Freedom

Once I knew I had a week to recover before going back to work, I tried to push my anxiety and stress aside and just enjoy myself. I went to an apple orchard, hung out with the boys, watched only higher vibration videos or music, and did my best to keep nourished and treat myself gently. My breathing got better as I relaxed. I felt more peace, more joy.

As I kept listening to Abraham Hicks, I kept hearing that focusing on how you feel is the most important thing you can do. Your emotional guidance system is constantly showing you where each thought you have resides. Bad feeling thoughts are farther away from the truth or how Source feels about you. The uncomfortable feeling is an indication that you are pinching yourself off from Source. It is an indication that your thinking is out of alignment.

As I thought about it, how many times have I kept thinking thoughts that didn’t feel good? Often times, I justified it with needing to keep my feet firmly planted in reality. I rationalized that everyone has to deal with unpleasant things. By being irritated with them, it was just showing my weakness. If you don’t like something, you just have to work harder. My lack in satisfaction was only a result of not putting in enough effort. This kind of thinking allowed my inner demon to go on a litany of how much I sucked at a moment’s notice.

I wanted to believe that my happiness meant more. I kept thinking that it was such a wonderful idea, too bad that it was unrealistic. As I laid in a hospital bed, gasping for air, I began to think that maybe my happiness was the most important thing in my life. Every choice I have made in my life has been based in fear of some sort. I worried about how people would view my choices. I felt that my options were always limited, so the goal was to pick the lesser evil. In every choice, had I ever really thought that I had another option?

I thought about how I felt about my work. I came to teaching because I wanted to get out of sales and recruitment. I thought helping out the next generation would sit well with me karmically. It had good benefits. Once you got in, there was some job security. I knew it was a career people viewed with positivity. I also hope that it would mean more financial stability.

The entire time I went through the process to become a teacher, I ran into tons of obstacles. When my pre-diagnosis symptoms were at their worst, I had my first interview for a teaching position during my student internship. I could feel that I was bleeding heavily during the interview and did my best to ignore it. I felt the blood overwhelming my protection. When I stood up to shake the principal’s hand at the end, I felt a huge clot fall out and could feel it slip out of my underwear and down my pantyhose. When I looked back, there was a pool of blood on the chair. Embarrassed is a term that can’t even begin to express the horror I felt. Still, I pressed on.

As painful as it was, I wanted to prove that I could do it. I accepted a job at a wonderful school, with a principal that got it. The student body was kind and loved me. I put in the endless hours and resources just to receive a 12% pay decrease within the first four months. Even with the help of great mentor teachers, understanding administrators, and a kind student body, the burn out was high. We were often asked to create something out of nothing because the administration and the school board kept mishandling funds. I felt like I proved that I was a good teacher, but I was exhausted.

The next year, I never came back to school. I was diagnosed and went through treatment. I was given the time and space to heal and I appreciated it. When I came back this year, I didn’t feel super happy about it. I had learned so much about myself in a year. I realized I was a lesbian. Knowing that I was in a conservative district, I worried about being persecuted for it. Having taken a year to care for myself, I didn’t feel great about submitting myself to the pressure and the stress of teaching. I realized that I have social anxiety and being in this kind of environment was never going to sit well. I started to question my competence. My self-worth began to take a hit. I would commute two hours, put in 12-hour days, and have no energy left for anything but throwing myself in bed at the end of the day. My legs and back killed. My ankles swelled and caused great pain.

I tried to plow through the discomfort. This was my life now. I tried to take steps to make things easier, but things are never really easy for a new teacher. The curriculum didn’t exist, so I was trying to make it up. How could I pack 48 hours of work in 24? I started feeling depressed. How long can I do this for? Is this what the rest of my life was going to be like?

By the time Thursday rolled around, I had a serious conversation with the boys. I told them that I didn’t think I could go back. I knew it was ridiculous to give up after a good job and great health care, especially after being so sick. Still, as I thought about going back, all I could feel was this overwhelming sensation of nausea. As I described all of the reasons why I didn’t want to do it, my eyes flooded with tears. It became clear that every fiber of my being was done, over it.

If I am to go through life with ease and joy, selecting only the better feeling thoughts and letting my emotional response guide my behavior, there was no clearer message. The thought of going back, if even for one day, was too painful to even contemplate. If I really want to change the way I live my life, making my happiness my number one priority, the answer was very clear.

Still, this was something I have never really done before. I always have chosen security over my happiness. I didn’t always have faith or trust in the Universe having my back. I believed every news article that said jobs were hard to get. I believed in the myth that no employer would ever hire you if you had a bump in your work history. I viewed failure to be a good employee with homelessness and dire poverty.

When I realized if I only had three months to live, would I rather spend it forcing myself to do something I didn’t want to do or try to follow my bliss, the answer became clear. The boys backed me up. They understood and didn’t judge.

Over the weekend, I took a few things out of the classroom that I couldn’t live without. I looked around and questioned if I was doing the right thing. Maybe it would have worked out in a different time or space, but I was a different person. When I became a teacher, I had no connection to who I really was. I didn’t know what I want or what made me tick. I didn’t realize that I was putting myself in a situation that allowed me to bully myself or be bullied by others. I accepted that it was all right to be talked down to by students, parents, administration, or society because I was trying to do a greater good. I deserved more. I was worth it.

