Being Okay With Me

I am 36 years old. Aren’t you supposed to know who you are by now? Shouldn’t your identity have been set during those awkward teen years? Well last year, at about this time, I had an epiphany. I had gone out on a date with a man that had checked off all the boxes on my wish list. I didn’t think this guy really existed, but here he was in front of me. After a nice first date, I never heard from him again. I was dumb founded. For a week or two, I didn’t know how I wanted to proceed. If I really wanted a relationship, why wasn’t I able to manifest it?

Cut to the boys and I talking, and them asking the fateful phrase, “so tell us about your lesbian tendencies.” I had worked on the depression. I became aware of my desire to constantly please others. I started working on being more vulnerable and having the courage to speak my truth. When confronted, I began to examine my life and came to the “a-ha” that the possibility of being a lesbian was pretty high.

That night, as I went through my past, I realized that this was the answer that only made sense. Why was I so in the dark? I had always been pro-gay. Why would I then be so far in the closet? I was so concerned with pleasing others, my parents, my family…that I wouldn’t even let myself entertain the thought of who I really was. I had spent decades repressing my sex drive and lying to myself about who I really was. I no longer had functioning instincts.

There was a huge release when I finally connected the dots. Maybe I wasn’t as screwed up as I thought. Just as relief overcame me, I was also slammed with fear. What does this mean? If I had been lying to myself for so long, how do I know what is true and what is not? I didn’t want to be “special.” Who the hell am I? Was I going to hell? I don’t hate men; I love them. That can’t be compatible with being a lesbian. I don’t want to be an ugly dyke? How would others in my life react?

I had one major meltdown the next day, but then I got over it. I had been single for so long that I kind have already given up the idea of having kids or even getting married. I had gay role models in my life. I knew I could do this. Luckily, no friends or family members have disowned me.

It has been a huge process. Still, I am by no means fully there. I tried dating girls. I was closer to hitting the mark, but I was also not having much success. I knew I felt like I needed to focus on me, but I got pressure to “keep looking.” I need to experience “sex” and “closeness” from someone else according to my friends. The dating process should be fun and exciting. Well, it isn’t. I felt able to be myself more than I had ever been before, but nothing was clicking.

I haven’t seen anyone else sense the beginning of December. Getting ready for my 27 radiation appointments, I wasn’t really looking to start anything new up. I think this was the right decision for me, but I could tell Max and Alex were afraid that if I didn’t immediately get on the fish bandwagon that I might never.

Time went on. Christmas happened. I was sort of in a funk; the weather landscape was less than cheery. Alex and Max kept asking, “Are you going to have sex this year? Is it even a priority?” I would try to shrink and fade back into the shadows.

Since my bit of clarity, I have realized that in some ways I know nothing about myself. When I look at who I am at any particular time in my life, was that really me? In some ways, it was just a mask. I wanted to be pretty and feel girly, but my stasis was a girl of comfort and practicality. I like to put on make up on occasion, but I couldn’t commit to doing it daily. It felt like torture. I love long hair, but I didn’t want to fuss with it.

With Alex doing drag, we would have dress up parties. I really enjoyed this. I felt pretty when we got made up. As I saw video and pictures of us, I equated being pretty with being of value. I could see myself as sexy. I started dreaming of a future where I looked closer to the quarky style of Zooey Deschanel, the Victorian drama of Stevie Nicks, or a little more Earth goddess.

As treatment went on, I became more self-conscious of my changing body. I had no hair, my eyebrows went for a while, I still had surgery scars, and I had a perpetual issue with boils in my nether region. I felt gross and radioactive. The last thing I wanted to do was to get close enough to someone to have me just be flat out rejected for what I knew I was unable to change.

This combined with pressure to “keep trying,” family and daddy troubles, crazy weather, and radiation therapy kind of put me in a funk. I became very focused on the short term. Alex and Max could sense this disconnect and slowing of my growth process. They were concerned that I was feeling “dead” inside. I had stopped dreaming and my motivation to get out of bed and attack life was lower than normal.

