Atlas

March 19, 2012

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I’m so tired.

Not the kind of tired that you are, say, when you drink to excess, which I was this morning because I did indulge excessively in various ways last night /no regrets/.

No. This is a different kind, an older kind of tired. This is the kind of tired that wears at you bit by bit, the way a summer shoe does at the beginning of the season, and suddenly there’s that spot on your foot that has blistered and is raw and bleeding and you were barely aware of it before then.

I’m excessively tired of being the daughter of a woman who has cancer. Don’t think I don’t realize how selfish this sounds, that she is the one who carries the disease and I am the one expressing my personal ache. But we’re going on eight years here, for those keeping track, and the load is heavy.

I won’t elaborate on how I struggle with the distance some days and am grateful for it others, or on my bitterness at having to deal with this as if I were an only child despite not being one, or on the difficulties of trying to remain a (admittedly, new-ish) positive person when faced with a wall of negativity/desperation/surrender.

I don’t really know what I want to elaborate on.

I’m tired. My mother is tired. I asked her about this quietly tonight, like I’d climbed onto her lap and was a small child in her arms again, and we were sharing a secret.

“You’re tired of fighting…aren’t you?”

She is. Who can blame her? She’s turned so many corners so many times when I honestly didn’t think she was going to make it. Many times I’ve put myself in her shoes, control freak that I am, and fancied myself more brave, somehow, more savvy about the whole thing. I’d start a stash of morphine. One night when I’d decided I had arrived at the place of Enough, I’d make myself a nice narcotic-heavy slurry of a cocktail and make my exit.

But that’s not her way, that’s mine.

The brain tumors are back. The cancer levels are sky high everywhere they existed before, thyroid, lungs, bones. I honestly don’t think They (look away if you are sensitive to strong language: those Florida excuse-for-medical-professional MOTHERFUCKERS) know what to do with her anymore, because they didn’t think she’d survive this much “treatment”. I was told to start looking for a hospice for her almost two years ago, and she hasn’t needed it thank goodness because I don’t have it in me to look.

So tonight I’m going to focus on the good: in spite of the bad news, she’s not in a terrible amount of pain, and she’s getting by. She’s being brave and strong. I will be, too.

I have a concert adventure planned in Wisconsin tomorrow that I’m still going to go on, because it will just be wasted if I don’t go and it doesn’t help anything or anyone. When I arrive in Madison I’ll find a little patch of grass and probably do a little more writing and reflecting than I had planned to, which is more than fine.

Later in the evening I will bask in my version of worship, tucking myself in a room with 900 or so others enjoying the same sounds that take us all to other places. A celebration of shared passion. Sounds that move the spirit.

Downward Spirals

March 8, 2012

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“HUNGRY. I’m not a bad girl, I just made bad decisions”

You can’t really see, but that’s what her sign says. It stopped me in my tracks.

There I was, on my mid-day walk, and I decided to get Tempting Trendy Doughnuts to take back to the office. And there she was, at Dearborn & Randolph, sitting with her back to a lamppost, the sign held over her face. Shame?

Somewhere, somehow, there is a version of me who is her. I reached into my wallet. It didn’t seem like enough.

All she sees all day, from down there on the sidewalk, are people legs, their knees, their hems. I crouched down until my eyes met hers. I offered to buy her lunch, she told me what she wanted from McDonald’s. I hate McDonald’s, for so many reasons. But at a moment like this, it’s pretty universal. You know what you’re getting.

I spent the rest of my walk, and the afternoon, wondering what I could do for her, and those like her. My giving to charity doesn’t seem like enough. Hands-on is more my speed.

It immediately occurs to me that regardless of my (numerous) shitty decisions, I can’t imagine a scenario where I would have ended up on the street. I also can’t imagine any of my friends in this situation, because there are a number of safety nets in place, sleeping on my sofa being way down low on everybody’s list, but it’s there.

It haunted me, that sign. Someone at work, after hearing the story today, said “she’s a hell of a marketer. she made you relate to her.”

Maybe I got suckered. But you know what? I don’t care. She set my gratitude on fire.

Sugar does it again.

March 5, 2012

Sugar does it again.

So completely worthwhile to go back to, over and over.

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I get preachy almost, sometimes, you see, and that’s what makes this more difficult. All the sharing with others that when things aren’t exactly going their way they are still “exactly where they are supposed to be”…it’s so much easier to see and believe when we’re talking about other people.

I did it again. I dared to allow myself to feel too quickly, to open up, to allow intimacy. My heart doesn’t seem to know how to guard itself. It’s not until a little salt gets rubbed in and I feel the burn that I remember, oh yeah, I ought to cover that up, even just a bit.

What am I looking for, exactly? It is almost easier to express what I *don’t* want, is that troublesome?

My life is so full right now. I am blessed (and I’m not someone who throws that word around) with a job I am good at and enjoy that pays me enough and then some; I have a home I have managed to adorn with art and things I love to be surrounded by; I do what I want, when I want, with whom I want, within reason – and sometimes not within reason!

And while I’m not a fan of the “you complete me” sort of love fantasy, I’d like someone to share it all with. Someone to share the excitement with over a random new project I thought up. A good kisser. A hand to hold.

I’ve given much thought to what it would mean if my “person” lived, say, in Los Angeles (yes, I am thinking of a very specific person right now). How much time together would be enough? I cherish my alone time so much, I’m not sure what that answer is. As sexually charged as I am, would I be able to (or even want to) maintain an intimate relationship with someone whose zip code does not begin with “606…”?

More questions than answers this morning. But even as my heart (and more so, my ego) are wounded, everything is just as it’s supposed to be at this very moment…right?