My New Crush

I am not putting a picture in this post because I have absolutely nothing that will do justice to the content. Not that this post is any more awesome  than any other post in my blog history, but I just have nothing in my arsenal of pictures to use. More importantly, there are no pictures in the universe of my new crush because he only exists in the pages of a brilliant, yet ridiculously heartbreaking book called, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I’ve wanted to devour it like I usually do with great books. Stay up all night and read, but being how crazy busy my life is right now, I have been reading little snippets as often as I can instead. It is brilliant, I can’t say this enough. I have never read anything else by John Green, but I have a feeling that will be changing soon.

I normally write about books and such at my other blog, and I will more than likely post something about this over there too, but it has opened up a sore spot from my past and I thought it would be good to address it here. The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) is a love story and a life story of teens who are dealing with the side effects of cancer. Green does an impeccable job of explaining what this life is like. I have not been a teenager dying of cancer, but I felt like a professional sickie for a handful of years during my late teens and from my experience, he gets it just right.

I had a really trying day. I’ve been on prednisone for my silly lungs that just don’t want to let go of this bug and I was emotional from watching kids feel defeated from hours of standardized testing that does nothing but demoralize them. Nothing went according to plan today and that has now rippled into next weeks events as well. I called my mom and just broke down. She watched high school kids struggle through CSAP for years and understands. I also talked to her about how wonderful and tragic TFIOS is and she said, “Are you sure you should be reading this? It sounds a little close to home.” I answered with a choked sob.

It is close to home. I will say again that I did not have cancer. I did have a horrible illness where my brain believed I had a brain tumor (even though there was no tumor) and I went through everything someone with a brain tumor would go through, with the huge exception of not losing my life. I did almost go blind, and I am still beyond grateful that all my stars aligned and I moved up the food chain of specialists who were able to save my vision. I did lose most of my peripheral vision, but that is something I can live with. It was two years of spinal taps, excruciating headaches, E.R. visits and daily visits to the litany of doctors who were scrambling to fix me – it was hell. I am grateful for all of it because I never overlook the beauty I am lucky enough to witness. I know when things seem horrible that I have survived worse and it too shall pass.

Back to my crush.

Augustus Waters is one of the characters in TFIOS. He is irreverent and metaphorical, he is romantic and sarcastic. He is fictional, unfortunately. He is everything I would have wanted when I was going through the fight of my life. In all honesty, he is everything I would want now. I am grateful that Green wrote this unbelievably beautiful story, but I also hate him for making me fall for Gus.

I was lucky enough to have two incredible friends stick with me through my illness. Most people stayed away, it was a lot to handle. These two people and my family held me together. One friend was with me almost every day. She brought over movies and watched re-runs of Friends with me on the couch, even when my eyes wouldn’t work well enough to watch. She helped a doctor keep me still during a spinal tap even though she’s terrified of needles, she would call and check in with my mom when I was drugged up on pain meds and not up for visitors. She made the worse time in my life bearable and I will never be able to truly thank her for that. Ironically she will be in town this weekend and I can’t wait to tell her thank you again and hug her tight.

TFIOS isn’t just a book. It feels like a memory. It hurts to read about the injustice of losing life before it has even begun. It reminds me of how lucky I am that my brain was confused and not full of real tumors. It makes me glad that I am starting counseling soon and I can start to cut away the layers of scar tissue around my heart and really feel all I have ignored for so long.

Please visit John Green for yourself – his website is cool and his video blogs are awesome.

 All this inspires me to keep writing my stories and loving the beauty around me, despite the brutality and injustice that we all face every day.

Raindrops Keep Falling…

I’m still feeling a bit down in the dumps, unfortunately. I’m working through it, but I have to say I’ve hit some speed bumps that are testing my patience and my faith. Same old story, right.

The rain has been falling literally and figuratively these last few weeks. We have had some horrible storms recently in Colorado. Worst than any that I remember since I was little. Nothing like some of the terrible flooding that has been happening in other states, but intense nonetheless.

I think part of my melancholy is that things are happening in my life that I can’t control, I’m doing all I can. However, I haven’t been very good at spending time on the activities that make me feel sane like writing and making music, and that lack of creative outlet is making me feel worse. I can change how I use my time and stewing about non-existent job offers or lack of romance isn’t helping…clearly.

I have had a hard time understanding that I can’t hold myself to standards of other people’s experiences as the status quo. I always look around and outside of myself for measurement as to what I should be accomplishing. Yet, I know deep down that I march to a different drummer (and a nice horn section too!) and I never do things in a sequence that is “normal” or similar to anyone else’s experience. I need to remind myself that there is nothing wrong in going your own way, in making new ground and taking the road less traveled.