On Monday, I made the call and submitted my resignation letter. It was very quiet. No fireworks. I felt a peace come over me. All of the struggle I had put myself through lifted. I never had to worry about another conference or student fundraiser. I didn’t have to worry about teacher evaluations or the constant staff meetings that never produced anything. I was free.

I am not advocating that everyone quit their job, but it became a matter of life or death for me. I didn’t come through this last year to just go back to being the same miserable person I always was. It is time for me to take radical efforts to put me first. For once, I am not running to another job immediately out of fear. I am putting all of my time and effort into developing who I am and what I want to be and do without limitation. Finally, I feel truly free.

Now what?

It has been a few weeks since I have completed my treatments. I am past the boney aches. I am even not really that fatigued. Still, I don’t feel a hundred percent right. How am I really different? Why do I still feel stuck?

I feel like I should have a new lease on life. I went through something pretty big. My life was at stake. You would think I am a total health nut right now. I am not. Although I have been told by more than one person to drink more water, take detoxifying baths, cut out sugar and grains, and eat more vegetables….my diet hasn’t really changed.

I should be working on getting stronger. Yet, I am still pretty stationary. I found a bike I would love to own, and it would help me become more fit, but I won’t allow myself to buy it. I have a new cpap, and wake up more energized than ever…yet, I still stay in bed napping. It is a complete failure to launch.

I feel fear. I am fearful of dying. I am fearful of being alone. I am fearful of getting caught up in a life that held me bondage before. I am fearful that things may never work out.

In reality, a lot of these fears are baseless, but I still let them control my life. It isn’t working. Still, I look around and see so much that needs to be done that I am just overwhelmed to the point of sitting there and staring at it for several hours a day. At least I use to put effort in distracting myself from it.

I thought I was making some progress last week when I went on not one but two dates. The women were nice. They were semi-normal, but there just wasn’t anything there. I am beginning to wonder if I was ever meant to be in a relationship with anyone.

I keep wondering why I am not worthy of that kind of loving relationship. I want to have someone to lean on, to love, to be there for me in the middle of the night. I don’t know what it is like to have someone to sleep next to. I don’t know what it feels like to desire someone and feel like they desire you in return. There is so much that I feel I haven’t been privy to, and it hurts.

I have to remember that I am not alone. I am so lucky to have two guys that love me and are there for me. I have someone to listen to me, to play with, to share my life with. I sometimes wonder if I am just being selfish because I want more.

Dating is such a mine field though. First, there is usually such anxiety over just meeting someone new and fearing rejection. That is normal. For me, there is this added baggage. Am I attracted to you? Do I even know what that really feels like? Is it even possible for me to please you? Is it possible for anyone to ever please me? I don’t know what I am doing here.

Sometimes I wonder if I am going to die and never know what it is like to love someone and have them love me in return. I may never know what it is like to have a true valentine or get married. I have had glimpses. In some ways, I feel like I have experienced more love and intimacy that some people who are in defined relationships. Is it wrong for me to want more?

I don’t know what path to take. I am afraid that anyone I choose will just lead me off a cliff. I don’t trust myself. I sometimes wish I just had a map, but even if I was given one…I would probably be too afraid to follow it.

I don’t know what any of the answers are. I am starting to get super impatient with myself and everything else. I want everything solved yesterday, and I am super unrealistic with my expectations.

I am treading water here. I hope I see some sort of boat or at least a lighthouse so I can at least point myself in a direction that has some capability of producing fruit for my labor. I know that you sometimes only need the faith of a mustard seed to sustain you in your journey. There are days were my faith struggles to mustard just that.

For this reason, I keep asking myself, “now what?”

Resistance

It is important to maintain a positive attitude, especially when you are recovering from a thing like cancer. Listening to Abraham Hicks and believing in the Law of Attraction, you learn that you are solely responsible for how you feel and what you think about. The more negativity you radiate, the more negative things happen to you; the more positive and hopeful you are, the more you attract positive things.

Throughout this experience I have experienced both. Before my actual diagnose, I lived years in the dark. I feared everything. I cut myself off from love. I was anxious about anything. I actually was able to flip the switch at some point. I started to rise out of my depression. I became more vulnerable and opened myself up more. Right after my hysterectomy, I felt this incredible feeling of well being. I was flying high on the highest disc I had ever been on.

My energy has fluctuated since then. I have never really gotten to a pre-diagnosis low during most of my treatment. I surround myself with things that keep me positive. Positve people, positive music, positive television and movies. For the most part, it has been working. What is frustrating is when you slip back to a person you remember being and not knowing how to bounce back.

Then on Thursday, I went over to Max and Alex’s. It was a normal night, nothing new. We were going to get some dinner. As they began to prepare, Alex hovered over me. He has been very physically playful which is an energy I am not used to. I had a meltdown about this no more than a month before. I am a person who isn’t touched very often, and I am already super sensitive to it. One day he wouldn’t stop, and I just had a meltdown. I walled up, couldn’t speak. He felt bad about it and promised to leave me alone. I knew in his mind that he would like me to be more playful. I know in some ways his pushing has been helpful, but in many ways it hits a chord that he knows is touchy for me.