Through many conversations, it became clear that even though I had “come out” to all of the important people in my life, and they were cool with me, I was by no means cool with myself. I was still resisting what being a lesbian meant.  I cringed at the stereotypes. I didn’t really feel super butch or super femme. I still judged many aspects of myself to the point that I was still beating myself up for being inferior because of them. It was easier to hold on to the disappointment of not being who I thought I was, than to face the truth of who I am. If I was still resisting the truth, it felt like there was still hope that I could be what I thought I wanted to be, what I perceived was more desirable by others.

Alex and Max were catching on. They asked me, if I had to make a choice between 1) having a life partner that I could share everything with and be the fourth member of our little posse for life (never being able to write or journal again) or 2) have my great relationship with the boys and be able to live by writing for the rest of my life….what would I choose? Instantly, I could never imagine not being able to write. I felt like that shouldn’t be my answer, but I knew it was true to how I felt.

Finally, it dawned on the boys that maybe what I don’t need immediately is a relationship. Maybe, I was more of a tomboy than I let myself believe I was. Maybe I was meant to live a single life. Maybe everything I already was is exactly what I am supposed to be. Maybe the real lesson is that I need to continue to release who I think I should be and get radically comfortable with who I am.

With this mindset, there is a radical sense of relief. Stop fighting. Embrace who I am without judgment, and just “be.” On the other hand, there is an overwhelming sense of fear. I have been obviously conditioned to not be who I am for most of my life. By releasing the judgment and the guilt of not being who I thought I should be…there is a sense of huge loss because the foundation of everything you have built your life on seems to be shifting. It is easy to confuse this with the foundation crumbling and the house falling in on itself.

It is a Pandora’s box. You are afraid of what will be revealed when you open the lid. On some level, you are convinced that you won’t be able to handle it. For most of my life, I must have gotten that message from others. I strongly believed that I could be anything I wanted to be. If I wanted to be this image of a straight good girl, why couldn’t I be her? By releasing this, wasn’t I just giving up? Wasn’t my failure more about my lack of character than it was about being true to whom I am suppose to be?

Every night for the last year, I have been listening to clips of Abraham Hicks from YouTube. I believe in the Law of Attraction and use these audio recordings to help refocus my thoughts. What I have learned is that the Universe or God has our back. The Universe is not going to give us anything or any experience that we haven’t asked for. We may not see that always, but in time the dots do connect.

The most important thing for everyone to do is to follow their truth and to have fun. Having fun and being happy raises our vibration and helps us to attract positive and wonderful things from our vortex of everything we have ever really wanted. Our emotions are our guide to how close we are to be vibrationally in line with our truth. When we get angry with ourselves, we are separating ourselves from our Source. We know it is not true, and the worse we feel the farther away from the truth we are getting. In reality, life is suppose to come with “ease” but we let other people’s reality or judgment get in our way. We believe lies that we are suppose to work harder, that we should exercise more will power and determination.

If we stop listening to this noise from outside of us, and listen to our truth from within, we are aligning ourselves with our Source. When we accept what is true for us, we can relish in our possibilities, delight in the banquet of possibility by viewing through the lens of what we really want. We can choose our thoughts in order to focus on feeling good and release our fear and judgment. The need to harbor fear to protect oneself is released. The Universe sees we are ready and helps guide us closer to what we desire. The easier it comes, the better. We are closer to being a vibrational match to what we want and our ability to manifest is awe-inspiring.

For my entire life, I have been fighting the current. I have been forcing myself up stream. Alex mentioned that I am like a fish who has been trying their whole life to climb a tree and never understanding why I can’t. Since I wasn’t true to who I am, I never was able to really manifest what I thought I wanted because it wasn’t what I really wanted. I have become more aware of what I am doing, but only recently really understood.

The focus of this last week has really been getting comfortable with who I am. I am perfectly okay exactly as I am, right now. Not yesterday. Not 20 years ago. I am worthy and perfect right now! It is okay. It is okay if I don’t like make-up. It is okay if I have short hair. It is okay if I am overweight. It is okay if I don’t want to be in a relationship. It doesn’t mean that it will always be that way, but in order to be fully rooted in my power…I have to accept who I am now.

