I knew I wasn't perfect when I started to blog. I don't think I ever tried to present a "perfect" front to the world (at least not in the last several years) but there is a difference between "imperfect" and ugly. Unfortunately "real" is also often seen as "ugly." Maybe it has something to do with the exterior polish much of our world has. So much of the society of our world puts pressure on us to be a certain way because if we are not, we won't have that relationship, or get that job, or be (considered/looked at as) successful.
Time and again I am reminded just how imperfect and ugly my approach to my situation is. I would be more "successful" getting help, if only...
Now. I won't say everything I am doing is right, or perfect. Chances are, in terms of anyone else, there is very little that likely is. There is likely room for things to be different - just like much of life, actually.
But. Here is the thing: I am doing the best I can.
That is the kicker. That is why I was scared to show myself to the world. If you are doing the best you can, and it isn't "good enough," then what? That really causes a dilemma.
In this particular case, I have come to embrace where I am at any given moment. And not only do I embrace it, I share it with the world so they can see it. I do it as a form of personal release and understanding, but I also share it so that another may benefit from it in some way. I am certain that many of the things I share have themes of life that are relatable. I am certain, in part, because I have been told by others not in similar circumstances that they can relate - several times.
Often I have said that my blog and book are about life and living. A person once asked me what she might be missing, as she felt that all I talked about was cancer. I think cancer is a filter, like being a woman is a filter. How I write, and how I experience life is through a filter called "woman." I can't do it through a filter that is "man" because I have not had that experience, and never will. The day cancer showed up, so did that filter. That means cancer underlies everything. It is impossible for it not to, as it affects everything. But just because it is there, doesn't mean that I am only talking about cancer in the same way I wouldn't always be referencing that I am a woman.
Added to this, and to further complicate the issue, I purposely talk about "cancer" in a way that I wouldn't talk about "woman." I do it, in part, because there is so much about the cancer experience that many do not talk about, and therefore is not understood by those who have no personal experience of it.
I feel called to be that mouthpiece. In some ways, I absolutely hate it. In other ways, I feel it is important and necessary, and I feel driven to share - and so I do. But just because I use cancer in a sentence, it does not mean that what I am saying does not in some way apply to other people who are not dealing with cancer.
I have said previously that cancer is life on steroids. The fact is, that is both literal and figurative. In the figurative sense, everything about life and relationships is that much greater, profound, problematic, urgent, and much more than when one is not dealing with it. It is like a constant spotlight, and if you have a wound, it is that much bigger and noticeable than it would otherwise be. It is also not likely to be something you could avoid, even though others might be able to, and maybe you used to be able to be one of those people.
An illness like cancer can have the possibility to turn a person's world inside out. Everything is still there, it is just that nothing looks or feels the same.
I did not quite realize how ugly things might become when I vowed to myself to be myself. It has often been difficult to say what I really feel, but ultimately I often do it any way. There are times I want to say more, but I don't. The fact is, it probably comes across any way, as we have the ability to pick up on stuff from others - even when it is not said.
There are times I want to say, "fuck you" to those who sit back and judge me, and likely can, but won't help. I have stopped short of it because it wouldn't be right, or pretty. I also think about how so much of life is more about ourselves than others, and since that is such an extreme reaction, it probably is something that belongs more to me than anyone I might direct it at.
There is a lot of stuff I deal with in my head, and it is hard to sort it all out. Many just have no clue what I am dealing with, and yet will judge by what they think they know. If they were ever in my situation, I am not sure they could do things much better, or differently. And when I say "my situation," I do not "just" mean cancer. I mean everything that has come along with MY experience, and with having the life I have led.
It doesn't work if you compare based on only one piece, or superficial pieces, of the puzzle. It doesn't work, ever, really. But we still do it. We still make comparisons that really aren't complete, or fair. And making a comparison is one thing, but what we do with it, another. And often, what we do with it isn't always something that falls into the "good" or "helpful" range.
I guess I am doing something "right" in that there are people I did not even know 3 years ago who have come into my life in a big, and supportive way. I feel very blessed to know them, and know that part of the reason they have shown up is because of who and how I am. Not only that, but they actually like me. They are a small - yet mighty and loving - contingent. If a heart's desire could make all right in one's world, I would be healed by now. No question in my mind about that.
I got not great news yesterday. Am sorting things out in my head. I feel like changes are coming. If you are interested in staying in tune with what is going on with me, please be sure to bookmark this blog and/or Patreon.com/jolope (better yet, become a patron...you can do it for only $1 per month. If you would like to give more, though, I doubt anyone would stop you. :p)
For those who love and care about me, and have been supportive, please know that with every piece of me there are no words that can express my gratitude. Yes. There are times I may forget to thank you. Yes. There may be times I have an attitude. There are times I may be angry. Stressed. Depressed. There are times I may inadvertently say the "wrong" thing. There are times I might be really ugly. But in the midst of all of that, I am so incredibly grateful for those who have given of themselves. I am so incredibly grateful to those who allow me to be all of the things I am, and love me any way. I am so grateful to those who are willing to face their own fears about my potential demise, and are still willing to stand with me.
You are very special - not only to me, but to the world. The world needs more people like you. In some ways, you may even be better than I ever was able or willing to be. I love you very much.
You should see my ugly tears right now.