Well, on Thursday he full body hugged me. I had my arms crossed over my chest. I knew that he wouldn’t stop, so I just tried to relax and wait for it to be over. When he stood up, he commented that I was blocking my heart chakra. I believe he was trying to say that I couldn’t receive the full benefit of his hug because I was blocking it. He started asking me why I was doing it. I paused to think about it, I knew he was right about it. As I was trying to think through why I might be doing it, he unleashed another bit of commentary that was pointed.

“You know, you always hug me at the end of the night even at times I don’t feel like it. You are aggressive too,” Alex said. Than Max chimed in agreement. They continued to chatter and my heart immediately plummeted. I have been making it a point to hug each of them before I go every night. I do this because I want them to know how much I love them. I do it because I know I won’t be here forever and I don’t want them to feel like they missed one hug from me or have any doubts that I love them. I do it because living as a single person, it is the one form of physical contact that I could rely on, made me feel safe, and felt good.

Totally shut down, I could see their mouths flap but I couldn’t hear words. Tears poured from my face. My blood sugar was crashing. Max made me a shake and we tried to go to dinner. I was silent. We got to the restaurant and asked for a moment to be alone before they went in; they refused to go in without me. We got some hamburgers from McDonald’s and tried to eat them in the car. They kept poking me. “Use your words. Describe what is wrong.”

I tried to tell them that I was upset that my hugs were so annoying, and tried to communicate that I am obviously upset because they mean something to me and Max got frustrated and just told Alex, “go home because she obviously doesn’t understand.” Feeling cut off, instead of listened to, I left for my car and just took off.

I climbed a hill behind a parking lot and was trying to figure how to get home on foot. Alex was yelling to me from the car. I wanted to bolt, but just climbing the hill got me out of breath and I was so exhausted. I got back in the car and we came back to their house. I felt attacked, hurt, and completely shut down. Alex comments hinted at him being hurt that I didn’t receive his affection more openly. He then tried to talk to me, but I was in no place to hear it. Finally he said, “why don’t you just leave and we can talk about this on Monday.

Nearly two days have passed, and I don’t know how I brought this on myself. I was just sitting there. Alex approached me. He knows I am sensitive about touch, and he did it anyway. I didn’t think the interaction was all that bad, but he started to feel hurt and tried to suggest that even though I don’t like you giving me hugs I deal with it…so I am as bad as you. Well, no. If you told me no, I wouldn’t do it. When he attacked the hugs, it hit a chord. I look forward to my hugs; I try to give them with the deepest part of my being. Knowing that it didn’t translate as such hurt deeply. Add to that a fear of never being touched again. This is a girl who has had to live without touch in her life. I could count the years that my mother never hugged me. Falling back into that void hurt.

I know that my sensitivity toward touch may be annoying, or unfun. But that is how my body reacts! It is in my core. I can’t just break it like that. It is like you know that is a sore subject for me; you poked me in the same spot you knew hurt and got the same reaction you normally get. Why do you keep hurting me? Is it for your own amusement? Then, you know I am shut down…stop talking. Stop expecting me to make sense.

Needless to say, I began spiraling out of despair. I got some sort of apology text, but the next day I haven’t heard anything from them. I can’t get out of bed. I can’t stop crying. I feel violated and hurt and I have no one to talk to about it. The old tapes are playing again, and I can feel the negative emotion ripping at my health. My last chemo is this week. If we aren’t patched up, how I will get there and back is in question. My father can’t come because of Maundy Thursday services, my siblings are all working. Part of me is like great, sit in your shit for 8 hours…alone…just like you will always be.

I know I am not in a healthy place. I don’t know how to get out of it. So, I am just going back to sleep. Peace out world.

Sitting in the Cold

This winter has been horrible in both cold and snow.

I live in a tiny house by myself. I bought my house about ten years ago. It was before the housing bubble burst. I was 26 and I felt I had to get on the bandwagon or I would get left behind. I wondered if it was the right thing to do. Would it be harder to find a guy to marry if I owned my own house? Could I, as a single woman, pull it off?

I did pull it off. I paid nearly $65,000 for a two-bedroom house the size of a postage stamp. Since I bought it, I have worked seven jobs, went bankrupt, been unemployed twice, and have watched the value of my house plummet to less than $20,000. I have refinanced the house once since I bought it when I had gotten behind on my payments from being unemployed and the bubble finally burst.

The house is small. I wanted it to be manageable. I have a tiny backyard and front yard. I had a lawn mower for about three years, and then it broke. I usually hack the backyard once or twice a year with a weed whacker. The winters have usually been mild. Often, I have had either neighbors or friends help me with shoveling the snow…but it was never that big a deal. This year has been horrific. The snow is past my knee in most of the yard. I have had a little help, but it seems to snow more after I finally have gotten some help digging out from the last storm.

Things in my house are finally starting to fall apart: a strip of lights in the kitchen; the oven hasn’t worked in over a year; electrical issues. My furnace has always been touchy. It has stopped three times already this winter. Currently, I have some man tinkering with it in the basement. Apparently, it has a faulty ignition switch. I have been without heat for about eight hours. The house is a balmy 53 degrees. It is cold enough that my cat is starting to complain.

I have gotten behind on my mortgage payments again. I decided around November that I wanted to eat. I called the bank and told them about my illness. They have sent paperwork for me to look at, and I have been putting it off. I am like a scared little girl. I don’t know how to fix what is broken, just like I don’t know how to keep up with what is going wrong. I finally feel like I have bitten off more than I can chew. I would like to free myself from the burden, but I feel like a loser for getting in this situation.

