I must admit, I've been a little frustrated lately. Since the beginning of the year, it's been back to back sickness for me and my family. I am beginning to feel a little like a castaway trapped on a raft in the middle of a vast sea. Occassionally I spy land–a small speck of steady earth upon which I can land my raft and stretch my legs–but just as I get my balance, another typhoon hits, and I am washed out to sea once more. It feels unending. Disheartening.
Last week, I was struck with a small amount of vomiting, a large amount of nausea, and a huge amount of fatigue for an solid week. I slept like a feline; lifting my head only to use the restroom and take sips of water. It was awful. I hate being bedridden. That's my raft. And my family has been along for the ride as well. Both my husband and my son had a traditional flu…a nasty one that left my usually lovey man very grumpy at being sole care giver to a son who's mom lay in a coma only a room away. We were pretty snippy with each other by the time we hit day 5.
I just am tired of being tired…and sick. And in pain. A person can only handle so much.
So today, with land fully in sight–not just a strip or a small patch but a pretty big island from what I can see before me–I am beyond excited. I want to go to Legoland with my son. I want to overhaul my house. I want to….
But I have to stop and just take a breath. I know that it's a delicate balance I am dealing with here. I need to take it one small, slow step at a time. I have to….it's been a long time since I've touched shore. I need to find my legs again.
So I'm blogging outside of a coffee shop…soaking up fresh air. Maybe I'll wash a load of laundry and play a little with my son once he gets out of preschool. And take lots of breaths. And pretend that I have all the time in the world. Cause I have to. I have to keep living like this will all be ok. Cause it always is. Cause I will make it be.
It's been one of those days. One of those days where you don't know exactly when the train derailed but where suddenly you find yourself one with a brick wall. Tired. Drained. Angry at everything and nothing at all….and just sad. It's a day where my physical resources are just tapped and my mental resources never really existed in the first place.
I yelled at my son today…more like raised my voice…but yelling for me.
I sighed more often than I breathed.
I smiled through a clenched jaw.
It's not one thing…I actually didn't have a bad day. It's just the accumulation of sick days upon sick days. It's a sick kid who's stir crazy. It's Valentine's day suddenly upon me before I'm ready for it and the mad scramble to make sure I can show my husband that he's important. It's being in the grocery store surrounded by a sea of pink and red…flowers and balloons… and suddenly realizing that I will never be able to buy my mother a rose again. That deep punch in my soul that came out of nowhere. It's my heart breaking. My motivation wavering. My self criticism peaking. It's…
time to fucking take a breath.
I'm alive. My son and husband are alive. Happy and alive. I'm sitting here at a coffee shop after a mad rush to get out…escape for just a minute and breathe. I'm here reminding myself that while it's ok to panic…ok to break…that I'm extraordinarily lucky. That my life is easy. My art still comes at my will. My love is overflowing. That I don't have to scrounge for my next meal. That I was able to choose to have the craziness that is my life. I am so very fortunate. Tomorrow, I have love to share with others who love me just as much back. I am soooo lucky.
I just needed a moment off the merry go round to remember that.
A moment to sift through my blogs to see a photo of a family that are hugging their child for the very last time here. To have my soul punched again back into proper perspective. I'm breathing again and I'm now sending my love mentally to another family who needs it much more than mine now. Damn…
It's a question I've asked and answered a lot over the years.
In silly magazine quizzes sent by well-meaning friends
In long, angst-ridden diary pages riddled with self doubt.
But it's a moot question because I am ever a work in progress, a moldable ethereal being that sometimes folds in on itself in guarded innocence and sometimes expands outward towards change and enlightenment.
I am sometimes nothing and more often times everything.
And that's because I have, from birth, defied labels.
I was supposed to be a boy. I wasn't…but some part of my dad never realized that.
I was supposed to be a quiet, subservient little girl because I was such a good girl. I wasn't. I followed the rules until they chained my spirit and then I fought like a caged lion.
