52 card pick up

that’s how my brain feels right now.

I have so many cards stacked on so many surfaces and I don’t even know where to start picking them up — let alone sort them.

let’s take this post — i started writing that paragraph (^) about two hours ago after wrestling with trying to figure out if i wanted to edit photos so I could upload them to shutterstock, listening to podcasts, trying to watch a tv show, trying to finish packing. then i ended up listening to podcasts and playing candy crush then going on a weird twitter break and grieving my grandfather, sobbing, and then deciding now’s the time to break into voice acting(?)

anyway here i am. it’s 3am, I’m back to writing. I can’t even decide if i want to capitalize any letters in my writing. i feel like my brain is in twenty different rooms and they’re all screaming about which room I should be in but i am just sitting in the hallway of my mind. and i know that it’ll eventually mean, i will close my laptop, lie down. try to sleep and then obsess over something else for another hour or two before I am finally asleep.

it’s exhausting. im exhausted. i want to just be able to lie down, turn off my brain and close my eyes but i cant. i am wildly overwhelmed, i think. i am anxious. i am tired. iam currently incoherent.

the past two nights, i fell asleep at quarter to 5am, woke up around 9am and tried to power through.

after staring at this page again.. i realize now i forgot the whole purpose of this post and what i intended… but im going to keep it and publish it as is because it’s honest and it’s messy and it’s who i am right now.

good morning.

goodnight.

On love, in sadness

Oh love, it's a brittle madness
I sing about it in all my sadness...
...I am insofar to know the measure of love isn't loss
Love will never ever be lost on me.
"On Love, In Sadness" -- Jason Mraz

How can someone quantify grief? Because there are times when it feels all consuming, immeasurable, and insurmountable; and there are times when it is a cold, distant memory that scratches at the corner of your mind like a child in time out. And how is grief measured? is it in the tissues or the tears? what is the formula for holding this emptiness in your heart? is the void to fullness ratio an even split?

Today I took a nap after work and as I dozed off, I saw my grandfather. He was sitting at a table by a window and he called out to me and asked me to sit with him. He told me he missed me and I cried and told him I missed him too. I’ve missed him so much. I don’t remember anything after that. I just see the smile on his face. He was younger in my dream. The grandfather I knew as a child. He looked happy. I wanted to ask him so many things. I wanted to ask him to visit me in my dreams more often.

I think it would be foolish to continue a post about grief by postulating about what happens after death — simply because I cannot ever know and, frankly, it’s just overdone.

This post has been swirling in my head for a year. First, after Gunny passed. Then my neighbor and very dear friend, Steve. Then my grandfather, Bernardo. Then my friend, Lance. Then my cousin’s grandmother, Candida. And now, Leuca. Grief is a tornado. Grief is an earthquake. Grief is a storm. Grief is wild and it is all consuming. I thought grief would be linear checkpoints and stages.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bartering
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

I thought I had faced mortality. I think about how many times I might have unknowingly looked at Death and walked away. But it’s different when you find that Death isn’t there for you. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I went through my own stages of grief for the life I had been living and I came to accept my philosophy that God had already predestined our future. It’s a heavy thing to imagine. I found it was easier for me to accept my death as an inevitability. It was not born of bravery or strength but of fear-based logic coupled with a predisposition to Faith.

But to face the abrupt death of a loved one? of several loved ones? It was unfathomable.

In my eulogy for my grandfather I wrote, “I have lived a lifetime with you and now I face a lifetime without…” and that is my dilemma. It feels impossible sometimes, to think that the people (and pets) you hold dear will not be with you during the next phase of your life.

I have no ending here. No resolution. No question for the reader to engage in. In this moment, I simply have a quiet sadness that will pass in the nighttime and lay dormant until something sparks my memory of them again.

Writing is an eternal offering

Author’s Note:
This was written in June and unfinished…

With these words i offer you a sliver of the skin of my fingertips, a taste of the inside of my cheeky mouth, and a pulse of blood from the pump of my strongest and most fragile muscle.

I write in the hopes that with every word i offer, i feed the beast of creativity that is sprawled dormant in my soul. It waits. It asks me, what will you feed me with today? What emotion will you offer me? What happiness? What pain?

I have written and rewritten this post many times in the past few months and it becomes harder each time. I find myself writing lines into the backs of my eyelids, only to find that my REM sleep has etch-a-sketch erased them in the rattling of the night.

Today i offer the gift of shame to my creative beast. It is an item i had been serving it daily in the hopes that if i pass it along to my creative beast, the beast can consume it and I will emerge without. But i find that more oft than not, the beast becomes swallowed by the perceived shame i have fed myself and i am the one left sprawled in its depths.

The feeling of shame is something that i find myself spiraling down the most. The nights when i feel that I have failed my own expectations as a person. As a daughter, as a student, as an example, as a writer, as a cousin, as a friend. There are times when i feel my shortcomings overwhelm me. I feel like i cannot swim out of them and that the riptide it creates is the deepest and most cold pit i could ever drown myself in. During these profound despairs, i try my hardest to push through them, for depression is a constant ever-present fight. I think that in my deepest moments of introspection, i can be the most cruel to myself and in those moments of cruelty and self inflicted shame, i cannot always find my way out alone. In these moments, i have tried to find help from my friends, from my parents, recently, from my therapist. With these people i confide my deepest thoughts and pray that this doesn’t make me appear as broken as i sometimes feel in these moments.

The truth is, i am a very happy person. In my heart and soul. I am elated by the smallest things and I find laughter in the simplest things. But sometimes, the small bits of darkness, the ones Mufasa warned Simba of, come through and I find myself crashing in the breaking point of the ocean in my mind. A lion cub amidst the wildebeests. In the past months, this has been my struggle.