I knew I wanted to go to college. My siblings were never really stoked about it, but I was. I was accepted into the likes of the University of Michigan, but decided to go to my local college because of the price. My parents signed me up for a variety of college loans. When you are 18, you have no idea what that means. All I knew is that I wanted a degree and the opportunity for a better life. I seized that opportunity. I studied hard, got good grades, and graduated on time. I never failed a test, let alone a class. What I didn’t realize is that the degree doesn’t really mean that much. I have peers who have not gone to college exceed my salary and even get the chance to go to college on their employer’s dime later on in life.

I feel like the day I signed up for my first college loan, I signed my life away. I signed up for a life of indentured servitude. College loans are unforgivable, unbankruptable. Some of them don’t even die when you do. Yeah, you can put them into forbearance for a while. You might decide to pursue other degrees. They go on hold when you do that. But, then you are stuck with new debt. The calls, the letters, the incessant harassment. You try to find out how you can pay them, but realize that if you paid them what they wanted you to, you would have no money to live on. When you only bring home $2000 a month and they want over $600, it isn’t going to happen.

I sometimes wish that debtors prison was available. Serve hard time for ten years and you can have the rest of your life back. Currently, I cannot see how I can ever repay my student loans. I don’t make enough. It has definitely kept me from even thinking about having kids of my own (now, I don’t even have that option). The weight of the burden is so heavy that you can’t see why you should try to reach for anything else in life. Is my worth entirely wrapped around my ability to pay loan promises? I was 18 and had no idea what the long term impact of such a decision would be. Why are schools pushing students to become college bound so they can get tied into this ludicrous college loan scam?

I know at the end of the day these companies just want money. They are not living or breathing entities with feelings. They don’t care how their get rich schemes are impacting you. People are killing themselves because they can’t see a silver lining in regards to them. Students who have done everything they could to show up to class, get good grades, and try to use the knowledge they are given are pushed into the world of underpaying jobs and immediate debt. It doesn’t matter if you studied hard or worked to be the brightest, what matters is if your parents saved enough money to pay for your education or you figured out a way to do it yourself.

So, even though I haven’t had a credit card in over seven years, have given up television, and have done the multitude of things the money experts tell you to do to save money. There comes a point where you can’t save any more money anywhere. You still look at your budget, and you realize that you can’t live on what you got. What do you do?

My house of cards is crashing. I don’t know what will be left underneath the rubble. The pit in my stomach grows. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know whom to tell. I don’t know what the solution is. I feel completely impotent. I wake up this morning and I can see my breath. My fingers are ice cold, and I know I am in trouble. The furnace isn’t working again. I have some money in my bank account. They are already slatted for paying other bills, but I can’t live without heat. Just breath. Get it fixed. At least it happened during business hours.

Stagnation

Last week I didn’t have anything really planned to do. It is exciting when you start a week and you have no doctor’s appointments or commitments to worry about. It was my last week of feeling good, no treatment. I had hoped to get so many things done….pay bills, get Christmas presents in order, go to the gym, get the house in shape, etc.

I found that during most of the week, I was listless. Getting out of bed to do any of the activities I had thought of was difficult. Am I depressed? Was I just fatigued? Not really. I just wasn’t feeling “it.” As the week went on, I found myself getting more frustrated. I would accomplish one or two things on my list, but than get ticked that I didn’t get the other stuff done.

One thing I did get done was calling work and telling them I would miss the rest of the school year. It was kind of scary. It is like saying, “I know I am not going to have a job when this is over.” Still, it was necessary. As nice as my principal was, there are no assurances.

I got two presents for the most important people on my list, Alex and Max. But, I still have 7 people to get something for and barely any money to do it with. Nonetheless, one of my chemo angels sent me a glass blowing class gift certificate. It is an amazing present.

The week continued, and I continued to feel impotent. I might decide to proceed in one direction, then get nervous that it was the wrong direction and just stop in my tracks.

I thought about getting some new clothes. I haven’t really bought new clothes in a long time. This year has kind of messed with my identity. A year ago, I thought I wanted to be like Zooey Deschanel or her character, Jess, from New Girl. A hip teacher, looking for a hip guy…be happy with. After realizing that I am more likely lesbian or some kind of bi, I still have incredible identity issues. I am still trying to figure out who I am and how I go about doing that.

When that happens, I guess you are supposed to be open to some mistakes. After the wig disaster, I made the mistake of buying some new boots. I looked up some shoes on the internet and Alex said they’re great but realize everyone will know you are a lesbian. Since I wasn’t fully out of the closet, my heart sunk. My feet got cold.

“It is okay if that is what you want to look like, but you keep saying it isn’t.” Alex and Max tell me. Honestly, I don’t know what I want to look like. The more I keep hearing how horrible my choices are; I start to just avoid making any choice. I just needed something other than a flip flop to get me through the winter. I didn’t want a sneaker. I don’t need a dress shoe. It fit and it was the right price.

Alex and Max then told me that they don’t go shopping alone. Again, I am not an island. They would do it with me. Sometimes you need someone else’s opinion. Just let us in….

I on the other hand, feel like I am losing my autonomy. Is my taste so bad? I have opened up to trying things that may be more “me,” but I feel like I have to justify them or get used to some sort of backlash. This just makes me feel even less capable of trusting myself and it makes me angry and sad.