I was supposed to be an awkward mouse because I was a “nerd”. But I wasn't. I wore clothes that broke the molds, make up that looked exactly like the models, and danced like rhythm had me, and not the other way around.
I was and always have been daring, well-spoken, fierce, loving, loyal, hard working, artistic, logic minded, soft-skinned, compassionate, strong, and prone to thumbing my nose at convention. I have always said that life is an illusion…social conventions made to be changed. You make the rules because there are no rules.
And I do this even when I am actively trying not to. And man, have I tried to change…long ago when I hated all that I was. I don't anymore.
Because that is me. Red hair. Sparkling, curiosity-filled eyes. Passion dripping from every single word…every single thoughtful gesture. A deliberate life. A beautiful life.
My son is just like me. Full of laughter, angst, humor, brilliance. He is all lights and darks and all the subtleties in between. He defies definition. My love for him defies words.
And it is through that love that I learned the truth. Because it was in that struggle in which, at first, I found myself trying to define him…that I ultimately looked in the mirror and let go of my own boxes. Saw myself as the truly wonderful whirlwind that I am. Cause I can't love him while continuing to hate his reflection. My face that stares back through his gorgeous, sparkling eyes.
God, he's beautiful. And so am I.
So someday, when he's busy shirking off the labels that less dynamic people will stick on him. When he's wondering if he's ok…I will tell him that I used to stop the car at lights, turn the music up and dance with wild abandon outside my car in front of everyone. That I have painted masterpieces. That I've written a novel. That I've traveled 1000 miles to help a friend steal back his cat. And all of these are just a fragment of a very crazy, mixed up, brilliant spirit that is his mother. The spirit I gave to him.
And then I will dare him to push it even further. Because he can. Because he will.
A bundle of energy that never sleeps…never really rests.
Even in pain…even in sickness, I am constantly seeking, thinking, problem solving. It is both a gift and a curse. I often get to see the world in a unique way, layered in physics, microbiology, cosmology, sculpture, paint, music, philosophy, and words. And yet it never rests, never ends. I problem solve in my sleep. I break down from the sheer intensity, weight of it all. But fuck, I love it.
And lately, after all this new self acceptance….I seem to have shifted into an entirely new gear. I feel like I'm kind of almost manic. But it's a controlled mania. It's awesome. But exhausting.
My mother's death almost seems like a catalyst to it all. And I feel so guilty for being happy about it.
She used to say that I was exhausting. That my brain…my frenetic thoughts were too much.
That she wished that I wasn't this way. That it hurt her that I was so different. Not able to fit in.
She I was too intense, too emotional….too everything. Couldn't I just tone it down a bit?
and so without my choosing it…I think I did. Your mother's opinion can do that.
But now she's gone.
And I'm changed. I've let go and actually am curious to see what a truly unfettered me will do.
and I'm scared as well. I don't know me without chains.
Have you seen “Frozen?
There is a song that resonates with me…it describes perfectly the feeling that has pervaded the last few weeks of my life. It is the song that makes my heart leap with optimism. I'm free…now let's see what I can do!
It's been a slow start to the year. I would have loved to be able to start the month off illness-free, stress-free, and fully-revved to start fresh and take the world by storm. But it was molasses slow…full of a bad flu, flare pain, and a sick kiddo that is reaching his teenage rebellion at age four. The me from a few years ago would be tempted to call it quits and write off 2014 already at this rate. But I won't.
Everyday all over Facebook, friends post massive, photo-laden chronicles of their new fitness boot camps, clutter-purged houses, and new found determination. They have taken-charge, reformed and made-over their lives virtually overnight. I should be jealous, beating myself up for all that I haven't done…haven't changed. But I'm not.
Instead, I am feeling the gentle pull of a slow building momentum…
For years now, I have been Sisyphus. The rock before me impossible and yet time and time again I rolled its massive, crushing weight uphill hoping that sheer will would finally allow me to push it over. That I might earn the right to my freedom. That somehow I would earn the right to love myself and finally allow myself to be happy. To love my life.