Not There Yet

It is no secret that I haven’t been 100% my improved self over the last couple of weeks. Christmas really bumped me off my higher-flying disc. Even though some magical good stuff has happened, and I had the breakthrough with my dad, I have still been feeling a little off.

The weather hasn’t helped. After being walloped with an ice storm right before Christmas, the “polar vortex” blasted through and dumped over two feet of snow. Everyone was locked inside their houses for days. School was called off for the first three days of break. While the city shut down, I still made it to my radiation appointments. Alex and Max had to dig me out one day, but I still made it.

If there is anything I have learned about constant doctor’s appointments, it is to make friends. I can tell that my doctors and radiation therapists like me. Yeah, I know…they like everyone…but I try to make life as easy for them as possible. I try to position myself as best as possible on the table. I only share positive energy, and thank them for their efforts. I feel like this good will has helped make my appointments go by as effortlessly as possible, with minimal wait time.

These radiation appointments drag my butt out of bed in the morning, but I find that as soon as I return home I slip back into bed. Finding the motivation to do much else has escaped me. The sky is dark and gloomy. The outdoors is cold and uninviting, but the inside of my house is almost the same. It is vacant, devoid of warmth and stimulation. A part of me feels like I am almost a little trapped. What if I can’t return to normal life after all of this is finished? What is “normal?” I don’t feel I can go back to the life I left; I don’t want to. Still, can I really make a different future for myself?

I have taken breaks to get something to eat, visit the mall, or visit Alex and Max. They have had their moments recently too. Several of our nights were just cut short by someone needing more sleep, or minor arguments, stuff. I knew I was feeling off my game, but just overlooked it.

Finally, one of the nights this week, I was sitting on Alex and Max’s couch while they and Alex’s brother were on their smartphones. This happens regularly. The conversation fizzles, and everyone goes on their phone. Sometimes it is to search for some information, sometimes they are chatting with people, other times they are buying time for the others to finish and for us to go onto our next thing.

I have missed the smartphone era. Now, I am the type of person who would normally have had the newest, most savvy phone. I love technology. But as my financial situation has fluctuated, I got out of cell phone contracts and have focused on spending the least amount of money as possible on utilities like a phone. Years have flown by, and I have wanted to join the bandwagon, but have been sitting on the sidelines.

Besides being lame, this behavior has made me feel really dated. It is bad enough that my current cell phone is as modern as a “jitterbug,” but social behavior is changing in this country. People are open and available, communicating 24/7.  These phones aren’t just status symbols; they are the way people are talking. I have seen people text each other as they are sitting right next to each other. As someone who doesn’t have a ticket to play, I do feel like an outsider.

I have expressed this to Alex and Max before. When you are both on your phones, it is like I am not here. You aren’t present. I am just sitting here waiting for your return. I can’t answer so and so on facebook, or see that article. All you got is me.

They have asked why I don’t carry my ipod touch with me to use while they are doing stuff. First, it isn’t a phone. It doesn’t have enough memory for a ton of apps. I don’t want to carry it around because I am convinced I’ll lose it. Besides, there is a part of me that hasn’t minded not joining the bandwagon. I am sort of off the grid. I often leave my phone in the car while I am at their house and just focus on being there with them. I don’t need to be distracted to another place. I am already where I want to be and with whom I want to be with.

Still, it is getting worse. It has gone beyond bucking a trend to being left behind. As people have become more comfortable with this technology, it is becoming normalized. Anyone under a certain age has already drunk the Kool-Aid. My reluctance makes me feel like I am more elderly than I am. You start to understand that you are missing opportunities by staying out of it.

Then, a commercial came on. At&t has a $45 a month, no contract, service plan for smartphones. You find one, bring it in, and your set. It is the same amount as what I am paying for my piece of crap phone. “Why not take the plunge?” Alex asked.

We tried to find out more about it that night, but I was too tired to figure it out. I had believed that having a smartphone was out of the question in my current circumstance, but maybe it was time to change that. Maybe the only one holding myself back from this was…myself.

The next day, I decided to go to At&t to investigate. After lunch, I pulled up to the store. There were a lot of people in there. From the moment I walked in, I was greeted by a guy and followed for the rest of the time I was in the store. (I HATE that!) I asked about the no contract plan. I asked to see what phones were available to purchase without a contract and if being on contract meant that I had to have a credit check.