I am a person with anxiety and depression. Sometimes, it terrifies me. Sometimes i feel so low that there is no possible way out. Sometimes, i worry myself so much that i feel like i cannot breathe and the plastic bag of my worries crawls over my head until I’m gasping for breath.

In the past few months, I have struggled with staring straight into my rear view and driving full speed to figure out what brought me from the events of the past year and how they folded over into this one. In that aimlessness of driving, i feel like i have been crashing my mental car into every median and wall in my mental turnpike and out i stumble to assess my emotional damage.

I think the hardest bits of the past 18 months was how rapidly i changed. To continue my mental car metaphor, I was speeding down the fast lane and with every obstacle or speed bump i drove through, i kept plowing through, hoping that maybe when i got to where i was aimlessly driving to, i would have time to assess the damage it caused. Well in the process i busted my mental tires and my axle threw me out of alignment. Does that even make sense? I need to learn how to write in the day time. Whatever. The point is, i was so focused on just making it through today. Just making it through this week. Just making it through this month and this event and this moment and this appointment that when all of those things were over and i had moments of normalcy of mundane life, of working and commuting and everything else… i didnt know what to do anymore. I didnt know how to function without the chaos i had been forcing myself to live in. And when i felt like i had arrived in my now flaming mental car to the mental rest stop in my lifelong mental turnpike, i found myself stumbling out of the driver’s side door to see that i had not really known where i was going for all of that time. I was on autopilot and in the haze of trying to figure out. How do i get an apartment how do i afford this apartment how to i make sure my roommate likes me how do i live alone now that she’s gone how do i confront the rental company that’s scamming me how do i live with out the best friend I’ve ever had how do i start dating after ending the only relationship I’ve ever been in how do i keep track of my finances how to i keep ahead of this job how do i make a police report when someone vandalizes my apartment how do i handle myself after… how do i find a new apartment when this company is holding my money hostage how do i find a new pcp how do i find a new apartment even though i feel like I’m so sick i cannot move how do i keep going to work even though i think my body is crashing how do i move back home how do i go back to commuting every day how do i deal with the fact that I’m not getting better how do i deal with the shame I’m avoiding how do i…

I have been writing and rewriting posts over and over in my mind…

A post overlooking the past year. A post about mental health and my experiences with it. A post about advocacy and why I was in DC last month. A post about dating. But right now, all of them can wait.

On Saturday morning, I took my bulldogs to the vet. They were due for their annual vaccines and their 3-year rabies vaccine. Leuca’s skin had been flaring up and I noticed that Gunny hadn’t been himself lately. More concerning, I had noticed in the past week or so, there was a bump on his butt and he had been much more whiny — as if he were crying quietly while he lay down.

After some poking and prodding, the vet told me Gunny has a tumor and it can be potentially cancerous and potentially dangerous for him and the best option would be for it to be removed. The surgery is complicated and expensive.

I’ve been spinning ever since. My parents and I are trying to figure out how we can pay for the procedure and I am waiting for an official quote from the vet. At their suggestion (and against my better judgement), I’ve applied for the credit card they told me to apply for in the hopes that it would relieve some of the financial pressure.

Honestly, all it did was give me an anxiety attack at work yesterday. But I’ll circle back to that in another post.

I’m scared for Gunny. I’m scrambling to give him the best care that I can because I’m afraid, if it is cancerous, that the cancer will spread. He seems so helpless and sad and I know how that feels. I know how it feels to feel helpless and sad about what is going on in your body. I don’t want him to feel the way I felt and yeah, maybe I’m projecting my feelings, but how can I help it right now? Coming off of this past year?

And deep down, in the depths of my fear spiral, I’m afraid he won’t fight it…

…and if he can’t, is that a sign?

I know that I’m better now and my counts are normalizing but I’m not in remission and I won’t be unless I find a clinical trial that works. It’s something that’s always in the back of my mind…

Got a postcard from my former self sayin, “How you been?”…

We might have said goodbyes just a little soon
Robbing lips and kissing banks under this moon.

-“The Carpal Tunnel of Love”, Fall Out Boy

In the past few weeks I’ve been searching… I feel like I am searching for the woman I was last year… The woman who felt comfortable in the skin she was in and who tackled the tasks she faced without fear or question.

I feel as though the words in my body are overflowing and I must write them on anything and everything I can find.

As I sit over lunch writing on napkins, I try to grasp as many words as I can and form them into coherent speech. I’ve been restless as of late. Manic and antsy. I feel like there are things I should be doing.

I’ve been trying to ease the voice in my mind urging me to create. To write. To sing. To dance.

I’ve been listening to an audio book that has sparked my own introspective into identity, culture, and legacy.

Maybe the pain in my hands are the result of the words that are trapped there. Maybe these arthritic pains are a call to arms.

Look down at the message on your wrist. Remember why you put it there. Inspire peace.

I feel like I am rambling the manna given to me by way of a napkin to soak up the rain of words I can no longer contain. I’ve been in a drought and I have been searching for the tap. Now the fountain is on and the basin fills faster than my hands can work.

Where have I been? One foot in Manhattan. One hand in Chicago. My heart in an apartment in Harlem. I have displaced myself. I have misplaced myself. Leaving pieces of me like horcruxes to be destroyed. 

And what of my words? Where did I leave her? that girl I thought I knew? in the center of Herald Square? in a night I’d rather forget? did they take her out when they took my eggies? did they freeze her and keep her hidden from me?

I don’t know. I feel like I am in a shell. Like I cannot recognize myself lately. Is this what cancer really does? Strip you bare and kill you with your own self doubt?