I’m doing better overall, mentally and emotionally. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that my dad seems to be stable. That’s my new word “stable.” People keep asking if I’m “better” or if he’s “better.”
I’m now clarifying, that to say “better” implies there’s overall improvement with the health. But really, it’s more about: are we having a good day? A good week? Are things stable? Is my pain at the baseline or out of control?
His color is so much better. So much better. Fuck. Who knows how long this stability will last, but I’ll take whatever we can, for however long it lasts.
It’s a lot of work making sure everything is stable, including the mind. I had no idea. I feel very humbled by my experiences lately. They make me more understanding and compassionate about mental health struggles. OMG it sucks to be going through it. I don’t even know I’m still going through it! I have an appointment scheduled with the trauma therapist! I’m concerned I’ll get weird news after the colonoscopy next week - I need to have things in place just in case….My feeling is that it’ll be fine. There isn’t much opportunity for food or starch, which I don’t eat, to sit in there and compromise the tissue.
But fuck. I have so much stress which doesn’t help. I do hope that the Vitamin C in the IV bags helps stave off the cancer. Who knows. Only time will tell.
I went to a Poly Meet-Up today! I know I know, burying the lede. I wasn’t sure I could manage it, on many levels. However, I slept a decent amount the last couple of days and I really wanted to go! It was the middle of the day, small and just women. Just a meet and greet - we were all looking for cool people to hang with which was lovely.
I’m drawn to these different communities because I find that people are respectful and great communicators. It frustrates me that there is so much misconception about so many “fringe” demographics, because I find that the people who are super into “dominating” the mainstream sector are not always the nicest people. Because. Of course, the Patriarchy is about dominance and hierarchy and rule following.
It’s amazing to me how “kindness” is something so valuable and unusual these days. I think people THINK they are kind…but well, that’s another post.
I was anxious, for sure. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve realized how much I used to use alcohol to manage my social anxiety. I don’t seem like I’d have social anxiety! I’m so outgoing and love chatting! But I still have it. It’s different than when I was younger. Then, it was about not wanting to look stupid, or wondering if I “fit in.”
Now, I get worried I’m going to be in a place without a bathroom, or get trapped like I did at the U Village and not be able to get home. Or, that I’ll be around insensitive people who aren’t helping me if I need help.
The timing of this one was perfect though.
It’s been interesting to think about how I can socialize now. What’s priority. My time and bandwidth is SO limited, I really think through: is this worth the energy it will take to drive there? Will I be able to leave if I don’t feel well? Surprisingly, I did consider whether this was a sober or non-sober event. It’s feeling more and more important to me to be around people that at least skew toward not drinking or not drinking much. A glass of wine or two or a couple of beers is very, very different than what I used to hang out with - which was a lot of day drinking and extreme drunkenness.
No judgment if that’s how people live their lives. It’s just not something I personally want to be around at this point in my life.
This got me thinking about how dangerous it is to narrate your own story without anyone else’s perspective. I can tell the truth the entire time, and omit the times I’ve been shitty. A shitty drunk. A shitty friend. A shitty lover. A shitty person.
I think about my days of heavy drinking and I was most certainly shitty during that era of my life. I’m sure I’ve been shitty in other experiences but alcohol was definitely when I had the least control over my temper, or used alcohol to TRY and bury my hurt feelings or anger, and of course, that never goes well.
Those feelings find a way to come OUT one way or another.
I wondered for a long time, why did I end up in that situation? Why did that friend group end up going the way it did?
Almost always, it came back to the partying. Hmmmm….let’s see. Let this brain of mine put TWO and TWO together.
It’s true that sometimes the people who are book smart can be not so smart in their personal lives. Guilty! I’ve been a damn fool in my personal life. Many, many times.
It’s important to me that I’m honest about that here.
I don’t feel right making it sound like I’ve ALWAYS been gentle with the male ego. Because I definitely had periods in my life where I was not careful.
Honestly, I forget a lot of things because of my brain - and well, a lot of my shitty behavior was when I was hammered. So I need to disclose that part of my story, even if I’m not proud of it.
I found a photo of my super sweet dog, Sandy from when I was a kid. My first instincts were to say: oh yay! I can write a story about him. Then my second reaction: oh no, if I do that, then I’ll have to share the shame around how he ended up being adopted by our neighbors. I still feel sick about it all these years later.
So I had to have a chat with myself about what I would and wouldn’t disclose in here. If I feel shame around something, then it’s definitely something I want to share. If something happens to me, I’d love for the kids to read these posts fondly and think I was a paragon! The sweet Auntie, the version of me they’ve known for their childhood, she was a kids cooking teacher and gave away the clothes off her back!
