Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's been an exercise in self-control for me not to just crawl back into bed every day. The fact that I work six out of seven days a week is in itself enough of a demotivator. Sunday's my only day off, but it's usually spent catching up on things I didn't get done at home while I was working (how a house can fall apart in just a couple days is beyond me!), and doesn't really provide any chance at relaxation since I have to turn right back around and be at work at a quarter to six the next morning. Yes, I know. Poor me. Blah blah blah. I suppose here is the only place I feel like I can really talk about this stuff. Nobody I care about cares to hear about it, and if they say they do, they're surely lying, or humoring me, or whatever. No matter how much I try not to be, I'm still seen as the selfish one. Nobody has asked me how I feel about my sister's situation, except my mom and brother, and I don't know how to talk to them about it. I know my parents are having a tough time, and understandably so. But I hesitate to reach out to them. Am I afraid of actually seeing how this is affecting them? Am I trying to be the strong one? I isolated myself from them when I was sick, too, declined their offers to accompany me to treatments, etc. I can handle it on my own, I told them. And I did. But was it better for me to sit alone in that chair while life-saving poison was being pumped through my veins? Was it better for me to sit with my headphones on, privacy curtain drawn halfway to obscure the suffering of those around me whose situations were far worse than mine? The couple of times someone did come with me, I could tell they really didn't want to be there in the first place.

I've got about an hour before I have to start getting ready for work, and I won't make it home again until after dark. Once I'm there, I'm usually fine; the hardest part's building up the motivation to go. It's a coffee shop day, and I do enjoy making fancy drinks and cooking up delicious sandwiches for people, but it's not at all in line with the vision I have for myself. Neither is sitting at a desk taking registrations and being more or less sedentary for hours (my other job). My vision includes not working for anyone and being able to explore my passions and interests freely and without obligation to anyone but myself, hubby and dogs.

Speaking of hubby--he turns 40 in just under two months, and I still haven't decided what to do for his birthday. As it's a rather significant number, I want to do something special, but unfortunately my funds are pretty limited. I'd love to transform the big room in our basement into the man cave he's been talking about, but that'd be tricky. I know it's possible to do things on a shoestring budget, but then I run the risk of doing something he doesn't like, but has to live with because it was a gift. I'd thought about doing something simple like putting up drywall and buying a dartboard or other game to put down there--in other words, getting it started for him, but leaving it more or less a blank slate. I'd need more than just drywall, though; I'd need the framework for it as well (and him to be away from home for about a week), and that's already beyond my budget. I also thought about buying him a dry bar for entertaining. After doing some searching, I've come across a couple reasonably priced ones (if it can be considered reasonable to spend the majority of my earnings on a piece of furniture), so that may be what I go with.

Getting down to the wire now. I could talk more about my disillusionment with adult life, lost friends, and unattainable dreams, but I'll save those for future posts. Maybe. I need some good news.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The wind that rattled our windows last night has died down, and the sun is shining, but still my boss told me not to come in and open at the coffee shop this morning because she didn't expect there to be too many people venturing out today. Not saying I'm complaining about the unexpected day off, just that maybe we're overreacting a bit about this weather. Yes, the windchill is -30, and I'm not saying we should all strip naked and go jump in the snow, but all the school/business closings, etc. seem a bit overboard to me. I never remember getting 'cold days' when I was in school. We wore warm clothing and got on with it. I could go on about how kids are coddled way too much these days, but I'll spare you the soapbox rant. Boy, do I sound old.

Anyway, I'm sitting on the couch in our living room and have opened the shades on all six windows to let the much needed light in. Of course, now I'm complaining quietly to myself about how bright it is (we're never happy, are we?). Usually, I'd have a dog on each side of me keeping me warm, but they followed hubby upstairs to bed a few hours ago, so I've settled for one of the many blankets I have folded in a basket on the floor. While I'm here, though, I may as well indulge the thoughts that had me awake at 2:30 this morning:

The further away we drift, the more I'm learning how truly alike we are. It's sad, really: the desire to make more memories coupled with the knowledge that you can't. Never had a goodbye been so hard or hurt so much as when I got on that bus and watched you shrink from view through a screen of tears. I think I knew I'd never see you again. I've tried to keep the line between us open, but I can only stretch so far. I have my distractions: the day's first cup of coffee, a soft dog ear--but somehow life seems so much colder, emptier without you in it. I've always thought you had to fall in love a bit with your friends, and I did with you, more so than anyone else. I remember the first day of that class we had together nearly ten years ago when I chose the empty seat next to you. Your hair was teased high and tinged with pink. Through one ear you'd threaded a feather, and through the other a pull chain with a skull charm at the end of it. But your black lined eyes were warm. Later, after we'd gotten to know each other a little better, you said you thought you made people uncomfortable, chased them away. You were surprised that I still wanted to be around you. Well, look at you now, how much you're loved, and by how many. It only took opening yourself up a bit. I just happened to be in the right place when you decided to start. I'm happy to see you didn't stop. And I miss you. More than ever.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2007 revisted

a spine rears up
to strain someone toward new beginnings.
White to red shifts
as seeds are removed.
To be pitted is a thrill,
unless you're thrown away once tasted.
We all know that flowers sleep
by doubling up over themselves,
secreting every soft
until the night no longer touches them.
This is the slow descent of debris.
This is the incidental injury.
To suffer somehow is always a side effect.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

There's entirely too much working going on here as of late. Between the hubby's twelve-hour overnights and my two jobs (so glad I can say two, though, instead of three), it seems like neither of us is ever home. Or when one is, the other isn't. I don't know how to do anything these days besides sleep and work, and maybe eat something here and there. Even get-togethers with friends are overshadowed and seem harder to enjoy. My diet lately consists mostly of coffee and convenience food. I don't even cook for myself anymore. Realistically, I could be fixing a healthy meal when I'm by myself, and hubby could have delicious leftovers to look forward to the next day, but I'm lazy. I'll periodically get inspired on the rare occasion when we're off together, but since I work mostly closing shifts, and am off only one day a week, he does the majority of the cooking. And when he's not home, I eat badly. We did get a juicer for Christmas and have been trying to enrich our diets with much needed plant material, but produce is expensive. Even more so when you're juicing because you use it all within a couple days.

