needed to do, but could barely move.

Now I am managing to do a couple of things at (almost) the same time.

Doodle 94.

Whatever it is, it never feels like enough, and probably because in many ways it really isn't. There are things that don't get done, but really should. I have to hope that I don't get bitten in the butt as a result.

I really try to relay the things I deal with, but it isn't always easy to do. Sometimes it is hard for me to face. Sometimes it is difficult to convey the intricacies of a life that must do different cancer dances. Sometimes it is the jive, other times, it's the waltz. Other times, it is the yet un-named dance that might look more like a spasm. It may seem like one dance to an outsider, but it is anything but, and yet there are times full attention and focus is on one thing only, and is dictated by wherever cancer's attention calls.

In many ways, it is a lot like what those without cancer deal with. The difference, if I was going to say there is one, is an undercurrent of death being closer than most ever want it to be, and the fact that there is little to no income coming in, with little possibility that it ever will.

It is not like one dealing with chemo and treatment can just go out and get a job. Even if I wanted to, my guess is that employers wouldn't exactly be jumping at hiring me. Plus, if you thought you might not get to live much longer, would you be wanting to spend what time you had looking for a job? My guess? I don't think so. It would be different if you had a job to go back to, perhaps. But if you didn't have one to begin with?

There are those who are quick to judge what they think they know of me. One person recently jumped on me about what she perceived about my situation. What I found interesting was that her Facebook page was full of "game stuff." It would be great if I could just play games, and "trust" that everything will work out. She obviously has a very different situation than I do. I can't tell you the last time I played any games.

I pretty much eat, sleep, and do what I can creatively to help myself, and that is most of what my life is these days. I don't get to do much else because physically I am limited. But finances are most certainly a huge reason, too. Heaven help me if I am asking for "survival" money, and actually do something that costs money.

There will be those who would judge me in a heartbeat. It won't matter if someone else paid. It won't matter if I charged it, and added to my huge mountain of debt. It has already happened. Everything I do is scrutinized. Every-freaking-thing that I do, and don't do. Why doesn't she...?

My ideal at this point is to find people who want to buy my work, and to do as much of it as I can, while I can (which I hope happens to be a long time to come), and not have to ask for another dime of "support." That way I can just live my life. People will still judge, but I won't feel as obligated to try to explain things to anyone, and I can stop being defensive about things I have no reason to feel defensive about.

If my life is coming to a close, I don't want to be messing with so much of the crap I have had to mess with. Unfortunately I have had no choice. If the time ever comes that I really can't function, I am going to have to hope the end comes really quickly and/or people have a heart.

What scares me is that there are those who already have me dead who don't want to help for that reason. I hope I have nothing to be scared about...but...

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I always knew I was creative...

I just never called myself an artist. 

I am really tired, but before I go to bed tonight, I want to express incredible gratitude for the creative expression that has been flowing through me. I never imagined the scope, or the type. It took cancer showing up for this part of me to also come into being.

I can't tell you how excited that makes me. 

It is such a mixed bag, given all that it has come with. At the same time, I am very emotional right now. I got my first "commission" request. If I didn't consider myself an artist before, I know without a doubt I am one now.

I look back a few years ago, when I started my Cedonaah.blogspot.com blog. "All" I was doing was creating images on the computer. Some were hybrids, as I was doing some oil pastel work. But I did not consider myself as an artist. I was more just someone doing something she enjoyed. 

There were times I wished I could do something more, seemingly, tangible, and create the work as a three dimensional piece, but felt I needed to just "accept" that that was not my "thing." I had been told by others that I was an artist, but it was a term I shied away from.

At one point, I was doing a lot of "Cedonaahs," and a lot of time was spent creating them. I was doing them because I felt driven, and did not know what else I should be doing. I told this to a friend. In a well-meaning way she told me that "artists don't make any money," and pretty much was discouraging me from what I was doing.

It sucked. I already said I didn't know what else to do. It wasn't like it was taking me away from some great money making project. I doubt she understood how that made me feel since she was so certain she was being helpful, and giving me the "hard truth."

I knew deep down that I had to do what I was doing, and whether or not I sold anything, I felt I needed to share it. That was when the blog was born.