The no contract plan was fine, but finding a phone would be the most difficult. A lot of these phones, without a plan, were hundreds of dollars. The ones that were not were so bad that I was embarrassed they were even selling them. What I really wanted was an iphone. I started believing that it would be out of my ability to get. I couldn’t even try to look into a contract phone because I was convinced that I wouldn’t be approved and would feel embarrassed if I was declined in the store.

Because the guy was on my tail the entire time, I felt like I couldn’t think things through. I felt like I was going to suffocate and he was creeping me out. I couldn’t get out of the door fast enough. It wasn’t until my feet hit the pavement of the parking lot that I finally was set free from the sales associate. I got into my car and started bawling.

Why did the boys set me up to feel this way again? Just when I had become okay with the fact that this was out of my reach, they made me feel like it was an option again. I was setting myself up for failure. I am not deserving of a new phone. How many other obligations have I not met? They take priority. This is so stupid! Yes, I could get service from At&t…but I’ll never get an iphone. If I do, it will just be a stolen phone…or some piece of crap. I’ll never have a new phone.

I began to spiral. I hate myself because I am so miserable with money. I will never be able to feel like I have good credit again. I have made bad choices, and I will pay for the rest of my life. My student loans are my chains and shackles. How dare I pretend I could afford college? I got the knowledge, but I will always remain poor because I couldn’t pay for it outright. It is a reminder that I am a lesser class.

I couldn’t understand why I was bombarding my head with these stupid thoughts. Self worth was plummeting. I have had so much time off, but what was I really doing with it? If I couldn’t get it done (like house work) now, I should never expect that I would ever get it done.

The previous night, I had gone to a glass blowing class. It was a Christmas gift from one of my chemo angels. From all the way in Florida, not really knowing me from Adam, my angel bought me a Groupon for a glass blowing class to make ornaments. I love doing art stuff, so it was a perfect gift. When I made it to the class, they noticed that the name on my Groupon didn’t match mine. I told them it was a gift and the organizing ladies were very interested. Who was this magical person who got me this gift?

I told the ladies that it was my pen pal. I let them know that she was the equivalent of a stranger, and how nice it was to be thought of….but I couldn’t explain the whole truth. Well, I was diagnosed with cancer and got hooked up with Chemo Angels who send me letters every week. This was one of the beautiful things one of my angels has done for me. I couldn’t say the words because I didn’t want to feel like a cancer patient. I didn’t want pity. I didn’t want the extra attention.

When I told the boys this, Max mentioned that I missed a valuable opportunity. I agreed with him, but I couldn’t understand why I chose not to reveal that part of myself. Max said, “you are missing an opportunity to show people that even though you had cancer, it doesn’t need to be a miserable, horrible experience.” By being able to share that aspect, like any aspect, I allow people to get to know me more and be more invested. It can help me make more friends, make stronger connections.

Not being able to do that means I still feel like I should have something to hide. The boys scratched their heads. What do you have left to hide? Your family knows, even your dad. Why do you still have to hide? There was a beat, and Max stated, “you are still not okay with it yourself.”

Back in the car, bawling about a stupid smartphone, I pondered. Was this the missing thing? I am horrible with money and don’t know if I will ever get ahead. Is my fear of being destitute keeping me from liking myself?

Hours latter, I thought I was doing okay…but hanging out with Alex and Max brought it back up. I told them about the phone ordeal and they knew it wasn’t a problem. “We’ll just buy one on eBay,” Alex said. They pulled up eBay on a laptop and I looked through them.

I hate eBay. I feel weird buying other people’s stuff. The last time I bought something on eBay, I got a broken old school ipod. I was able to return it, but I still felt like a dork trying to buy something on eBay again. I knew the boys would help me, but I also felt like I didn’t want to spend all this time and money buying an old phone that is already ancient by technology standards. It was sure to have quarks and not work as well as it should.

