People I know see me and they seem uncomfortable, like all we can talk about is cancer. These are the younger people. They say, “Wow, so you’re done. Great.” And then the fidgeting begins. It’s frustrating to me that no one can talk about anything else. I try redirecting the conversation so I ask about plays they’ve read; try to talk about school, or ask about what they’ve been doing lately. I’m Irish and this “talk around everything” game comes naturally to me. Plus, if I get too into the cancer/chemo shit I either get angry about it or get sad. I mean, who wants to hear that I thought about killing myself for half the summer? No one, not even you.
Does everyone think I’m done? I do have surgery in four days. I’m not done. I was trying to figure out why I can’t develop a scene for my play. I can see what I want it to look like, and I have all these ideas for scene transitions, but I can’t write a scene. I tried asking a friend for advice or to at least test the waters with talking to her and getting some of this shit off my chest, but she was unreceptive. Everyone thinks it’s over so they can just act like I’m healing now and there’s nothing wrong with me anymore. I know it’s not over. I emailed someone who has often been the voice of reason for me this year, and asked for advice. He pointed out without beating around the bush that I’m still going through it; I’m in the middle of it. The funny thing is that I really am directly in the middle. I felt a transition about a week or so ago, like the haze lifting. But that haze wasn’t lifting to show me total clarity, it was lifting to show me the next half of my journey.
I have this excitement and nervous energy for school starting; I really want to experience it fully, but I wish I could get a vacation first (this summer does not count). I’m also desperately yearning to be lying on Christopher’s bed and be allowed to cry again. No one else in my life allows me certain acceptances like he does. I’m also yearning to sit in James & Shannon’s living room with their doggies jumping on me, eating vegan food, and talking about whatever is going on in their lives. And if I cry around them they won’t mind. And maybe most of all I long to see my niece Ashelei & my nephew Hawthorne. I haven’t seen Hawthorne in a year and he just turned three. Not to say I don’t want to see my other niece and nephew, but Ashelei and Hawthorne are fearless people; they both climb all over shit and don’t worry all the time. I was always worrying all the time. I want to be around fearless youth! Plus I told Ash that her hugs will help heal me so I’m really looking forward to her hugs. I miss home which is weird since I always hated it there. I miss the dolls and the figurines my mom left behind, and I miss the dust that covers every damn thing in that house. I even miss that musty-fart-urine smell that fills most of the rooms there. There really isn’t an inch of that house that doesn’t remind me of my mom. I miss her. I miss her more than ever now because she would talk to me if she were here, she would call me. No one else calls me. My mom would be here, or she would have been for a while anyway. I miss adults. I like talking to people who are my age. Well, older really since I’ve never actually been my age. I’ve always looked younger and acted older. I was born at the age of ten, meaning when I was born I was basically a ten year old. At three or four I knew I was smarter than my mom and I was confused why that was. She just never thought outside the box; her mind was convinced of certain things and she rarely changed her mind.
I have the opportunity, after going through this life altering experience, to literally alter my life. I want to and I say I’m going to, but here I am thinking I have to rush to let go of the cancer experience I just had, when in reality I am still having it. I did the same thing when my mom died. I tried to be okay and only cry the first few weeks. After that I said I should be over it, right? Then I realized it was only April and she had died in February. It hasn’t even been three years and it is totally okay for me to still be sad about her death. It’s also okay for me to be sad about my getting cancer; and to be angry about it; and to want to talk to someone about how I feel without them giving me advice or judging me for what I say or how much I speak. If I ask for advice then go ahead, but otherwise maybe you should just sit back and listen because I was already older than my age before, but now I feel like a wise old owl, and I may say something really fucking brilliant and if you miss it it’s your loss.
I have recently rediscovered a childhood joy of mine: swimming. I only have three days left to do it until I can’t for a long time after, but I plan to swim all three days until surgery. It’s given me another purpose besides acting. I’m seeing that I have to find a way to embrace my loneliness and accept that some people are friends but don’t need to be with me all the time, and that some people are just colleagues and we can work together and have fun, but that’s it. It’s okay to be alone. I am learning to be okay being alone because it makes being with other people that much more enjoyable.
This experience has not killed me, but it is not over by a long shot. I’m still in the middle of it, and that’s okay too. I’m at a transitioning point and as I transition I need to heal. I would like to make understanding a part of my healing. So, even though most people do not understand that I’m still in it, I understand that they don’t get it, but I’m okay with that. Everyone is doing as much as they can the way they can. I do wonder how my getting cancer really effected my friends and family. I’d love to know.