But I have a dark side and that temper….
Well, who doesn’t have a dark side? Does that person exist? Or is having demons and a dark side a part of being human? Maybe the ratios differ in each person? And the way it manifests differs? (Say me getting drunk and yelling mean things versus stealing from the till at a job? Is one really “better” or “worse” than the other? Or, are they at their core, just shitty things humans do? )
Who the hell doesn’t have some things they feel shame about? What kind of legacy would I leave behind if I didn’t share the bad memories? The shameful ones? I’m not ready to share the Sandy story. It literally is such a painful one for me, but I was so young and sick and…there were a lot of factors involved. He ended up having a good life.
Then my mind wanders to other things that make me feel shame. I think back to my heavy drinking days. New York City will do it to ya! I didn’t drink for most of my twenties because I was trying to heal my gut. I started drinking again at the end of my twenties and kept on going into my thirties. And did I keep on going!
I feel terrible even recalling that era because I was NOT always a good person. Drugs and alcohol will do that! I’ve admitted to bestie, and maybe a few others, only recently that I think it’s a miracle that I didn’t end up a full-on alcoholic. Honestly? I think it’s only because I don’t have the physical propensity for it. We think my dad’s dad’s dad was an alcoholic back in the Bronx during the Depression. My Papu had to quit school and start working at age 16 because his dad was apparently too drunk to maintain a job. But other than that, we don’t have a lot of addiction over here.
Cancer, yes. Medical problems, yes. Substance abuse, not so much.
I’ve read a ton of memoirs of recovering alcoholics. Which made me wonder. Why am I always reading these? Well, I do think that often they make great writers! The stereotype of the struggling artist exists for a reason.
But I can always quit, though so I didn’t think I had a “problem.” I’m really more on the codependent side of things, but I think it’s a good thing for me to at least explore and try to be as honest with myself - and others - about my struggles.
It’s good for me to be living a mostly sober life. I have maybe one beer every couple of months and that’s fine. I can do that and not crave more. Otherwise? Well, maybe getting so sick saved my life in other ways.
I can’t imagine what kind of path I’d be on now if I hadn’t been forced to live so clean, get into therapy and really work on myself. I definitely am proud of the headway I’ve made and the work I’m still doing.
It’s probably the best gift that cancer has given to me, getting my head clear. It’s caused a lot of mental anguish for sure! But it’s also forced me to reckon with things that I would have probably kept buried.
It is good that I’m being grateful for the cancer and wrote that on the fly just now.
I’ve had so many medical issues, I’ve learned as soon as you start to feel grateful, or maybe not grateful, but recognize how getting sick got me on the right road at least, sometimes the lesson goes away.
(Oh please please go away cancer I’m good now! Four times is a fine number.)
It was noticeable to me how much I’ve changed when I was in San Diego this last trip. So many people down there are into the drinking culture. When I moved to San Diego, I was still recovering from those melanoma surgeries. It really messed me up to have to heal such a large wound on my leg while also teaching on my life, not having a car, and living in a 3-floor walk-up.
It lengthened the healing process for sure.
So when I got to California, I was super focused on my physical health, no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol, running, yoga - though I’d do what I do now, a drink once in a blue moon.
Most people that I met there thought of me as a non-drinker which I was very proud about!
I found it not so easy to meet people that were sober at that time, but maybe that’s because I still carried that party vibe with me. The guy I spent time with ended up having a serious alcohol problem. It’s so interesting how well people can mask that for quite awhile. Until they can’t anymore.
I’m making a very special effort now to connect with people that don’t center their social activities around booze. I mean, I miss it. I’ll admit it. I miss the buzz. I miss feeling relaxed. I miss having the anxiety dulled. I miss feeling wild and fun. I like being in bars. To a point now. Depends. It didn’t used to depend. Any bar was a good bar. (Isn’t that something a recovering alcoholic would say? I don’t know!)
But over, and over, it’s apparent to me how being around that culture is just not good for me. Now that I’m thinking back to my own behavior during my wild days, I can see why.
It’s easy to be insensitive and thoughtless when drunk!!! It’s kind of the deal! There’s a reason why the 9th step exists in the 12 step program!!
I’ve apologized to some people over the last couple of years. Made sure to reach out and make sure things are cool with anyone I might have insulted, or… I don’t even know. I’m sure I upset people that I don’t remember. It’s both a curse and a blessing that social media wasn’t invented until I was 36? 37? Something like that.