But the rock never went anywhere.
I never went anywhere.
I was a hamster in a wheel. Filling my time with impossible tasks that would give me the right I was born with.
The right to be. Just be.
I don't have to be a great artist, writer, daughter, mother, or wife to be worthy of life and my happiness. I don't have to be successful, rich, thin, sporty, organic…anything at all to be worthy of the simple right to own my space. I simply need to be. To breath my own air. Wake in my own space. And that is enough. Everything else is the kind of bullshit that holds me back from everything I already am. That I was born with.
I am everything I want to be already. Because I'm me.
And that knowing, coupled with my mother's death has finally let me fucking drop that goddamn rock! Hell, I've even gotten off the goddamn mountain!
And instead, I've decided to try a little downhill excursion instead…gently letting my own gravity, the pull of my own heart slowly build up speed so that I might let it take me where I was meant to go. No more giant tasks, impossible goals… Just the gentle rolling of my own momentum.
And I'm already gaining ground….in inches…and then a couple feet. And maybe by next year, I'll be somewhere new, who knows? But what I do know…I will be enjoying the journey a hell of a lot more. Cause who the fuck doesn't like rolling down hills?
So here's to me ditching the damn rock… I hope you do too…
And when you do, come join me…I'll be writing some awesome books, painting beautiful pictures, and playing with my beautiful family with a big ol' smile on face, laying in the soft,green grass of the biggest hill I can possibly find and rolling down till I'm so full of happy that I explode.
I wonder what that would look like posted on Facebook? 🙂
I was just looking at my New Year's resolutions and it dawned on me that it is a post, in and of, itself. That perhaps there is someone out there in my exact space that might benefit from my realizations. So I'm just going to put them out there as is…may they help you on your own journey…
1) Read a lot of inspiring stuff(one book or article about art, loving yourself, being happy….a week)…a lot. Let it sink in and mold me.
2) Try to be happy 88 percent of of the time. I want to let myself enjoy my life. (my personal favorite!)
3) Write my children's book. (I realize not all of you are into that sort of thing…but hell, why not write one just for fun?)
4) Keep working on my novel. Break it down into smaller, manageable chunks and make it a real job. Start working myself up to an hour a day…then two… (yes, I'm working on two books….what of it? Did you think I'm just a really lazy blogger? Well, yeah…but that's besides the point!)
5) Try to be more aware of the passage of time. Check my calendar everyday. Assimilate the day and month and really try to be present.
6) Slowly work myself into a 30 minute a day exercise routine for the first six months…and then by June, work up to an hour a day.
7) Really spend quality time with The Cute. Work out a routine of homework. Coloring, activities, and play with him…and only think about him while I'm doing it.
8) Stop multitasking. I want to do one thing at a time and be extremely good at that one thing.
9) Blog. A lot. (shut up…I'm working on it. 😛 It's about building momentum…not being perfect from the start….It's a muscle that I need to build up)
10) Stop beating myself up. Love myself unconditionally. Everyday. Compliment myself everyday and breathe. I want to smile at myself when I wake up. I want to accept myself wholly and stop thinking of myself as broken.
11) Stop being consumed by fear and worry. I think this will happen when I start loving myself, stop multitasking, stop rushing, and judging myself. My life is just beginning. I am a child being born with an endless lifetime to try and enjoy it. I am a beautiful new being as innocent and perfect as my son. My life is one worth savoring. (why eleven? Why the fuck not? 🙂 )
So there you have it…eleven goals that I am reaching for. Do you know why I wanted to post these? Why I'm so proud of them? Because for the first time, I made ones that I really want to do. Really want to accomplish. Not stuff I want to do to earn my own love…my own validation. They are because I already do love myself…and validate myself. For the first time in my life, I know that I can do these…I have faith in myself. I don't know when the switch tripped, or how…, but it did. And I hope it does for you. 2014 may be another difficult year. I might get sick, I might trip and stumble…but I've already won! I'm looking forward to spending so much time with myself and my family, chasing my dreams and loving my life.