I can see so clearly how my creativity over the years intertwined with itself. There is a coming together of so many facets in my current work. My favorite pieces are ones that have more than one medium. The artist's eye that I have nurtured in a myriad of ways is maturing, and morphing into other things. 

What excites me, besides the discovery, is the fact that others are excited by my work; I am not the only one who seems to like and appreciate it. It has given me such incredible confidence to keep growing, and moving forward. I am grateful for the feedback, and the fact that the feedback is as positive as it is.

I get scared that I might not get to enjoy this part of myself very long. I really hate to think I am only going to discover this person, and then she'll be gone. I have come so far, and I can't help but wonder how much farther I can go. 

I can only hope I get the opportunity to find out.

Ps would you consider becoming a patron of me, and my work? You can, for even just $1 per month. Patreon.com/jolope Thank you.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Magnetic Idea

I had a brainstorm back in December. I produced a magnet, and was able to get a quantity of them.

Many people say they can't help financially, so my idea was to offer 26 magnets for $25. In turn, the person would get one for free, and could then turn around and offer the magnets to others for $1, recouping their funds.

If this is something you would consider doing, this video explains things, and shows you the magnet:  http://youtu.be/mo4uvsW0thM

In the video I say I "may" have to go back on chemo. Well. That is where I am now, and I really could use the help.

Please take a look. I know some have shied away because it feels like "sales." But is it really "sales" to say to someone, "there is this person dealing with cancer, and I am trying to help her. She created this magnet, and is only asking $1 for it to help herself." If they are people you know, odds are you'd know exactly what to say, and it wouldn't be awkward at all. You might even tell them you already paid for them, and that they'd really be helping YOU out by getting one. : )

As you will see, it has a design and quote many seem to appreciate, and I would appreciate your assistance in helping me stay afloat. 

Thank you.

To err is...

So I just rethought a previous blog post. It was not a good one. I knew I was likely treading in waters that weren't particularly helpful, but I suspect my emotions carried me there any way. For as much as I have learned these last couple of years, my humanity, and my ability to have a lapse in judgment is still fully operational and intact. I decided to amend my thoughts. Going deeper in the quagmire did not seem to be the "appropriate" solution. Sometimes things get so far away from anything helpful. 

Instead of going over stuff that I felt would ultimately be unproductive, I just decided to begin anew-ish. It is really hard to be so public about things that are said. Sometimes you can't take them back. Sometimes all you can do is recognize how incomplete the things you thought were complete were. Sometimes all you can do is recognize the fact that you were so far gone into your own fears and feelings and emotions that you were saying things you thought made sense, and had value, but they really didn't. Sometimes you know you had a point in there somewhere, but you want to apologize for how what you said came off, and how you may not have relayed something with the grace you had hoped to have.

Many times when I write things, I struggle. I struggle because buttons are pushed. I struggle because I fight my own fears. I struggle to be objective about things that in some ways I can hardly be objective about these days. And there are times blog posts aren't published because I can't quite get wherever "there" is supposed to be. I struggle to make sense of things that don't always seem to make sense. I struggle with connecting things I think are related, but there is no obvious clarity around their relationship. I struggle because I know there will be those who will judge me for not only what I say, but what they think they hear. I struggle for so many reasons, and it would be so much easier and safer in some ways if I allowed the struggle to silence me. A part of me is even a bit embarrassed by what I had written. I should have known better. Right?

But, I just have to remind myself that I am a human being who is prone to do things like this. It doesn't make me bad. It only makes me human. There was a time the two things were as one, and the fact that I believed it about myself kept me from being myself - especially with other people watching. To dare to do a blog like this was impossibly scary and, as a result, couldn't have been farther far from it ever happening.

I have never once said I was perfect, other than to say I was perfectly myself. That certainly won't be changing any time soon. I just am not thrilled when there are reminders of that fact. I guess the "good" thing is that I did actually catch myself, and was able to make it "righter" than it was. Is it actually "right?" who the heck knows? In some ways it didn't feel like me talking. Maybe it was just a part of me I am not used to.