That’s a lot of years to not be connected to people! I feel bad for the kids. But also jealous.
They’ll never lose touch with anyone.
Also, ugh, they’ll never lose touch with anyone.
There is also a lot of shame around disappearing. I’m watching the latest season of Easy (Netflix who, SUCH a fascinating show with interesting characters and realistic dialogue, I love the way they turn each episode into a different story about the same people each season, cool and unique approach) and one of the episodes starts with a women’s group (where do I find these cool women that are in this show!?!?!?!? The CLOTHES, the style OMG this is when I miss NYC and watching the young women in Brooklyn walk by, they always know the next fashion trend way before it shows up anywhere else) and one character says: I’m the cut-off Queen. If there is conflict, I bail.
Eeks. As soon as I heard that, I’m like: oh god. I have more apologizing to do. I don’t even have contact info for some people!
Yeah, so if I’m telling my life story here, I would be a remiss autobiographer if I don’t mention how I bailed on people too. Oh lord. Why couldn’t I just TELL people: I’m feeling so uncomfortable about x. I’m feeling hurt or anxious or this intimacy makes me feel like running to Antartica. Or my feelings are too big for me to even describe so I’ll just walk away instead. Eyeroll.
Just thinking about it makes me cringe on so many levels.
Today’s gathering reminded me of how much more shy and nervous I am in real life. I’m much more bold on here! And on my podcast! I will admit, part of why I put so much of my medical stuff and what’s going on here on the Internet is order to AVOID having the in-person conversations and sharing personal, or something that someone might be grossed out, or weirded out, or whatever. (How do you explain to someone that you have trouble pooping? I mean, how? I haven’t figured that out? I just say I had some cancer and I’m missing organs - that’s as far as I get - it’s kind of fair to want to share it here instead, right???)
That’s weird, right? That I’d rather share my most intimate details of my life on the FUCKING INTERNET instead of have a private conversation in person!?
I’m also someone that runs from intimacy while others run toward it so I guess this isn’t totally surprising.
I guess alcohol is a huge buffer from intimacy isn’t it? See, how this writing helps me figure shit out. Publicly, though. Why do I prefer that? Exhibitionist? (we’ll get to that another day) Wanting attention from being an ignored middle child? (Oh we’ll get to the trend of purposely having three children. It’s one thing if it just happens, but the fact that…ok, not now. I’m really trying to keep all these topics under wraps that I’ve been dying to talk about for so long. Oh, I don’t like using that phrase: I’m dying. Sigh. I need to finish this).
Yikes. I think I’m making so much headway, and then there’s a whole other level of dysfunction I discover in my OWN self.
I guess that’s why I’m looking forward to being challenged by this trauma therapist.
I must be making SOME progress because at least I can admit this shit. And I AM working on my communication skills. When I was having a conversation that wasn’t so easy for me to have with someone who had not been nice, I was able to say: listen, I’m all about honesty. That’s my brand, man. You can’t be surprised that I require honesty back. This hurt me and this is why….
Still hard for me. But I’m really trying!
My new friends from today were absolutely lovely. AND I got a party invite! Wahoo! To a really fun one soon! Dang Seattle. There are awesome people here who also like to socialize like me, it’s just a matter of getting to the right groups. This is when technology does help!
I’m just glad to have fun friends who are lovely and understanding about my health issues. That’s the most important thing for me. I’ve been super anxious lately that I’m pushing people away. I’ve been feeling like maybe all this disclosure of my mental health and not wanting to stick around has people running for the hills.
If being myself and sharing my truth makes people run away, I remind myself, then maybe the friendship wasn’t so solid in the first place. And if they had a friend or loved one that hurt themselves, I may trigger them too much and they need to protect their own mental health. I have to respect that. I must be respectful of THEIR need to create boundaries. Whew, that’s taken a long time for me to get to.
It’s still really painful for me though to wonder if people are “mad at me.” Or, maybe I said something insensitive or inappropriate! I’m having a lot of anxiety about what I’ve written in here, what I’ve said on my podcast. I worry about calling out classism, even though it needs to be done and the kids love it when I speak out on topics that few others will touch.
Oh man is it hard for me. I want to be liked by everyone! When I’m in that much pain as I’ve been lately, I have a harder time holding back my frustration - that’s pretty obvious! I can’t modulate it as well. I’m like a wounded animal and I’ll snarl and show my teeth.
I get it if it’s too much for some.