So it’s been a while since I’ve posted…not that anyone is really reading this. But if you are, I was in a pause due to the cyst in my brain. But now that pause is indefinite so I’m going to have to get over it.
I learned on Friday of last week that it’s kinda inoperable without doing some serious damage. And that it probably will stay put all nicey nice like. Probably. At least that’s what I think the surgeon meant. But I really can’t be sure.
Cause he was by far, the strangest, fucking man I have ever met. And that’s saying a lot if you know the people who I am lucky enough to meet. This guy was a caricature of a caricature of an eccentric surgeon. And that wasn’t a typo. Imagine, if you will, a man sits next to you. A man who you hope has the answers to what to do with a thing that’s in your head threatening to destroy your calm and your hearing. Imagine that man gets uncomfortably close to you…like an inch or two from your face…and you don’t really care cause, “fuck!Just tell me my options already”….and then he begins to talk whilst intermittently licking his entire mouth with his entire tongue every three seconds or so. And he’s fucking in your space…inches from you with that giant tongue undulating. And you are trying to concentrate on what he’s saying so you try to focus on his eyes… but oh shit, he’s now got facial ticks with his goddamn eyes that are making you dizzy. And he’s talking like the caterpillar from Wonderland except less coherent. And you think…fuck, you know this has to be a joke…so you look around the room to see the cameras and then glance at your husband for a reality check. But one look from your husband, who’s desperately trying to keep it together, and you know that it’s real and now you have to try to keep it together cause you can’t guffaw and get the answers you want… And you are so pissed, though, cause fuck, can’t you just once get a medical professional that isn’t certifiable. But hell, it’s funny and after the week you’ve had, well…you’ll take funny over doom and gloom.
And that sirs and madams…is my life in the medical community in a nutshell or nuthouse if you prefer. It’s shit like this that makes me realize that no matter what, I’m fucked. I think I need to scan it in 3-5 years…but I’m not sure cause this guy hates scans. And it might take my hearing overnight…or it might not.
And before you even ask…of course, I’m going to get a second opinion. I just need a week to get the image of tongue out of my head first.
So there’s that. I’ll deal with real life in the next post cause even telling that story makes me tired. Someday it will make me pee my pants laughing. I’m sure. But right now…yawn.
“The neurosurgeon will let you know if he or she believes that the lesion is a cholesterol granuloma (it may not be, the radiologist also said it could be another type of benign growth called a mucocele).” -quoted from the email I received from my dr today.
So I was right about there being something but it isn’t cancer. For that I am very grateful. But like the Lupus diagnosis…the real answer is gray. I have a lesion in my brain. And I think it is somewhat large with the rushed time scale of everything. And it probably needs to come out. I am absolutely terrified.
However, my husband did the dirty deed of looking up the details surrounding my latest health issue…and it’s better than what I first thought. Both are benign cysts. And in the info my husband found…it can sometimes be removed through the nose instead of the full open the brain type operation that leaves me feeling beyond petrified. So it’s much better than I imagined. And yet, I find little comfort in it. SOMETHING IS IN MY BRAIN, PEOPLE!!! And if left to grow…it can kill my hearing in that ear along with a bunch of important nerves. I can’t deal with this. I won’t look things up till tomorrow.
This year is…fuck it….this past four years has been something out of a movie. Stress upon stress upon stress. And as I have nothing left to say on the brain lesion that is making me shake…well, I think I will list off all the crap for posterity.
So the past four years have included but are not limited to the following(some may be out of order due to my fuzzy state of mind at the moment):
1)During my pregnancy, my pain skyrocketed. My hips would lock, I developed carpal tunnel, and I was sick like a dog through most of it.