I don't know. There is a lot I don't know. I just occasionally act like I think I know a thing, or two, and occasionally, a person, or two, might just agree with me.

Ugh. And oh well.

Good night.

Ps want something prettier to think about and look at? Please see Patreon.com/jolope. Thanks.

Friday, March 13, 2015

I am the closest I have ever been...

I am the closest I have ever been to running out of money. This is seriously a time I need help. I wish I knew what else I could say, or offer, that would have anyone who has not acted in my behalf. I would do whatever I could to give a person something of value, if they would just see it in the heart to help. I know it is not easy. I know people judge me. I also know I am a good person, with a good heart who needs more compassion than she ever wanted to ever ask for. It would be all too easy to allow myself to believe that I am must not be "deserving" or else I would not be in this position (I bet there are many who do not know me who DO believe that), but I won't allow myself to go there. But even if I do not go "there" mentally, I am still in big trouble in a tangible, big way. If you had tried everything you could think of, and had even begged for help, and could barely function most days, what would you do? If you can do anything at all to help me, I can't tell you what that would mean to me. There is so much stress with dealing with cancer and chemo. This other stuff is not what I need right now. Want ways to help? I can give you a list of things to share. I have magnets you could sell for $1. There are so many damn possibilities...how is it that I cannot help myself/get the help I need? That, my friends, is a rhetorical question. I do not need to be judged or analyzed at this critical time.,.I really just need action, and help. If every Facebook friend found a way to get me $10, I would have almost $5000. That doesn't sound too bad, and yet, at the moment, it is miles away..,can you help me close the gap? Please?

On Giving

So many people make judgments when it comes to those who ask for financial support. It is Ok to ask for "x," but if you ask for "y," then nope, you ain't gonna get my money. Being one of those people asking for help makes me particularly sensitive to this conversation. Sometimes I am not sure what to do with the things people say and do around this - even when not directed at me.

If you really want to help another, you can start by stopping the judgment. You get to decide what you will do, and if you will do it, but you will do everyone involved a favor by perhaps giving less, and giving without an expectation than giving with some sort of moral strings, and putting yourself on some sort of pedestal.

As much as it may suck to consider, you may one day find yourself on this side of the fence (don't think you'll ever be here? Well...no one ever plans on it...) and need the help of others to get by, and it is just gonna suck when you are face-to-face with people whose ideas resemble your former self. You will know how real things are, and you will know you are legit, but you may also know you're screwed, except for the rare and willing person who will be the one to try to help. And, even then, you may be still be screwed any way because it is no where near enough.

If you want to make a difference for others, then stop finding excuses not to. You never know what will make a difference for another. It wouldn't be your choice? It wouldn't be how you'd handle it? That's fine. It is also not your circumstance, and if it was yours, I can practically guarantee you would likely prefer to handle things your own way, and without the judgment of others.

Ps please check out patreon.com/jolope thanks.

People Notice & Pain and Pleasure

I just got done reading a Facebook post about a young child who died of brain swelling, attributed to the side effect of being vaccinated. I almost hesitate in saying this detail, as it is fairly likely the controversy around the vaccination conversation could, for some, all too easily become the focus of one's attention, even though I am writing with something different in mind.

The person writing talks about the silence around the posting regarding what happened. Why aren't people reacting? Why aren't they saying anything? She tries an experiment. She posts.pictures of her own children, and suddenly there's everyone. 

A commenter says something similar about her experience in a similar, yet different, regard.

In a world like Facebook, it isn't always easy to know what is seen, and not seen. However, in my experience, a lot of what I say and post appears to be greeted by silence. Yet, when I post a nice looking picture of myself, the comments come flying.

Yesterday I posted this image.

I thought it a clever play after a bread making fiasco. I am not sure it got any response at all. I wonder if I did an experiment and posted a nice pic of me afterward what might have happened.

"Funny" thing? There is nothing inherently wrong or bad or negative about what I created, but how much would you want to bet there are those who saw it in very much the same way as they view my book title (Sometimes it Sucks to be Human)?

There are things in life that just don't always work out the way we want them to. There are things that sometimes just suck. There are times we just want to ignore or steamroll over those things that do not fit what we want our attention to be on, and our experience to be. 