I had hoped this year would be off to a better start, but I guess I should get used to the fact that the older I get, the more bad news I'm going to receive. I've already attended one funeral this month. Then there was the news about my sister's cancer returning, and how if further treatment is unsuccessful, she's expected to only live about two more years. Hubby told me recently that I can be so depressing that even he doesn't want to get out of bed. I wish he understood how hard it is to stay positive in the midst of all this. I can't imagine what my parents are feeling right now. When I was diagnosed with cancer nearly four years ago, it was the first time I'd ever seen my dad cry. To have another of their children diagnosed with cancer within a couple years is too much. I'd be numb by now if it were me. This is partly why I don't think I want to bring children of my own into the world; I don't think I could handle it if something happened to them.

Of course, I worry about how what I'm doing or not doing is affecting my health. I made the switch over to natural personal care and cleaning products after my cancer experience, and while that's all well and good, it's only a piece of the puzzle. Ever since I started working again about two years ago, I've been to the gym maybe twice. And as mentioned above, my diet hasn't been the greatest for a long time. Sure, I got a complimentary membership when I started work at the park district last year, but that's easy to take for granted. And I don't like returning to a place I work when I'm not working, because, well...thoughts of it are tied to work stuff, and so that's what I think about when I'm there. And of course, all I hear from my coworkers when I'm there to work out is, 'Wow, you must really like it here if you come here even when you're off work!' I've been trying to force myself to go, but that's hard to do when all you want to do on your downtime is rest so you can be ready for the next workday. When I was unemployed, I had time to focus on those things, develop healthy habits. My time (at least when I was alone) was more or less my own. I miss that. But there was also a lot of resentment around the fact that I didn't work, and feelings of uselessness on my part because I felt more like a parasite than a partner. At least now I'm contributing something, however little. But work is nothing but a distraction. I was talking to a trusted coworker the other day about how I've considered all the jobs I've ever had a paycheck, and nothing else. It's hard to be passionate about part-time jobs that provide nothing in the way of personal fulfillment. I'm discovering I'm not career-oriented. Kudos to the people who live this way, but I have no interest in picking one thing and doing it for the rest of my life. I have a hard enough time picking something off the menu at a restaurant. I'm passionate about too many things, and that list is ever-growing and expanding. I don't think I'd ever be able to settle on one. Call me 'flighty'--I don't care.

I have yet to take our Christmas tree down, maybe because it's a reminder of brighter times, of days we can never get back.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Don't believe what they say for one minute. They know medicine, but they don't know the human spirit. Imagine yourself still here two years from now, then make it five, ten, twenty. I'm not saying believing it will make it real, but I do know that we can't let others tell us how to live or for how long.

Regardless of what happens, I want to say I'm thankful for what distance has done for us. You've been putting up walls for as long as I remember, but I finally feel like I'm finding doors through some of them. Not all, but some. Sure, there's the thread of unity that came with our cancer diagnoses, and the subsequent swapping of chemo stories, but it's more than that. After your double mastectomy, we talked on the phone for two straight hours, which is impressive considering our longest conversation before that had lasted about five minutes.

I can't imagine how scary this must be for you, and how disappointing--to have gone through hell and come out the other side only to be told that you have to do it all over again. It's likely the road ahead will be paved with even more uncertainty than before. I'm sure there'll be many times when you'll want to give up, when you'll wonder what the point of all this is. I can't tell you I know the answer to that, but I hope you can stick around to find out.


Your little sis

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Some have expressed concern over the fact that I'm 'getting rid of all my stuff.' Trust me, it's nothing to worry about. It's become necessary for me to eliminate the clutter from my life, to strip things back to the basics. Moving into a bigger house has had a contradictory effect on me; instead of buying more stuff to fill the new(ish) space, I've been striving to simplify. Most of my stuff was packed away at the old house, but still it had an effect on me (and not just because it was the only occupant our 'guest room' ever saw). Maybe my health crisis a few years ago changed me more than I thought, or maybe this is just part of growing up. Regardless, I welcome the change. I used to hold onto everything thinking I'd use it someday. I'm paying for it now by having to open every single box and look through it all one item at a time. It's been packed away and out of sight all these years and I haven't missed a bit of it, which means I probably won't miss it when it's gone either. Sure, I've experienced a wide range of emotions as I've read old birthday cards, flipped through college notebooks, thumbed through magazine clippings, cuddled with several of my old stuffed animals, etc. But none of it holds the same meaning to me anymore. The most that would happen if I kept it is that it would all go back into the boxes it came from and go right back into storage, and I'd continue to feel bogged down by unseen clutter for years to come. I'm at the point now where I can actually part with it without feeling regret; why not take advantage of it?