2)Same Pregnancy, I had to finally close the chapter on my father who is from here on known as The PsychoDad…I finally told him to fuck off after he pulled a couple of mental fucks too many (The abusive asshole is a blog post unto himself).
3)The Cute was born and was immediately and horrifically colicky for 4 straight months. He also couldn’t get the hang of breastfeeding. I ended up pumping for six months instead.
4)I didn’t sleep for more than 2 hour stretches for 2 years(no exaggeration…between pregnancy and colick and my illness.
5) My pain quadruples. I go through months of horrible drs that do very questionable things that have now given me a serious phobia of all things medical related to me.
6)My husband and I start to fight under the stress.
7)My mother goes through a series of hospitalizations and events which diagnose her with an inoperable cyst in her kidney that makes regular blood transfusions necessary. She tends to use her illness to create worry in me than berates me(i.e.tells me to go fuck myself and other lovely sentiments) when I worry. She’s a peach. But I love her anyway..cause…Mom.
8)The apartment next to us burns down in flames while I watch to make sure it doesn’t spread to ours. Later I find out that I watched as an entire family of four children and one adult die…the wife/mom is the only survivor. Being a new mom at the time…well it stills haunts me.
9)My beloved cat dies…she was seriously my child. I still mourn.
10)We start to have financial difficulties due to copays and not enough work coming in.
11)We move back to our families and move into my in-laws guest house.
12)Said in-laws hate me and take every opportunity to make me feel unwelcome (Although I do appreciate the help so I put up with it with a smile and usually a cupcake). I shouldn’t worry though, the MIL hates pretty much everyone.
13)My mother almost dies from a combination of blood loss and a severe infection.
14) At the same time as my mother is fighting for her life, my gallbladder decides to tank and I have to have emergency surgery to remove it. Have a horrendous hospital stay confirming my fear of doctors.
15)I have a nervous breakdown and almost lose my family.
16)My inlaws do something horrendous on Easter…so much that I actually left with The Cute….That shall not be named.
17)My husband and I almost divorce in the aftermath. Luckily we pulled through.
18)Diagnosed with Lupus.
19)Diagnosed with a Brain Lesion.
I think if I hit 20…I’ll need to check myself in.
And that my friends was only the big highlights. Believe me, I know it could be worse. We could have been that family. I could have a malignancy. But it’s just the sheer number of stressful events that is just beating away at me. And far from writing it down to dwell, I keep this list to remind me that it’s normal that I’m taking this so hard. That I’m doing ok in light of the circumstances. But damn, I need a break…cause I’m scared out of my wits and I’m dead tired.
So I did the MRI. And the stress is killing me in pain. This month has been the worst yet…calling for more meds than I’ve ever needed. I keep telling myself that it’s temporary but it’s been two months since my last relief. Usually I have dips in the pain. Sort of like contractions. Except measured in weeks. I usually have a week of flare and then a week off at least. It used to be a week on and two weeks off at least. But it’s closing in, and this last flare has lasted two months with scattered days of ok. Very exhausting. I know it’s a combination of the weather, illness, and stress but knowing why you are in pain doesn’t help the being in pain. I only hope that my new dr is understanding when I come begging for meds early for the second month in a row. Sigh. I hate doing that.
On the parenting side of life, the fourth was a little mellower then we planned…we went to a friend’s house later in the evening to have dinner and watch the fireworks over the county(my friend has a house that overlooks like three or four cities worth of fireworks). We had originally planned on going up into the mountains to show The Cute fireworks up close…but the weather was so hot and he’s so four…we reconsidered. He continued to not be that impressed with fireworks anyway…but I wonder if he might have liked them more if they had been up close. It was nice regardless and we left feeling satisfied on all fronts.