What if the fact that this "thing" is showing up in our life it is meant to be there? What if the fact that someone is showing us something that is important, and means something to them, is showing up to give us something in our experience of life? What if it is a lesson or a sign, or something else that could actually be labelled "helpful," or "good," but we are too uncomfortable or too busy or too...to notice, or even want to?

The night is dark. It is black. It is labelled with many adjectives that come off sounding negative. There could be people who would try to deny the fact that the night even exists. They could even close their eyes, and sleep through it, and use that as validation that there is no such thing as night. That could certainly seem to be their reality, but others around them know that just isn't "the truth." For them, night is very much an experience and reality that they must interact with.

So which is the truth? That night exists, or that it doesn't? It would depend on who you asked. Although, in all likelihood, there would be a huge undercurrent that there was likely something wrong with the person who doesn't believe night exists, and mainly because it goes against what the prevailing beliefs currently are for most people.

The irony, of sorts, is that people would be making a case for the "negative" mostly out of an agreement of a reality. 

We seem to be selective about our reality, and what we choose to embrace, often times denying another person's reality in the process. Is our denial of a reality creative? Do we wind up creating something different because we believe what we do? Some would certainly have us believe we do,

I don't know about you, but I have given my everything to some things I wanted in my life - but they never became the reality of the person writing this. What that means in totality, I don't really know. But what I know is that the part of me that Is experiencing life is this moment never got to experience those things.

And I know that I am not the only one that this has happened to. Not by a long shot. So there are many others who will read this and will know exactly what I am talking about. The thing is, it may feel sucky to contemplate the feelings attached. It might be better to side swipe the feelings, rather than truly acknowledge, or feel them. But does it make them any less "real?"

Could I potentially have a different life in "denial?' I already did. And, in some ways, the one I live now that allows me to face, and acknowledge, my experience - whatever it may be - seems to work a lot better for me.

For some who observe me, they may think I am all over the place. And the fact is, there are times I likely am. Why do we think that is such a bad thing? Why can't I feel a certain way about my hair loss one moment, and then talk about baking bread the next? In some ways, I almost think the healthier option for me is the one that has me fully immersed in the moment, rather than the one that has me trying to escape it. Trying to escape something can be torturous. 

What about the torture of being in it, though? Oddly enough, perhaps, I am more tortured by the attempts at denial. It is a huge lesson I have learned these last few years.

So we notice things. We notice others. And we notice how others seem to act/react to things, and sometimes we play along, and our silence gives them permission to continue - which also allows us those moments, too. We have some "interesting" unwritten/unspoken agreements. Or we say something, like that woman I mentioned at the start of this post did, and like I do, and we point to the things that many don't feel comfortable with. 

At times when there are those willing to speak up, there will either be more silence, or there will be those who will go, "me, too!" The second grouping is often the minority, though, probably because they threaten the status quo agreement we seem to have with each other. I am sure there are others who also agree, but find their silence safer.

For the record, there is no judgment in my words, although it would be fairly easy to read some judgment into what I am saying. We all do whatever it is that we do, and we do it because at the time we truly feel like it is the thing to do. Given that statement, I could just as easily say I am judging people/their actions and that it is "ok" to do it because in the moment it is the thing that feels like the thing to do.

What I am doing is seeking to have a conversation, even if it is "just" with myself. I think about things like this all of the time. What makes one person "right" and another person "wrong?" I don't see things in an absolute way, like some people do. And when I think about things logically, I don't always come to a place that has clear cut lines of demarcation.

I tend to observe things a lot, and that is why this post started out as it did. It was an observation about a quality of human behavior that extends past my own experience dealing with cancer. 

I have often said that what I write about is about life and living because there is so much of what I experience that is translatable to the experience of others, even those who have not dealt with cancer. They have a similar reaction and experience to people and their reactions, but for a different cause/reason than I do.

We have a common thread that runs through us, but we often are so distracted by our own lives and opinions, and stuff we just don't recognize it, and if it is painful, we frequently do not want to. All too often, it is only when we come face-to-face with something that we can no longer avoid that a connection is truly made. Until then it is likely we are can be more focused on what we perceive our differences to be, acting in ways that help us keep a safe distance from those people and things and circumstances that make us uncomfortable.