I understand. I do hope that maybe some are just giving me space to figure things out, and move through this rough period. I try to remind myself too - that some things come and go. Maybe we’re not supposed to be connected right now, maybe they’re going through own dark period. I need to be grateful for the crew I DO have. I’m lucky I have the support that I do. I’m very, very fortunate I have access to mental health professionals and have people who will fund it. THANK FUCKING GOD for that. I’m thinking about creating some sort of support group or women’s circle or something in this new space of mine!
Still need to see if these few days are an anomaly or not. It’s easier to let your guard down even after 48 hours of calmer waters.
We couldn’t tell. It’s been hard to tell.
If we were going to be planning a funeral or not. That’s a tough thing to be considering. Especially when it hasn’t been a long slow process, but a relatively quick one. I don’t think he was sure either.
They are watching some dumb regular TV police show right now on the couch, while I sip my soup and type this up. His color looks so much better. He’s not struggling to talk as much today. Who knows. It’s all hard to say.
I will enjoy the calm moments while I can. Ok, early walk today.
If anyone down the road reads this and I was shitty to you at some point - sober or not, and I do want to explore more about this possibility that maybe I haven’t been honest with myself about the extent of my substance abuse - I’m really sorry. I am very, very sorry if I bailed on you without explanation - ugh it’s something I’ve done more times than I can count and I’m not at all proud of it. I have such big feelings sometimes, I still have trouble knowing how to handle them! Manage them! Express them. Truly, I apologize if I wasn’t careful with your feelings, your heart, your ego, your own mental health issues, your mind, all of it. I’m so so sorry. I don’t wish pain upon anyone. I feel like I have to make people uncomfortable these days, in order to awaken them, for the sake of others who are suffering including myself. But I don’t get off on causing pain, that’s for sure. It actually doesn’t feel great to awaken people but that’s a whole other post.
The point is: I’m sorry if I was not a good friend. Or disappeared. Or said rude things sober or drunk. Or, went for the jugular because my feelings were hurt and I didn’t have the maturity and communication skills to convey that in a thoughtful way, and instead lashed out. I hate that. I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want the kids to see me do that. I want to do better.
So, I’m working on hanging around people with really good communication skills! And living a healthy lifestyle! And I don’t know. I’m just trying to do things that will make me proud of the life I’ve led while I’m still here. I want the kids to be proud of their Aunt. And for them to understand that sometimes humans fuck up. Sometimes we don’t handle things as well as we could have.
That’s part of life. But that we should always take responsibility for it, and try to make amends if we can. And try to grow from it!!
I have to be honest here, if that’s what I’m saying I’ll be, then I have to be honest with MYSELF and write the truth of how I have really lived my life. If for no other reason, than to take a moment to apologize.
We never know when it will be the last blog post entry.
We never know when it will be the last time we will see someone.
We never know when it will be the last hug.
I’ve learned all of that the hard way.
How do we want to be remembered? I wish I could find a more eloquent way to explain this. I’d like to write something about this on Facebook, I’m just feeling weird about writing there. When I’m struggling, I don’t feel like I edit myself as well. I don’t FEEL like it, I definitely DO NOT edit myself well.
I hope people can understand that. That I’m wounded and hurting and afraid of dying and afraid of burying a loved one, and hungry and tired, and I’m going to have my moments.
We shall see how this next chapter plays out.
Never dull moment around here. I’m telling ya, we’d make the Kardishans show feel like watching cement dry. compared to our antics No question!
But ok, America, watch a bunch of rich people talk about rich people problems and get richer while doing it. That seems like a good use of time. Of course, if you’re reading or listening to me, I doubt you’re into them. I feel comfort knowing that it’s only the people really care for me that listen and read me right now.
I kind of dread anything else. I think I’ve made that pretty clear, right? But this isn’t a way for me to feel safe. It’s a way for me to share my real thoughts and feelings, leave behind my story, and push some boundaries and get people thinking. Can’t do that with four readers.
That part of me that prefers privacy is still strong inside me. So old-school, kind of old-fashioned. That’s why the kids love it, because I’m an older person using THEIR methods and being honest.
I know I talk a lot about generations and demographics and making a lot of generalizations. I just can’t help but feel like I was born in the wrong generation. All of the time. So it’s noticeable to me.
Anyway, it’s weird to have the majority - not all! but a lot of people look “down on me” for being so active on social media. And to have an entirely different demographic think it’s awesome.
Fuck it. I like staying current and modern. Ugh, I’ve never wanted to become a stick in the mud. Never.
I’m looking forward to when the collective consciousness is ready for more and more honesty, and is sickened by the bling bling greed. I’ve been waiting a long time now.
It’s coming, and it’ll be very welcome on my part.