How can I give you an answer of “who I am” if I am not allowed to try things on for size? If I am suppose to get more comfortable just allowing myself to “be,” how do I justify my decisions that others don’t like? I am so afraid of making errors, that I am just making errors all the time and am beating myself over them.

When I decided what course of treatment to take for my cancer, no one would give me their real opinion. I ended up making one…but I don’t know if it was the right one. I guess I will never really know if it is. It is hard to trust my opinion if I supposedly can’t even pick out a proper wig.

This “impotence” totally spills into my finances. I cringe buying Christmas gifts. Do I have enough money? How pissed off are these people going to be if I get them the “wrong” thing? Am I buying them a gift because I want to or is it because I feel like I have to?

The biggest problem I have coming up is figuring out what I want to do about my housing. I live in a house. My mortgage is under water. I am a few payments behind. I have a packet from the bank with my options. I am embarrassed by foreclosure and don’t know if it is the right thing for me. Where would I live? Would I be homeless? Could I ever get an apartment with my horrible credit? Do I sign up for some program to get back on track and swallow bigger payments when I can’t afford the payments I have now?

I feel like I have no one to talk to. Everyone in my life has miserable information when it comes to money. I don’t know if my money problem will ever be fixed. It just causes paralysis.

While I am trying to figure it all out, I just feel like I am spinning my wheels. I get up and sometimes look around my house and feel like I could throw it all away and be happy. Other times, I want to see myself being able to fix up the house the way I want and live a happy life.

I don’t know any of the answers.

Tomorrow I go in for a simulation. Radiation is going to start soon and I don’t know the exact timing. It will be every day for 4-6 weeks. I believe they are going to have me go through the holidays. I am scared, though I haven’t shown it. I haven’t been bawling or crazy…but today I went for breakfast and pulled out the information from my doctor to read. As I got to the second or third page, a wave of emotion came over me and I shed a couple of tears. I immediately closed the booklet and just tried to down my meal.

The waitress brought me my bill and I continued to eat. A few moments latter, she came by and told me that the meal was taken care of and took the bill. What? Did I look that pathetic? I graciously thanked her and the lady at the register than went out to my car and really cried. It was so sweet a gesture.  My tears were really out of joy and gratitude.

I did make it home and paid most of my bills…but I am still looking at the mortgage stuff wondering what I am suppose to do. Hopefully, I will come across some inspired action soon.

Holiday Sadness

I actually had a good time at Thanksgiving this year, but as we dive into the “holiday season” I have to admit that I have been feeling a little more blue. I see the decorations going up. People are running around buying gifts and feeling jolly. I feel a little more somber.

I was hoping this season would be different. I don’t have the same obligations as before. I have worked on being more comfortable with who I am and that I don’t need to feel pressured to have a picture perfect mate and family. I am the creator and designer of my own happiness. Still, I can’t shake feeling alone.

Maybe that is why I am running into some of my recent problems. I feel this internal sadness and in a bid of self-protection I am drawing myself inward. My boys will be 10 hours away during the holiday. I love my family, but I don’t feel as close to them. Going home is more of an art in surviving than thriving.

I don’t expect gifts. I feel like I can’t buy the gifts that I would like to give away, so I don’t really want anyone to get me any. As I look around my empty house, I don’t really want to decorate. My tree doesn’t have half of its lights working. I still have stockings for deceased animals. Why have a constant reminder or my singleness put up around my house?

In reality though, I love Christmas. In my imaginary world I would have a fully decorated house, holiday party, delicious cookies, fun friends, and a special someone to share everything with. I am a sucker for the season and the reality that I will have none of that just makes me really sad.

As far as I think I have grown and advanced, I feel like I am stuck. I am still preventing me from getting what I want. I am so sure that I am not going to get it, that I have stopped even trying. I hate the constant disappointment.

Now that I am going through cancer treatment, I think…what if this is my last Christmas? Is that how I really want it to go down? Unloved and unwanted? Why am I being so unkind to myself? Why am I resorting back to the same thought patterns that have made me so miserable before?

I just don’t have an answer. I don’t know how to get what I want.

I had a girl message me on a dating website out of the blue. I responded and after a few emails we even talked about getting together. She seemed cool when I talked about going through treatment; she stopped writing when she realized I was a “virginal” lesbian. I posted an ad on Craigslist. Usually, I get some sort of response. No one has responded in the four days that I have had it posted.

Something is off.

I don’t know what my problem is. I don’t know how to fix it. I feel doomed to repeat my past history, and it feels like my new healthier spirit is dying a little. I have been crying so much in the last few days that my eyes are super puffy and almost all my eye lashes on my left eye are gone.

I just want to curl up somewhere, put my head down, and go to sleep for a very long time.

Overcoming the Disconnect

Life gives you a lot of opportunities to learn lessons.

The beginning of this week wasn’t bad, but I was definitely not on my highest flying disk. I know that I had slipped off after my hair was cut, but I couldn’t figure out what to really do about it. Monday came and I had to do a bunch of errands to pay some bills. It felt good to take care of some things that I had been neglectful of taking care of, but it left me with less than forty bucks to stay a float for two weeks.

Money has been a sore spot for a while. I have been so lucky that my school has had my back while I am out on leave. The union has been paying for my short-term disability. I am so grateful that they have my back, that I feel horrible when I feel like I am coming up short.