I wonder if that is why there is conflict? Is it possible that conflict is an avoidance mechanism? Interesting thought. But not one I am going to venture into further at the moment...

People, it is said, are driven by pain and pleasure. It is the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure that can guide much of our life. To face the stuff of life that we have associated with pain is like choosing to walk willingly into the fire. For most that would be a, "oh. hell. no." They may not say that, but their other words and actions will speak volumes. 

Oddly, though, I have discovered that walking into the pain can have a pleasant side effect. On the other side can be such an incredible peace. It is a peace I never had while I struggled to be someone I wasn't. Maybe the way to pleasure, at times at least, is through pain (and I do not mean in a physical sense, although there are likely to be those who would make that argument) and to avoid pain is to also avoid pleasure. The experience of pain also seems to alter my experience around many facets of life - in a good way. 

Is it possible that pleasure can also become a source of our pain? One only need love someone with their whole heart to answer that question, I suspect. And yet, we walk around as if pain and pleasure had a straight line between them, as we swing back and forth. It strikes me that it might be more of a sphere that we interact with. You can only travel so far north before you start to head south. It is probable that the two things have a much closer relationship than most of us realize - especially when we are focused on only one of them.

Odds are good, too, that when we are doing anything but just living in the moment, we are focused on something that is not even us. We are focused on what something, somewhere, determined was important, and not focused on what is right in front of us. The thing is, I am not sure it is always that easy to tell which version of ourselves we are being, and we have to want to distinguish the two to even begin to figure out which one is which.

I began this post a few hours ago, and then left it to sit. As much as I would like to tie it up neatly in a bow, I am not sure how. I know that that is what we are trained to want, and look out for. But, even if I intended it, I am not sure l would succeed. Conversations like this are rarely neat and tidy, and any that might even vaguely resemble that are probably the messiest of them all.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Mess

I have never shaved my head dealing with cancer, and have never been fully bald, despite the fact that so many encouraged me to do it, thinking that would somehow help.

Before I began chemo last summer, I was liking my hair. It had come back, and it was doing well. I was feeling "normal," at least in that regard.

When it started to fall out, I kept what didn't. I tried to even have the illusion of hair by keeping whatever length was left.

I have had a hybrid of hair for the last several months, as the once bald spots have filled in with baby fine hair that is much shorter than other hair. It literally stands up now, and would be funny, if I was in the mood to have a sense of humor about it.

I haven't gotten it cut because I wanted to see where chemo would take me this time. Should the hair fall out, it becomes a non-issue.

Some, trying to be helpful/positive would say, "At least you have hair." Sorry to say, not really helpful at all. I used to have hair that was long and curly and I loved it. As a kid, not so much, but I really came to love it.

Now. Well. It is a big mess. 

There are days I shrug it off and keep going. There are other days and other times I am really sad. 

I actually calculated that it could take 3, or more, years for me to ever see hair like I used to have - at least length-wise. Three years for someone dealing with   cancer...well, you do the math...

I am at least greatful I still have eyebrows. In some way, that is a bigger deal. You can't just throw a hat on them.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

One of those days...

Feeling hideously ugly and fat and bloated and pale and old at the moment. 

So many think me photogenic, which is hardly the case. I just make up for all the unflattering pictures by taking a whole lot of them. And that is in addition to using make up and lighting and other "fixes" to my advantage.

If it wasn't for the cruelty of the Internet, I would post some of my worst to defend my argument. But I am too concerned where an image could wind up, and how someone might use it.

The above pic is filtered to death to try to make some lemonade. I wanted to see if I could take a yucky-ish pic and make it into something nice to look at.

In the past, a day like today would have called for make-up and a wig to make me feel better, but I just don't want to go through all that. I almost think I would rather go to sleep.