I finally went on the At&t site, held my breath, and tried to get an iphone 5, certified like new, for $1 with a two-year contract. I entered my information, held my breath, and submitted it. The screen changed and said I would be charged when it shipped. The fine print said that everything would depend on a credit check, yadda…yadda.

Well, it didn’t say no. Matter of fact, I think I got it. Did that just happen? Is my credit not that bad? No…it is bad. Maybe phone companies are not as picky as they used to be. Nothing bad happened. Instead, I might have just simply got what I wanted.

I felt better, but I wasn’t a hundred percent. Over dinner, Alex and Max tried to talk to me about it. I found that I couldn’t talk about it without feeling emotion. The boys were like, separate it. I couldn’t. I gathered myself in the bathroom, and we continued on talking about something else.

Of course, when we got home, the subject got picked back up. Alex dismissed any of my distress about finances or being stuck in the technological dark ages as the grounds for my current slippage from my high flying disc. “You can’t start this year until you finish the last one. You still need to release the judgment of yourself,” Alex said. His answer was to dismiss me to have a conversation with my 13-year-old self in their office.

What? The boys made me act out holding my younger self’s hand and walking her into the office. I walked into the dark room and just sat on the couch. This is so stupid! I started to get a little pissed off. I knew they were over me because I was over myself. I hated that I was in this negative space. I didn’t know how to get out of it. Why am I tumbling backward? They have just done this trick to ditch me. It is a Saturday night and they are hoping to get rid of me. Should I just go home? I could then just stew in my own bed and not be an embarrassment anymore.

As I am staring into the dark, I am like, “okay young self, what am I suppose to know?” No voice talked to me. I did start seeing a series of pictures. I reflected on that lonely seventh grader. She was anxious, scared, and frightened most of the time. It didn’t help being relentlessly bullied at school and ignored at home. I had thought I was at my ugliest, but recent studies of my school photos made me realize she wasn’t that ugly. I was bigger, but not horrific. I had grown to like her in a way.

My current spiraling is similar to the spiraling I used to do in the bedroom of my youth. For hours, I would be alone. I wondered if life would ever get any better. I didn’t want to leave my room because I didn’t want others to see me upset. Behind my closed door, I wondered why no one cared about me. What was so wrong with me? Why am I so unlovable?

I had to come up with reasons, because I needed to understand why I was being bullied, why my mother treated me so bad. I went to the obvious. Fat, gross, disgusting…it was so easy why I would repulse others. In my adulthood, I have realized that these were never really the reasons.

By sixth grade, I probably realized that I didn’t like boys the way the other girls did. I had already developed, but I had no interest in the opposite sex for anything sexual. My mom was constantly afraid older guys would hit on me and would yell at me to not put on make-up, to not dress in a way to attract unwanted attention. That is most likely why I didn’t dress as nicely as I wanted to. I don’t think my mom understood that I didn’t want to be involved with a guy. I think she thought that I would get caught up with someone and there would be a whole sex/pregnancy drama. There was a lot of concern that I would be asking for it if I weren’t too careful myself.

I realized that my mom’s worries were unfounded. Still, the more concerned she got, the more she would tear me down. She thought that fear and ridicule would set me on the right path. I knew she was neurotic and was disappointed that the more she did this to me, the more she was admitting that she had no idea who I was.

No wonder why I kept stuffing my face. It was entertainment, counselor, protection, etc. I am sure some of the boys were just trying to pay me some attention, and my lack of return energy probably pissed them off. Or, they knew I wasn’t like the other girls and I was really insecure about it. I was so insecure that I was afraid to share anything about myself. Besides being awkward, I am sure some people thought I was just cold and thought I was too good for them. This made it easier for them to want to tease me. Getting teased made me feel like I needed to do anything I could to shy away from attention, so I clammed up even more. I tried to push out what they were doing to me. I ignored it. I would often be in complete denial of it, or at least tried to operate like I didn’t know it existed.

So, what should have happened? How could it have been improved? What did that little girl really want?

I know that all I wanted was to be loved. I wanted to feel like people got me and wanted to have fun with me. I was always doing my best to be the “good girl.” I wanted to succeed and make people proud of me. I wanted to share my worries with someone and talk it out, instead of letting them build and not knowing how to deal with them. I wanted to feel confident to learn new things, to fail and know that I was still okay. I wanted cheerleaders. I wanted to feel pretty and sexy. I wanted to feel desired. I wanted to feel like people were excited to see me.

