no more waiting

I’ve had a list of things I wanted to do for celebrations. Like a potential bachelorette party or milestone birthday or a celebration for something else. After everything that has happened, I don’t feel like waiting on those milestones to happen. I can just make it happen when I want to.

Why wait for a bachelorette party weekend to hit up wineries with my friends? Why wait for my 35th birthday to go to a paint lounge? Why wait for some potential pre-wedding event to wear a special dress and take photos at a beautiful garden or flower farm? Why wait for a partner to go on vacation with? Fuck waiting.

I used to think these milestones and these occasions will be what makes the event special, and as a consequences, the “special date” makes the memories significant. Don’t all days have the potential to be memorable?

These places I want to go to are open for the season. I just need to book a date, hope the weather cooperates, and drive to wherever it is with my friends. I can do all of these in this year if I’m being ambitious.

The only things I’ll have to wait on are probably finding a date that works for all the people I want to go with, and having enough money to spend on these places. The milestone is making memories now, no matter the date.

battle-speak

The battle-warrior-fighter-hero language has been ingrained in our society and culture, and it’s something many people use when they try to speak to someone dealing with cancer, chronic illness, mental illness, and even death.

There’s a handful inside the cancer community who use it themselves, and it reinforces the idea that the rest of us like this language. Many don’t, including me.

I’m not a warrior.

I’m no one’s hero.

I’m not fighting a battle.

I am the dirt where destruction took place.

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fear of being happy

Even in my youth, I preferred sad and tragic stories. I thought of it as being different, a little edgy, maybe? Tragic stories were more realistic. Happy endings felt unfinished to me. I knew something bad will happen after. No one will stay happy forever.

Decades later, I still love tragic ends. When lovers part, when someone dies, when a loss is suffered…

As I was talking to one of my friends who finally finished cancer treatment, we started talking about having trouble finding joy in life again.

When living meant focusing on surviving, then you get to the finish line and survive… now what? When you make it past your “expiration date” because of technological advances, what do you do? How do you live again?

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who rescued who?

The year 2021 involved a lot of loss. I lost my blissful ignorance when it came to my health, which I took for granted. I lost my connection with some “friends” who “meant well” but ultimately only kept tabs on me for their own self-serving reasons. I lost a relationship with a person who I thought I’d be with long after the health crisis. There were a lot of tears. There was a lot of grief. There were plenty of appointments with my therapist.

I thought that once I’d been technically “back to normal” (i.e. no longer needing any sort of active medical treatment), everything will fall back into place. But when the disease disturbed my routine and my life, it also disrupted my beliefs. What I prioritized, what I believed in, what I felt was more important for me. A lot of it used to be fairly superficial—money, career, financial “success”—and my attachment to intangible but important parts of my life slowly faded into the background. In my pursuit of independence, I focused on this checklist I had for myself that boiled down to two major points: move out and make more money. Anything that steered away from the two goals, I regarded as a failure on my part.

But by the end of 2021, I found myself moving back in with my parents and making significantly less money than my peers.

After my last relationship fell apart, I knew I didn’t want to go through the dating pool again, at least not anytime soon. I’ve heard stories from friends about how terrible the dating scene is, and I don’t want to subject myself—still raw and broken—to all the garbage in the ocean, in hopes of finding the right kind of fish.

I tried doing what everyone else is recommended to do to “find yourself”. But one significant moment was in a car ride with my sister, when I realized I can finally go after what I want again. Including getting any type of pet, whether it’s a certain breed or a rescue—two things I couldn’t really go after because of my former partner’s reservations about “small dogs” or rescue dogs. I’m still convinced he just didn’t want the extra baggage of having a dog with me, but that doesn’t matter anymore.

Initially, I started reaching out to some breeders of Pembroke Welsh Corgis that I found on a quick Google search. A decent amount of them said no, with reasons ranging from having no planned litters for the foreseeable future to saying I may not be the right fit for a corgi as a first-time dog owner. All fair points.

There was another (very likely) backyard breeder who was charging $3000 for a corgi puppy, who was super eager but refused to give me information about the puppy’s parents that set off some alarm bells. As much as I wanted to have one, it wasn’t worth it.

So instead of Tinder, I found myself on Petfinder.

Continue reading “who rescued who?”

what happened to her?

The year began and ended with loss. She lost her youthful naïveté. She lost her hopes of a career promotion in the timeline she planned. She lost her blissful ignorance when it came to her own health. She lost her trust in her own body. She lost people she thought were her friends. She lost her partner and her lover. She lost the place she called home. She lost the dream of a future she thought she’d have, a new future she tried to dream of after the illness took the old dream away.

The year began and ended with grief. She mourned her hopes for a “normal” life. She mourned her dream of a carefree future. She mourned the relationships that the disease corrupted. She mourned the person she once was, the person who died with the disease.

The year began and ended with tears. Tears that flowed because of pain. Of suffering. Of exhaustion. Of joy. Of hope. Of dreams.

missing the old you

People like to throw that phrase around when they realize you’ve changed after some type of trauma or loss.

There’s a part of you, or a version of you, that disappears – dies – after a traumatic experience.

When they say the miss the old you, your heart aches a little, because you miss her, too.

They miss the old you. They were hoping – praying – the old you would come back once you got better. That’s what you were expecting. Like when you fight off a flu and you bounce back to your old self. The easy going you. The fun you. The light and bright you. But that’s not the case. Cancer’s not the same as the flu, at least not in the 21st century.

Cancer left you with dark humour, the kind your family doesn’t want to laugh at. It left you with grief no one really knows what to do with because you’re still alive. It left you with the urge to have difficult conversations that make many people uncomfortable.

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to the best investment that saved my sanity

Back in 2019, I picked up this console for myself as an early present. I got it in the summer, anticipating to mainly use it when the new Pokemon game comes out six months later. I barely used it until December of that year, when I actually got into Breath of the Wild.

When lockdown began three months later, this little thing became my lifeline. Both my sister and my boyfriend convinced me into getting the new Animal Crossing game, since they thought it would be up my alley – low stakes, adorable characters, and a simulation game of sorts. Sure enough, the island life agreed with me. It also allowed me to “hang out” with my sister while we were both locked down in two different cities.

It became my way of staying connected and socializing with others. I’d have some friends visit my island, or I’ll visit theirs. We’d hang out for a bit if someone’s got shooting stars. I’d shop at their tailors’ if they have something cute that day. Even if it’s only for half an hour, it was still something to take me “out” of isolation.

Fast forward to my cancer diagnosis, and my Switch has been my best friend and my lifeline.

Continue reading “to the best investment that saved my sanity”