Ps Have you visited Patreon.com/jolope, yet? If not, please do, and please help support my work for as little as $1 per month if you appreciate it. Thanks.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Reflections of a Long Day

Yesterday I noticed that a recent comment by someone on My Facebook page had been deleted. What she said had stirred up the pot. I found myself wondering if she might have felt attacked by the reactions of those who posted on my behalf. I am not sure the responses were an attack, but I could see how one might feel that way. Since she and I are not really "friends," I said what I felt I needed to say, and then pretty much left it alone, letting things fall wherever they did. 

I was actually quite grateful for what people were saying. So often I feel like a solo voice in this adventure. Now, though, the comments that follow that non-existing comment, do not have context. It might not make as much sense as it would have - had the comment remained.

I was actually feeling a bit grateful for what this person stirred up. There are conversations I wish we could have more often, but when I may be the only one trying to have them, it is not the same as when others add their input.

I almost wish I had saved her comment. I could have shared it without her name, since - for whatever reason - she has rethought having it public. But I didn't, so for now, that is that. Although I do suspect I may come back to it at some point. There are moments that make sense to be spoken about again. And, in some ways, this horrid moment was also a great one.

Yesterday was a hard day in other ways. The night before I got minimal and restless sleep, not a good combination. It made for a very long day. 

I also had some trains to catch, and while I awaited the first train, and was right there on the platform when it pulled in, I still missed it. The doors closed right in front of me. Thankfully the next one was only minutes away, so I just shook my head, and was like, unbelievable.

The next train was going to be packed, and I knew it likely that someone would sit next to me. In my mind I asked for it to be a good/right person. What exactly that meant I never know, but I just like connecting with people, and not all people are those I "can" connect with.  Although as I think about it, the "right" person any given day may be one that I do not connect with. So I guess I truly do not know what it means when I asked for that. But I was open.

At some point, a woman and her husband came down the aisle. They were looking for two seats together. My aisle seat, and the one across from it were free, so she sat next to me, and he sat on the other side.

At first we didn't speak. I was doodling. At some point she said something about it, and a door was opened. She was such a lovely, sweet woman. I was appreciative of the conversation and "audience," as I shared previous doodles and pictures of my artwork. Her husband even glanced over.

I have to admit, I love when people enjoy my work. Who wouldn't, I suppose :p 

I also shared with her much of what I have been dealing with, and how people react to me, and gave her my postcard and a magnet, telling her about the myriad of things I have been trying to do to help myself. Incredibly sweetly, and generously, she gave me some money. I never expect that anyone will extend themselves that way, but when they do, I could not be more grateful.

I had even had a moment earlier in the day where I questioned taking my artwork photo album. I wind up caring this brick with me, along with other things, and sometimes I really just would rather go light. But I did not listen to that moment. It was just steamrolled over, and I am glad I listened. And not just beause of that moment and opportunity.

I wound up showing others my work, too. I have no idea if it will "mean" anything in the grander scheme of things, but I can always hope, right? The more who get to become aware of my stuff, the more chances, perhaps, that I can find avenues for the things I would like to do. Many can see my vision of doing a talk and showing my work. I just have to figure out where those places, and interested parties that are decision makers, are.

One of the people I showed my stuff too was a trained artist. She couldn't seem to be more impressed or enthusiastic by what I had done. She has always felt drawn to art (lol, funny pun?), however, has also felt she needed the "paycheck" job. I could so tell that the wheels in her head were turning. There is nothing like that "pull," only made worse by the limiting conversation of logic. 

I know that conversation and dilemma all too well. The diagnosis of cancer destroyed that conversation in a heartbeat, though. It changed everything, and not necessarily because I wanted it to. 

She told me that I had inspired her. I shared that with others afterward, and said that I would only "claim" to be an inspiration if something came of it as a result. There are several in this journey that I have the potential to be a conduit for. I have met those who are tentative about their art and their writing. It is "there," sort of. It isn't perfect, and it is guarded. Others may even make fun.

I was doodling one day, and this young guy said something about it. He said he did "stuff," too. He was quite serious about it. I could tell there was a strong interest and desire, and I found myself talking to him about my "process" and experience. He could identify with some of it.

