This is my last digest for 2017, so I suppose it’s appropriate to be reflective. What started out as my writing experiment on culture has evolved into more of a personal narrative. I’m not sure I knew a whole lot about culture anyway, but I am willing to take a flashlight to all my dark places.
I need to do this, but I know you don’t have to read it. My gratitude knows no bounds for those of you who do. One of the few consolations for a life steeped in setbacks.
The big one this year was the return of my cancer. The treatment turned out to be manageable, the fear it left behind less so.
People mean well when they ask ‘did they get everything?’ or 'you’re all done now?’ It’s less an inquiry and more a way for me to ease their minds, but I cannot.
There is no happy ending, only happy periods.
Cancer is wily and complicated. It’s my companion for the duration. I will never be done with the scary checkups, the hormone therapies, the agonizing choices. I appreciate the people who stick with me. I’m not a great bet, I know this.
I feel well right now. My right breast is a little worse for wear, but the rest of me is back to cycle class, walking, sleeping, and posing in dresses on Instagram.
The world goes lopsided in an instant. One day I am a former patient, the next, a patient once more. I am learning not to squander the good.
Part of being present is self-acceptance. Or, just acceptance.
I’m a flawed character, no modifier. Finding ways to make peace with this and progress where I can seems like a more sane approach to a satisfying life than privately beating myself up.
I was visiting with some good friends on Christmas Eve and they began to tell a story about something dumb I said years ago. A well-deserved teasing. At first I began to cringe internally, the recriminations automatic. As the day wore on, I decided I didn’t have the energy for this anymore. I could fill a book with Some Dumb Things I Said.
I’ll try to say less dumb stuff going forward, but no promises.
I tend to process things externally which is a nice way of saying I speak before thinking it through. I’m working on this, but it might be easier to surround myself with people who give me the benefit of the doubt. I secretly think people too easily get their back up. We love to be offended. Pushing back with a countering view would do infinitely more good. Less scolding and rejection, more illumination.
Writing is perfect means of self-expression for this impetuous woman. I’m forced to think things through and edit (you’re welcome). I call myself an essayist now. I’ve tried on lots of titles over the years, but this one I’ve earned.
All of this is to say, I’ll keep writing and I hope you keep reading.
The happiest of New Year’s 🍾