We did stop at the sister in-law’s party for a moment…they threw a massive pool party with a crap-load of their friends. It was honestly too much for me at this moment with my worry and flare so I was glad that my husband wasn’t keen on going to it as our sole fourth entertainment. They come from a different world than us…full of well to do people with perfect families. Not that ours isn’t perfect but I can’t help but feeling like we stand out like sore thumbs(or at least me). We are the alternative artsy types in a very conservative city. The Sisters were at least outwardly nice to me this time…but I always do feel like an afterthought. I know I would not be invited if I wasn’t with my family. I am not their type. I also say and do the most awkward things when I’m nervous which is all the time when I’m in their presence. So a quick cameo was enough.
We did watch a 3D movie on the fourth, snuggled up together in the air conditioning. That was a little slice of heaven. It was Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and I highly recommend it. Not only was it beautiful…it was a great story. I actually usually dislike the Ice Age series…usually a sea of white and full of gags..but this was a new take completely that was full of color and action. In 3D, it was a visual feast and full of family love and the coolest new character…a weasel named Buck, played by Simon Pegg. He was, as always, amazing.
But between breaking my iPad, and worrying immensely about the MRI, the 3D movies have been at least a partial distraction…apart from the moment in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs when it’s revealed that the main character loses his mother early. Oh gawd! For a moment, I was a mess and cursing the movie.
So now I wait. And wait. Hoping to hear good news…which usually means hoping to hear nothing till I finally go nuts and email my doctor and she says, “What’s wrong with you, I would have called you if there was something…relax…you need to diminish your stress”…and I say, to myself, “Fuck You… then you should have called me sooner to tell me I’m not dying” but instead write a lovey thank you and fall into a pile of relief and sweat.
The Cute and I have been spending the heat wave indoors… unfortunately still sick but at least amused by the new toys we wield. It’s been a banner week in regards to technology in the ol’ homestead and it’s made the cabin fever so much easier to deal with. First of all, we recieved our new 3D tv this week, and I can honestly say that I’m madly in love with the immersiveness it brings to our movie watching. It’s fucking amazing! I am in awe how far the technology has come since it first “popped” onto the screen in my early childhood. Gone are the days of gimmicky shocks and red and blue glasses. In its place are sophisticated and subtle additions to the movie going experience. So far, we have only a handful of 3D movies but I see that number going up steadily in the future. The Cute and my favorite is, without a doubt, Wreck it Ralph.
Additionally, the tv, itself, is so much nicer than our old one by a clear margin. It makes the regular blurays look stunning. We were unknowingly living in the dark ages with our old HDTV and now we are basking in the clarity. Well, at least I am!
I am such a technophile. I even have to admit to tearing up during our first glipmse of 3D in our bedroom. It is just so awesome to see how far things have come in the past twenty years. I still remember the big tube sets with the giant buttons. The hazy first viewing of Jaws 3D. And now this. Between my iPad, my 3D tv, and my Blu Ray player… I have died and gone to heaven.
And it doesn’t stop there… due to some hard drive issues, we have had to reformat my laptop, as of late. In the process, it was discovered that my Windows 7 disc had been misplaced during the move. So my husband decided to add a proverbial cherry on top of the techno sundae that is this week… he bought me Windows 8! Now at first, I was reluctant… I hadn’t been keeping up on it too much but the little I had heard about the new OS wasn’t encouraging but on second glance, it looked right up my alley. First it treats the laptop like a tablet… my complaints, lately, that the tablet technology seems to be quiickly eclipsing personal computer technology seem to have been addressed. Second, the fact that it’s made for touch capability means that paired with a Splashtop Remote Windows App…well, let’s just say that I’m typing this whole post on my HDTV from the comfort of my bed via my iPad!
So now I have a touchpad remote driven 50″ screen laptop that also plays 3D movies. Does it get any better? I think not!
So while it sucks that I seem to be getting sicker rather than better… and it sucks that I have a brain MRI tomorrow to check for tumors that’s freaking me out… and it sucks that my toddler is going through some sort of demonic possession (cabin fever meets the terrible fours), at least I have some grade A spectacular escapism to distract me from all that I can’t seem to control at this very minute. And if that’s all I get this week, well then, I’ll take it and be thoroughly grateful.