Friday, January 12, 2024

Snow Day Confessions


Most days off lately I have just sat around in my pajamas feeling sorry for myself and bored. So, today I went out. As in, I actually showered, dressed, packed up my laptop and a book, and drove to the coffeeshop, alone. It's a snow day so I wore my favorite wool socks, some crisp new gray pants, the softest black tee I own, and a different shade of gray scarf--wrapped around my neck now... loosely because it can hurt with my fibromyalgia. I'm listening to Jason Isbell's recent album, Weathervane, suggested by Corey. Only 5 weeks and then I'll be there visiting him, Suzy, and the doggo-kids in Charlottte. I'm also going to make it out to Morganton and spend a little time with Sarah and Ryan. North Carolina is beautiful and I'm excited to experience it in "winter." No other travel plans until the summer when we go back to Europe. I am practicing today with my chocolate croissant and coffee. My laptop is actually super gross and dusty which seems appropriate because I think the last time I ventured out to write was with Molly last winter. The fact that I used to do this regularly and intensely, for school for two years, seems lost on me now. I am out of practice and my writing/reading/scholarly/creative muscles are atrophied. So you get this rambling, long, single paragraph, stream-of-consciousness. Why don't I write on the blog like I used to? I wrote so much when we lived in Oregon. I go back to it often and witness again the difficult and also beautiful times. With Dan doing well in his targeted treatment regime, I have told myself that no one wants to read about anything else--and certainly not about me. What about me matters? I tell people that I write to advocate against stigmas in illness, but I don't. I only update on Dan, and I don't even write very much about the stigma we encounter with his cancer being lung cancer. I don't participate in fundraisers or awareness campaigns either, even in November which is Lung Cancer Awareness month. Honestly it sounds exhausting. I'd rather avoid confrontation and stay in my pajamas and eat croissants. Or drink. By now, I have drank enough alcohol for a lifetime and I am only 43. It increased significantly --became daily--after my mom died. The crack in my mind and the crater in my heart--it was and still is just too much. I don't want to feel it so I try to distract and numb myself. Having bipolar disorder, on medications, and drinking daily is quite a choice. It's not the move but I do it anyway. Change is hard if you don't want to change. If I keep writing my way into confessions like this maybe I will begin to want to. I have never known moderation in any aspect of myself and certainly my unhealthy habits. But I suppose that is part of bipolar disorder. I also think my boundaries are fuzzy. I over share if I feel comfortable with you. I am easily codependent with many people in my life. I can see how my symptoms overlap with borderline personality disorder, which is hard to admit because I worked with borderline patients in Chicago and I thought they were terrible people. It's hard to seperate that disorder from the person. I suppose that could be said about any disease. Who is Dan apart from his cancer? How does he maintain his self-identity or how did he encompass cancer into his identity without getting lost? I think about these things often, especially for other friends and people I know who have cancer. Some of them I actually only know because of their cancer. I would say that Dan is grounded as himself, and actually rarely thinks about his cancer. In September it will have been 10 years since his diagnosis. At that time, we learned that the cancer had sort of began about 9 months prior and grew, spreading throughout the year. It felt so fast but I now know that is not as quick as some people experience. It can even be just a few weeks. So in a way, as it is January of 2024, Dan has been living with cancer for 10 years now. I have been living with his cancer too. And that is another reason that I self-medicate. It's not just drinking. I push boundaries, as I said, and I spend too much. I make a joke of it but it really is not the move. It is hard to save money when it burns a hole in your pocket. And it is stressful when life is precarious like that. Kristi told me a way to think of stress is “Stress is: I am feeling this and I don’t want to feel this.” She said sometimes just acknowledging it as a feeling helps her calm down. What do you do to calm yourself? I soothe myself with a blanket, just like I did as a child. My mother never expected I would carry the habit into adulthood. However she never made me feel ashamed or funny about it. She just laughed and shrugged her shoulders. I've moved onto an almond croissant and a chai latte. Sigor Ros. Time to read a little of my book--"1000 Words; A Writer's Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round" by Jami Attenberg. She started the #1000wordsofsummer movement if you remember. I like this because it is full of thoughts from authors. I'm especially curious what is shared by Ada Lemon, Elissa Washuta, Alexander Chee, and Roxane Gay. I also want to do some research for contests and submissions I can do for my tiny book, "Blankets," which was my thesis. After that, I think it is a perfect winter day to take roses to the cemetary. How do you spend your snow days? 

If I decided to post this, and you have read this far, thank you for being my witness in life. And consider supporting Palestine and a permanent cease fire. Many small voices can make great change. 

Peace be with you.

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