Like most cancer patients, I am sure a lot of us weren’t in a good spot financially before we got sick.  I was laid off and unemployed for a few years. How I was able to keep my house? I still don’t know. My bank account is in the perpetual red. I haven’t had money to buy clothes or shoes in years. All those times I bitched about money when I was younger, seem stupid to me now.

Anyway, whenever I pay what bills I can…I sometimes see the rest of the obligations I have and feel like a loser for not knowing how I will ever be solvent. Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin. It can be another cause of slipping off a high flying disk.

Of course, if you listen to the Law of Attraction advice, one of the best ways to stay in a place where you don’t have money is to focus on what you don’t have. So, for now I am trying to stay really grateful for what I do have…which is a lot when you think about it.

Yet, this little mental mind jockeying combined with a little self-conscience about my hair and nerves about getting a second infusion this week made life a little blah. I tried to make it a point to do some activities for fun, but I was thrown for a big curve ball on Wednesday.

I got home Tuesday night to find that my furnace wasn’t working. I knew there was no way I could afford a repairman, and my father is not always good in these types of situations. I covered up in every blanket I could get my hands on and found a way to sleep through the night. Michigan was getting cold. I could hold out for a few nights, but it isn’t like I could go through the whole winter without heat.

When I got up the next day, I had an appointment for a free massage. As I drove out, tears just streamed down my face. What was I going to do? I had to try and see if my father was interested in helping, but I hated the idea of asking him for money again.

I used my massage to calm me down. I was so sure that he would shoot me down that I knew that I had to reframe my thinking or I would get exactly what I feared. My energy and vibration lifted. I drove back home to find two packages and two cards in the mail. I had signed up with a group of Chemo Angels. Each cancer patient is assigned two angels who would send cards and letters to lift their spirits while going through treatment. It was an unexpected surprise from strangers. I opened them up and let the awe of knowing that these people really cared about me wash over me. I believe the massage earlier helped me to receive these gifts.

After I felt a little cheered up, I called my father. He asked me how I was doing and I said I wasn’t great. I told him about the furnance and he went into a mini tirade about bills and him being broke. I found myself begin to sob…I couldn’t even ask him for help. I felt so bad for needing help. I think he was thrown for a loop and kicked in saying that he would take care of things. It felt like he finally understood that I needed him to act like a Dad who knew his daughter needed help.

I love my father. I took care of him when he was diagnosed with cancer. I became his sudo wife when my mom died. I hung out with him a lot. Sometime after my sister decided to move back from Virginia, I began to distance myself from him. I spent so much time with him that I felt like I couldn’t have a life. I had taken a loan out for school before he got sick and used it to live on when I took a leave of absence to take care of him. When I became unemployed, I couldn’t pay the loan. This kind of became a sore spot. The funny thing is, he had just paid for my sister’s wedding and it was the same amount.

Now that I have faced the fact that I am a lesbian, I have trouble feeling like I am nothing but a big disappointment to him. In some ways, I am sure he already knows. Still, the dream that I was following for most of my life was one that I knew would be acceptable to him. Have a great job, a guy, maybe some kids. Be an upstanding citizen. Go to church. It was the path I am sure everyone feels like they are suppose to follow. The problem was, it was never my path. It is what I thought I needed to do, not what I wanted to do.

Still, I feel like staying true to myself is like becoming an embarrassment to him. Would he still be proud of me? Would he think less of me? The pain in having these questions answered is what keeps me away along with the fact that the reason I don’t drive out to his house is because I don’t have enough money to pay for the gas.

The boys are well aware of this dilemma I have with him. Max was getting pissed off because I didn’t want to ask my father for help in the first place. He was rather short with me during that day and than invited me over. Max apologized for getting frustrated with me, but he said that he saw me slipping into old patterns and it was pissing him off. Part of the reason why my father would get pissed when I called him in an emergency is because I never tell him what is really going on in my life. I have shut him out and it put Alex and Max in a strange position. It puts them in a place where my father would feel animosity toward them where it wasn’t necessary. My desire to protect my father from any obligation toward me is what makes him feel bad. The point is he wants and deserves to know me more and I am the one who is hiding, avoiding any display of the true me.

In order for me to continue to grow on this path, I need to be authentic and vulnerable in all areas of my life, not just with the people and places I feel most comfortable being it. Of course, the thought of being that way with my family was excruciating. So, the boys told me that they wanted to see my father at my infusion appointment. Immediately, I thought no way. First, how would you like to be tethered next to someone you have been hiding from for 6 hours with no way out? They said, maybe he needs to see his daughter hooked up to IVs and bald to understand that I am human and vulnerable. Maybe he needs to feel like he is contributing to my emotional needs and not always the financial ones. Maybe he still needs to know that I need my Daddy.

As the Universe usually knows how to manifest these things, my sister decided to spend the night in my cold house. Maybe to get away from her husband, maybe to feel like she was giving me some support. She took me to my appointment and drove back to my house to meet the furnance guy. She had already scheduled my father to come a little latter, but the furnance guy was done and gone before the original appointment was scheduled to even start.

