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.