In some ways, I think I might have been giving him "permission" to do what he was already doing, but perhaps in some way questioning. The person he was with kind of made a bit of fun of him when our conversation first started. I don't know her significance in his life, but I could see how it could add to the inner voice's doubts and questions. She may have just been trying to be cute and/or funny, but you never know when the beliefs and thoughts of others can seep in and become our own when we are not looking.

Things like this make my heart sing. When I first went to Jean, the shaman, she asked me questions. I can't remember which one she asked that prompted me to tell her that I had visions of being someone like her. It wasn't so much the shamanistic piece, but the part of being someone that people would be drawn to, and come to, and that I could share stuff with, and as a result, potentially impact. It is a healing work of a different type, I think, when we can connect with another in way that their whole self can walk away going, "YES!" 

There are times we need validation of another. We need something outside of us to speak to that part of us that is saying something we already know, but is usually followed by a huge, big BUT.

Many who know me these days rarely actually interact with me. Dealing with the issues I have, I think gets in the way. Many times it makes things so much harder on me because I wind up feeling devalued, useless, like I don't matter. I wonder if these open and receptive "strangers" realize how much of a gift they give ME by allowing me to contribute to them in the way that I do. I wonder if they realize how much of a gift it is to me to be able to share my work and words with them.

My guess? Many probably think nothing of it.

Last night I almost missed another train. I was tired, and not feeling well. I was going to do everything I could to get on, as the next train was 15 minutes away, and I so did not feel like I could wait. The train was packed. Oddly, but perhaps not, there was a seat by the door that no one was taking, so I did.

The man I sat next to and I started a conversation. This time doodling was not involved. We were talking about the fact that we had just had similar journeys. One thing led to another, and I wound up having a similar conversation with the woman from the morning. 

At some point I told him how crappy I felt. But I was wearing make up, and a wig, and he said how he would have never have known that I was going through chemo, and was feeling like anything I said. Part of it may have also had to do with the fact that I get energized by the kind of conversation we were having. I get energized by those who do not run from conversations like I have, but rather, feel pulled in.

If I remember correctly, both he and the woman from the morning had people in their lives who had been dealt the cancer card. Maybe that is partly where the thread of connection lived. One of them had said they wished they knew more about the kinds of things I was talking about back when they were dealing with their stuff. I have heard that kind of thing before, So much goes unsaid.

I can only hope that what I say, how I say it, what I am doing, and where I do it is finding those who are seeking (even unconsciously) the value of what my experience has to offer them - cancer, or not. There are many who aren't even dealing with cancer who find a level of relationship with my human experience. I think we all could have more of that, if we could just get past the things that superficially seem to be different. Unfortunately, it can often be uncomfortable to go there, and therefore awkward and sometimes painful. There is a risk involved, making it no easy task.

It may seem it is all too easy for me these days. I tell people all the time this wasn't always me. I could not have imagined this place 3 years ago. No freaking way. I had a feeling I wanted to be different, but I had no idea how that would happen. I read things. I took seminars. I did all kinds of stuff, but nothing altered things as greatly and completely and earth-shatteringly as cancer did. 

And even then, it wasn't immediate. It evolved over time. *I* evolved over time. I found myself over time. I accepted myself over time. I came to know and love a person I knew existed on some level, but was hiding and marginalizing and questioning herself for much of her life.

I tell you this because I want you to know I know things aren't always easy, and when you see someone doing something sometimes it is all too easy to think it is beyond where you might be able to go. You will get to where you are going, as long as you keep going. Some paths may even take you there kicking and screaming. But you know what? Sometimes the kinder roads - the ones where we feel we have a choice - are the ones we can all too easily push aside with, "yeah, buts..." 

Yesterday someone was talking about how those who deal with cancer seem to often "get" something in their experience. I said, for me, I got myself. It has been an incredible gift.

I got away from talking about my last train companion from last night before I mentioned, that he, too, reached into his wallet, and offered me a financial gift. I know he didn't do it to be recognized here, or even to be thanked. But I wanted to acknowledge his open and generous spirit. When there are those who have ignored my requests for help (even those it is believed have the ability financially to help) it means so much to me that a person who was a total stranger only moments before is willing to take that step.

What an incredible gift life is. The good. The bad. The Ugly.

The end of my long day...

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