I did my labs and met with my doctor per usual, without my posse with me. I knew that someone would join me at the infusion room, so I wasn’t too worried. They started with the pre drugs and I got a little sleepy. When I woke up, my father was there. There is a one person maximum guest policy in the room. He had brought me some lunch. It was nice to see him there. The thing is that I do enjoy my father’s company. We are buddies. I don’t have to say all the shit that is on my mind. What he needs to know is that I still enjoy his company and I still care about what is going on with him and his life, just like he wants to be a bigger part of my life.

We hung out for three hours, and my brother showed up from out of town. It was a pleasant surprise. They swapped out and had a great time. It was one of his last vacation days and even though he was having car problems, he still made it over. I got a beautiful picture from my nephew, and my brother made me into a zombie with a Walking Dead app on his ipod.

My brother suffers from the same painful lack of vulnerability that I have. We totally got it from our parents. We are so busy trying to keep up appearances that we kill ourselves a little bit. I have had a Renassance, and I feel like he may be on the verge of one soon as well. I believe that part of the mix needs to be us sharing what we have been feeling and doing with one another. The thing about sibblings is that we are genetically connected and we carry the same family drama and tropes from childhood. We can use each other to heal from those wounds so we can live more fulfilling lives.

When the infusion was through, I had my brother drop me off at Alex and Max’s. That way, I had someone to watch me until I feel a little more comfortable being alone. While my brother was there, I could feel him completely open up. We shared our drag videos with him, my recent art work, talked about all kinds of things and just saw him relax and unwind. He didn’t feel like he had to be anywhere or answer to anyone for a while. The release of responsibility is sometimes a bigger vacation than a trip around the world.

When it was time for him to leave, I basked in the day that I had. Just 24 hours earlier, I had dreaded the idea of what would happened…but now I realized it was exactly what needed to happen. In order to really heal, I need to be me. I need to have my family in my life.

The boys and I had some great conversations. We are a unit, maybe a dysfunctional one. I don’t have to worry about losing Alex and Max, but we do need to open ourselves up to more people and more experiences in our lives. We had been doing it, but when I slipped up…they got tripped up too. One of the favorite places for me to be is in their presence, but they made a good point as to say that I need to feel like I can achieve the same amount of happy with them as without them. My enjoying my house, my family, new friends, and/or new experiences should not suffer because I am afraid of not having it with them. In reality, having a great time without them is giving them a gift. The same goes for the two of them. They should be open to having experiences by themselves individually, or even together with out me. It is what fuels us and makes us enjoy each other even more when we are together.

It is not as if I didn’t know this, but I had always assumed that they placed it on my head like I was the desperate one. In reality, they told me that it is as hard for them to do things without me as it is for me to do them without them. One of the biggest ways I could help out is to be more assertive. I need to not be always available to them. I should voice my opinions more and take my leave when I know that I am drained as opposed to when I think they want me gone. They had become as dependent on me as I was on them. This had served us well recently, but now we want bigger returns on our growth journey and this is the next step.

It is not meant to be sad, it is meant to be expansive. This is what can get us to our next level of success and enlightenment. We have filled out trivial pursuit pie hearts with our pieces to an overflow capacity. Yet, there are still empty spots waiting to be filled with the contributions of others. We can’t do that for one another.

Because of the love I was feeling from everyone, and the increasing amount of a-ha moments, I have to tell you that I felt very little pain from my infusion. Even yesterday I felt great. And, as a big surprise, I got another visit from my whole family. Unannounced, they showed up to check on me and we even went out for dinner. I can’t tell you the last time that happened. Instead of feeling put out, I really enjoyed it. I even let my father drive my car for the first time. Not because I wouldn’t let him drive it, but because in a round about way he asked to.

It gives me hope that new beginnings are starting. The hierarchy and false pretenses of the past may be finally falling away. Maybe this whole cancer journey was just a catalyst to make these important life changes, a huge moment to stop the crazy spinning of what we perceive life is (work, work, and little play) and focus on our truth, our love, and our path.

Spirit Guides

Sometimes the Universe plops something unexpected in your lap. As I have been feeling my vibration rise, I notice that my spirituality is changing a little.

The ultimate message I got from my youth is that God is love. We are not responsible for judgment. Jesus preached that even the most powerful clerics in his day were getting the message wrong. You are supposed to love and accept your neighbor the way God loves you. More importantly, all humans sin. The point of his death was to forgive all sins.

When I read how conservative, right wing Christians twist this….I get ill. No Christian should be pointing a finger at the perceived faults of others. Even though I feel very loved in my original church family, I also don’t know if they could overlook my recent shift in sexual orientation.

Over a decade ago, I began reading several books and Buddhism. I even attended a Buddha 101 conference. I realized that I needed to meditate. I would do it off and on, but I wasn’t great at it. I found that after my diagnosis, I needed to continue to explore this. I found a great meditation group and have started to attend.

Quieting the mind is important, especially when you have cancer.

There are so many times where slightly less than desirable thoughts have been creeping into my mind. Now that I understand the Law of Attraction, the idea that these thoughts existed was troubling to me. I didn’t want to manifest more negativity. In my training from meditation, I have learned that thoughts are just thoughts, nothing more. It is when we start attaching emotion to them that we are giving them power. This was enough to comfort me and even delight when I see the contrasting thoughts to what I want in my life.

I love Buddhism and meditation, but I don’t believe that it is the sole focus of my spiritual path. Many followers of other religions meditate and listen to the wisdom of Buddha as they follow their own path.