My mom gets a Unity publication of daily meditations. Yesterday, interestingly enough, was an essay on trust called, “Let Go, Let God.” This is a phrase often used in recovery and it used to rub me the wrong way because surrender is so difficult for me. In all honesty, I scoffed a little when I saw it sitting on the counter. I almost didn’t read it. I’m glad I changed my mind. It held some insightful reminders.

Letting go brings me peace and freedom. As I let go of worry about a job, the economy, my health or a loved one, I allow Spirit to work in these situations. When I let go of self-doubt and unworthiness , I let divine inner wisdom be my guide. Letting go does not mean I do nothing. It simply means I am less willful and more willing. I let go of the need to control or solve every problem and marvel at the way life is forever moving in the direction of my highest good.

The last line resonated the most with my own life right now. Although it seems like nothing is coming my way, I can’t see how I’m being led to my greater good right now. I will see it and understand it eventually. The sun will come out again. Maybe even tomorrow. As the music swells in the background.

Spring Awakening and the Iron Lung

I’m about halfway into my Spring Break and I’m still struggling to breathe. Today was better than yesterday, but I just coughed so hard that I thought I was going to pass out. I know that I am improving because the cough is productive. I’m getting this poison out of my lungs, but it is laborious and exhausting. So much for a relaxing week in the mountains, right?

I have struggled with my health off and on for my entire life. I came into this world fighting and there have been moments (or years) of that same fight as I’ve grown into a woman. I know that this illness this last week is small in comparison to some of the things I have survived in the past, but having to put off something fun because of being sick, takes me into a dark place of despair and disappointment.

This journey is about the present and right now, in this moment, I am striving to not feel defeated. I have been working at mending my whole self through this process and this set-back is hitting me hard. I don’t want my body to be my enemy anymore.

I know that taking better care of myself with good rest, healthy food and daily exercise would go a long way in helping with my health, however that feels too little too late at the moment.

I dreamed about going up to Buena Vista for weeks. I daydreamed of writing, sleeping in, hiking my favorite canyon…My family and I had discussed going up for a long weekend if I was improving. Even though I have seen some improvement today, it isn’t enough. I realized today that going up into the higher altitude will only set me back. I can’t miss any school next week so it is in my best interest to stay here in town.

I feel the need to grieve. I didn’t want to write about it, but that was an indication that I should. I also want things to change and feel more drive than ever to reconnect to my body in a healthy manner. When I look forward to the rest of this year and all the years I will be blessed with, I want to know I was living my best life all of the time. I intend to be well.

In reality, people get sick. Especially teachers who are caring for and educating sick students who come to school and share all their germs. I may always struggle with asthma. I may not. It’s hard to say. I do know that I have scaled bigger mountains with my health and this disappointment will fade.

For now I can ask my angels for a speedy recovery and a better nights sleep. It’s going to be 75 degrees on Saturday. I hope that I will be feeling good enough to get out in the sun and enjoy some of this Spring Awakening. They say that vitamin D is good for depression. It might be just what the doctor ordered to get me back on my feet.

Blinded by the Light

My Saturday has been fraught with sadness and frustration. What a great way to start a post, right?

Unfortunately, I received some very upsetting news this morning about a family member who just found out she has stage IV pancreatic cancer. She is young and has small children. She sees an oncologist on Monday, but we are all stunned with despair.

I also found out yesterday that YA author, L.K. Madigan just passed away from stage IV pancreatic cancer at the age of forty-seven. She wrote a wonderful, touching and devastating blog about it on January 12, 2011. You can read it here.

L.K. Madigan had many things she still wanted to do: trips to take, books to write, years of experiences with her husband and son. I have thought about her and her family all day today. I have thought about my cousin and her family. I have thought about myself and my own family.

I have pondered how easily I let time slip through my fingers. I have dozens of stories to write. I have people to love and spend time with. I have the opportunity to finish graduate school and become a teacher (although I’m not sure, how I’m going to pay for it…but that’s a story for another blog). Yet, I sit and do nothing, more often than I care to admit as my life rolls on by second by second.

We can’t know when our time will be up. We have to make the most of the days we have. That sounds so cliche until you realize how true it is.

I have also thought a lot today about what happens after we die. Where do we go? Do we come back? What is behind the great light in the distance…

I don’t have the answers. I have some ideas, but on a day like today you’re not sure whether any of it has merit or not. I do know that L.K. Madigan’s death and my families bad news has definitely left me shaken today.

Everything that has been piling up in my life seems all the more impermanent and important…

 

 

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