Wednesday, June 24, 2015

dealing with stuff...

When I began this blog - especially after I de-anonymized it - part of my intention was to have it be the "go to" place regarding how I was feeling, and what was going on with me. The idea of having to repeat potentially bad news, and just how crappy I felt was not at all appealing to me. (What a shocker, huh?)

It did not quite work out that way, though. Many times I would get people apologizing, and telling me they did not read my blog. I truly never got upset about it. A part of me understood the various reasons.

So. Here's the thing I am struggling with right now.

I have just had some of the worst days of my life. I still feel like shit today, but it is no where what it has been the last 5 days. Maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed, the worst is over, and I can start to feel more humane again, and maybe, just, maybe eat - after losing about 6 pounds in the last 6 days.

Before going any further, I just want to recognize that what I am about to say may not be taken in the way intended. It is not my intention to alienate anyone, make them feel awkward, or to piss anyone off. My only intention is to get it out and to share my struggle in a way that might be helpful to anyone who might be paying attention.

I have discovered just how bad of a question "how are you?" is for someone dealing with cancer. It has never been the most ideal question, but when the worst of what I would go through was much more momentary, and a lot less intense, answers were easier to come by.

A part of me wishes that there was some way to convey things in a way that worked for all parties, because feeling as I do, it is really hard to care about anything. Someone told me all kinds of stuff about themselves, and for as much as I wanted to be happy for them, and for as much as a part of me was, when they asked what was up with me I was torn. Do I give the smiley answer? Do I give the "I'm happy for you" answer? More importantly, do I skirt how I feel, or do I come out and give the "honest" and brutal answer? Do I essentially crap on their sundae?

Sorry to be so graphic. But that is why I suspect many people do not honestly talk about what they are dealing with. Firstly, how many really want to know the "truth?" And secondly, how do you not be "negative" in the midst of such a stark contrast? And third, with limited resources to marshall, it is distressing to have to care that much/be that "polite."

The fact is, this particular person would likely - at least I think - "get" where I am coming from, ultimately. They are human, so I could see coming off all horribly wrong in the midst of my Crap Storm. I suspect they'd get all kinds of emotions and stuff that don't really "belong" to them, and that is one reason why I haven't yet responded. On top of everything else, I don't need to make someone else I care about upset. My situation is already hard enough for anyone who cares about me.

Some who read this might read right past the parts that I would like to think are the "most important" because of what we are taught. Just like the person who told me that we are "taught to say thank you as children" in regard to the fact that in the midst of my life crisis I forgot to thank them, and someone else, I think we can be blinded by the "shoulds." I think we can be blinded to the point that, while they may "seem" to make some sort of sense, they don't always fit the context. And when the context alters, we often latch onto those shoulds to the detriment of ourselves and others when we have the inability - or unwillingness - to see that things are not what we think they are.

We become absolute in our approach, even when it hurts us, or those we care about. If we would actually step back and think about what we do, why we do it, and if it is truly appropriate in this particular circumstance, with this particular person, we might do things differently. We might allow ourselves and others our emotions and feelings. 

We are so determined to enforce these "shoulds" that we have mechanisms in place to keep people in their place. If you do not conform to the Should Way of Being you can be put in your place by words like "ungrateful," "selfish," and all kinds of words with anything but "positive" meaning. And we are taught these are not words we want to be labelled, so if we don't want that labeling, we best do as we "should." We want people to like us. We want to be loved.

When we do as we "should" then all is right with the world, right? 

I suspect you may not really believe that, but the world we live in gives us a run for the money in that regard. It doesn't make it easy for us to be ourselves and love that self. So few people would feel comfortable exposing whoever their truest self was. The fact is, many probably wouldn't like that person, but they may be surprised to find that there would be others who did. They'd also likely discover just how much it took having to be someone they're not to please others who are also likely being someone they're not because we walk around with this idea of what life is "supposed" to be, and act on that, rather than what it truly is.

If we truly love and care for someone, the best gift we can give them is to allow them to be wherever they are, whenever they are there. Will we like it? Will it be comfortable? Probably not. But if someone did it for you, you'd likely appreciate the fact that you could just let your guard down and just be yourself.

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