One night, I was zoning out and realizing that I have a strong Earth goddess energy. I want to be connected more to the Earth and the creatures that crawl on it. I was inspired to pick up a book on Wicca. I don’t necessarily have plans of becoming a witch for now….but there is something to the energy they bring towards using the medicinal properties of herbs and essential oils in their practice. There is a reverence for all things natural that really sings to me.

As I open up to the ideas of others in many faiths, I came across a meeting called the Shared Circle of Enlightenment at a local New Age bookstore. I signed Alex and I up for it…even before I got his permission (Max had a rehearsal for a show). We had no idea what it really was, but I felt incredibly called to come.

When we entered the store, which is in an old converted house, we were lead up a tiny staircase to a small former bedroom. There was no real decoration in there, just blank walls and two older women around a square card table. The younger of the two women had tarot cards in a green bible cover case. There were three crystals set on the center of the table. We sat down, not knowing exactly what would transpire.

Pat, the organizer asked about what we wanted to talk about. I told her that Alex had a question. He glared at me a little and began to tell her that he was interested in past life regression. It had been of interest for him and he had been feeling an urge to explore it in more depth.

Pat responded that people contract themselves for a number of lives in realm in order to work on goals of their choosing. When they finish, they are reabsorbed into God’s white light and love. Her answers sound so authoritative, that I found myself drawn to her energy.

We continued to ask questions. She mentioned that Alex had a walnut shaped block in his heart chakra. It was very small and should be easy to break because he already had applied the answer to other parts of his life. This block had threads that drifted out that contain the unfinished feeling of projects that might have been done or efforts where he worked super hard and was disappointed that he didn’t get the outcome that he had worked for.

This information was dead on. Alex found this as a running theme in his life and we knew it, we just didn’t know how to break it. She suggested that it was carry over from a previous life. It was as if he chose to face it again in this life to overcome it. The good news was that it was close to being solved.

She than described Alex as being a great teacher. People sought him out because he was so good. This was again backed up by his experience in previous lives. With the teaching, he also was an advanced healer. As she said this, both her and the other woman gave a sense of energy that Alex had possibly more power than them and that they were in the presence of someone possibly greater in these arenas than themselves.

As she was reading Alex, I felt every word as true.

At some point, I had asked about spirit guides. Do they always have to be human? Pat answered no. We learned that how she was getting her information was from her spirit guide and that she could contact ours with our permission.  We agreed.

She looked at me and told me that I had a male energy. He was not human but was showing her long luxurious blonde hair. It was curly and wavy. She than said, “His name is Leo.” I immediately burst into tears. For some reason, I knew it was right. The name Leo has always held special meaning for me. I had always wanted to meet my spirit guides….I had tried meditations and asking others, but never really got it. This felt right. She cupped her hand to her ear and said, “he’s been waiting to hear from you.”

“How?” I asked.

“Do you meditate?” she responded.

“Yeah.”

“Call on him there.” she replied. She also noted the energy of a female guide, but that she didn’t want to come forward at this time. “You know,” she said, “Leo is waiting with a messenger bag. It is bottomless. He has every available resource to help you get what you want. Have faith in that.”

As I am sobbing, she turns to Alex.

She hesitates, talks to this imaginary presence to Alex’s side and tells him, “Your spirit guide wants me to refer to himself as a “he” because that is the way you will feel most comfortable. He is androgynous.”

I go from bawling to having my jaw drop on the table.

“His name is Torian. He is helping you blend the male and female energy in this life, which is something you chose to work on in this life.” Alex begins to cry. “He wears a very decorative mask.”

Alex has embraced his desire to become a drag queen this year. In order to do so, he has had to release so much judgment over what outcasts drag queens are in our society and also face his internalized homophobia. The thing that drives him is the fact that Alex feels that it is his calling and feels closest to his true self when he is doing it. He has no desire to be a female, but putting on the goddess cloak makes him feel alive.

The interesting note is that Alex took great lengths to play “straight” since we walked into the door. He purposely never mentioned anything about being gay or being a drag queen. You could tell that they even felt Alex and I were a couple. So, Pat knew nothing about him. This message felt so true.

She also mentioned that he had an additional spirit guide that was a “wild one.” He was a huge tease and a trickster. He said to call him a fairy. Pat, looked confused and stated that “wild ones” were usually elves but he is going to call him self a fairy, and elfish fairy. She also said his name was Puck.

The meeting was filled with other interesting revelations, but I was left with two important take-a-ways. A) Love is not emotion. Love exists without emotion. B) That I may have tough times ahead but that I need to deal with these things head on. If I do, there is another side where I’ll get exactly what I want. In the meantime, know that I am surrounded by unconditional love. I am loved whether I have believed I have earned it or not. There is so much love for me out there that I need not worry about not being bathed in it. Just trust that I am.

Alex and I were exhilarated. We felt tired from the psychic energy, but fulfilled as well. We left without paying anything. If we had thought there was a psychic and we had paid for her services, we would have never have believed it. This was so pure and so special, it left me feeling the wonder and awe that there is so much more to our existence than we could even begin to understand.

In the end, it was HUGE validation for Alex and I that we were on the right path. She described us as being “closer to home.” The definition being that we were on the verge of really standing in our own shoes in the knowledge of who we are. I am so grateful for the piece of mind that she gave us. It was truly a special gift.