i wrote a good chunk of this while sitting in line to get gas. ya know, in this gas crisis that just happened. whatever didn’t happen then, happened in the waiting room of the local hospital early in the morning last week. during an unplanned emergency visit. i will spare the details of my emergency room visit because it’s not super relevant other than it solidifies exactly what i am going to brain dump right here. and whatever didn’t happen then, happened in bits and pieces over the course of today. and yesterday, who am i kidding? and when i wrote this, it was more of a stream of consciousness than anything else. me, being my own personal therapist in my drives alone. man, if my honda civic could talk; i am certain it would have some shit to say about me and my drive thru therapy sessions with me, myself and i. but anyways, there are days that make me feel like i deserve the life that i had. the one before cancer and the virus and the scary world i face everyday. because the truth is, the space i am in now is laced with trauma. from head to toe. trauma surrounds every move i make, every decision, every turn, every event. it follows me up the stairs and into the small crevices of my life. and i find myself stunned to find it everywhere i look but that’s because trauma shoves you out of your seat. it forces you to navigate without any of the things you had or thought you’d have. and in no greater sense of a word; that’s hard. and, you guessed it- unfair. i didn’t choose this life. and before you at me, i realize how stupid it sounds; to tote on about life being unfair. because life has always been unfair. its unfairness did not suddenly change. that’s been the narrative this whole time and life presents itself as unfair to others also. in big ways. in unfair ways. in big, unfair ways. and i recognize that. which is why i am saying this: that we don’t deserve it. and let me use this opportunity to remind you that comparison is not a game i like to play. i don’t like to stack my cards against others. i don’t want to say that what i am going through is more or less than someone else. because when someone hands you their truth, it’s not our place to dismiss it or question it or disregard it. it’s their truth. and the unfairness, it’s hard. it’s ugly. and while we don’t have to accept it, we do have to adjust. and sometimes i think that’s the worst part. moving your old self and your old aspirations out of the way for the unfair bullshit to settle in and unpack its bags. that’s the unfair part. the shifting of the tides. the transformation tuesday that nobody asked for. the tides. the ones that sweep you up outta nowhere in the middle of the day on a tuesday. and sometimes, it feels like the storm isn’t letting up. that the current is just too strong for me. that this shift from cancer to healing is harder than i bargained for and while this place is less awful than treatment; it’s not any less hard. because the currents pummel me sometimes. i will be breezing by and then hit out of nowhere by this high tide. the sting of the waves hitting me back to square one. every time i stand up, the current shifts. pulling me out too far. that’s healing. that’s survivorship. watching your whole life slip into the abyss. swimming to shore with your bare hands. entering safe harbor. only to be wrenched into current driven deep waters every now and then.
being deathly ill twice in less than a year. that takes so much from you. your strength, your energy, your brain power. it forces you to sacrifice who you are for who you will become. that sounds like something mufasa would say to the pride land. but you get what i am saying. or maybe you don’t. and that’s okay. because i feel like it’s taken me an eternity to write this. because the me that existed before is gone. like every shred of her. gone. and that’s a big deal. a big loss. a big thing to process. she and i; we got along. we were proud of each other when it mattered and hard on each other when we shouldn’t have been. we were always improving and always self aware. we were always reflecting and always looking out for everyone. we were always trying to be better but very rarely sitting still. always awake, always tired. always emotional. always worried. and maybe the new version gets to be less of those things. maybe the new version gets to revamp some of those things. but it’s still hard. to watch the tide swiftly pick up one version and set down another on the shore. the tides. always pulling shit back out to the ocean. the current. too strong for me. between the push out to sea and the pull back to shore, i am having a hard time. and i know, i know it doesn’t look that way all the time. and that’s probably because the time between high tides and low tides varies. i can’t set my watch to it anymore. there are moments like last night, where i fully collapse on my shower floor. as the hot water burns my feet but i can’t stop sobbing at the jagged incisions and the pulling and tugging happening at my scalpel created belly button. sobbing on the shower floor. holding the wall. bringing me back to the dozens of times this has happened in the last year. the most memorable was three days after chemo. and again the night my hair fell out. again during round four. and three times during round five. the night i started home hydration. again the day after christmas. again the day after my first vaccine. the day before my mastectomy. the morning of. three weeks after my mastectomy. last week. last night. the tides were high in those moments. the tide was high last night and again today. the current practically dragging me off the shoreline. and sometimes, the water dips low. low for someone in recovery from an infectious disease that had a follow up cancer diagnosis. low for someone four months into remission. low for someone who is drained from fighting and healing and fighting and healing. because healing is also a battle. one that gets waged every morning and settles each night. it’s self versus self war. the old self barely able to stand up against the new self. but there is so much pride at stake. so much identity at stake. so much to lose. not sure of all the gains.
but the tides, they never stop. sometimes they come at equal pace. sometimes, once an hour. sometimes they are worse when my memory fails me or when a trigger occurs. sometimes a high tide happens when i pass the mirror and don’t recognize the choppy haircut and swollen abdomen. the haircut everyone says is cute but makes me cry. because it’s a daily reminder of the loss. and all that the waves of cancer has washed away from me. sometimes a high tide hits me as i scrub my collarbone in the shower. instantly taking me back to the time i sobbed for fourteen minutes straight in the shower three days after chemo treatments began. i called my mom immediately after, still swaddled in my blue bath robe. demanding to know why the universe picked me. but sometimes when i touch my collarbone and feel the foreign object that sits surgically stiff under my skin, it forces me back to that day. high tide. low tide. tides in between. but regardless of how low or how high the tides are or how strong the pull of the current is, these are my truths. these are my days. this is my ocean. these tides, they have a way of carrying me. gently through a few days and roughly through others. sometimes it’s a breeze and i just wanna grab my french fry pool float from five below and carry on. other days, i feel like i need captain jack sparrow and to close my eyes for a week.
but my life has always had tides. mostly unnoticeable until recently. the tides always come. the current is often strong. but i am capable of manning my own ship. even when the waves are rough. even when it feels impossible. the tides never stop.
but neither do i. xoxo.