Eventually, I did get to points of my life where I felt this way but I lost it. I have fallen back to the same scared little girl, and am treating her as coldly as my mother treated me. At the time, my mother blamed me for things that weren’t my fault, looked at me as a hindrance or annoyance. I felt like I embarrassed my parents because they made fat jokes at my expense on a regular basis. It was easier to hear them call me fat than to call me stupid or vicious. I was a convenient scape goat to pin things on when others didn’t want to take responsibility. I thought that meant that I needed to constantly explain my motives, or why I wasn’t responsible, even if it was to death’s ears.

Well, it is 2014 babe. My mom isn’t around, neither are my tormentors. I don’t need to replace them. There is nothing to be gained by this negative momentum, just like there was nothing to be gained then. I didn’t deserve what I got then, and I don’t deserve it now. In the end, I was a cute girl who didn’t have anyone to show her a different way. Eventually, I was able to pick myself out of it…just like I will be able to pick myself out of it now.

I saw how I began to change. I took charge, stopped eating sugar, went for bike rides. I lost a bunch of weight, but still felt awkward. I didn’t have balance. I didn’t always know how to dress for my body. The guys never came. It wasn’t because they weren’t interested, but I wasn’t interested in them. They could smell it. I did what I love. I wrote. I drew. I traveled. I sang and performed. I didn’t worry about money, because I knew I would be able to figure out a way to experience what ever I desired to do.

I need to embrace who I was at every age. I need to be able to enjoy the insecure me, and the confident one. I need to find beauty and acceptance with the fat versions of me and the thin. I need to embrace the loud, brassy, unpolished person that I am. I need to stop apologizing for her and just be her. I need to remember who I am in everything that I do, say, wear, buy, and love. I need to release that I will not always be everyone’s cup of tea. Still, there are people out there who see me and really get me. I need to be one of those people.

When I look at Max and Alex, I am sure I could see a million faults. I never do. When I look at them, I see the people I have always loved. I don’t care what they are wearing, how big or small they might be, how gay or straight they might act. They are just Alex and Max. If they discover something new about themselves, or wanted to try something different, I would be immediately at their side, helping them. If they had an opinion I didn’t like, or said something hurtful, I would reserve judgment until I had more information. I want to be involved with their lives. I want to share their ups and downs. When I see them not taking care of themselves, I get upset. When I see them not feeling who they are, I get annoyed. If they do something that I may not entirely agree with, but know it is necessary for their growth, I release them to do what they need to do but keep myself available to help pick them up if I need to.

The way I feel about them is the way I need to feel about myself.

There is no version of me that I should hate, because they are all necessary. I am all of them. The more I convince myself that I am flawed, the worse I feel because I know it is untrue. I am creating unnecessary distance between who I think I am and what I am. The discomfort is my emotional guidance system telling me that I am off.

An hour passed. Did the boys expect me to go back into the living room?

Eventually, Alex walked in. “Is anyone awake in here?” I came out and tried to explain what my mind did, but words failed to really be arranged in a manner that befitted an accurate answer. Max gets the most frustrated about this. I imagine that he sees the answer/solution so clearly that it must seem painfully obvious. When I reach out and just miss it, he gets upset.

No one is more frustrated than me. A former me might have never even come over, let alone tried to talk about my frustrations with the boys. I have felt better, so I painfully know when I am off track. I know I need to find the track and get back on, but it is like trying to find my glasses when they aren’t where I remember them being last. My vision is fuzzy. I can’t see them. I panic. The added emotion doesn’t help circumstances, but the knowledge of what will happen if I can’t see, can’t afford new glasses, needing to ask someone for help…is enough resistance to make the solution seem farther away. Someone yelling at you to hurry up, or that you are stupid for having lost it in the first place (even though you have developed habits to prevent this from happening in the first place), makes the search that much more unpleasant.

Alex is noticeably frustrated and asks questions for futher clarification. Verbally say what you are thinking in your head. Use your words. What bad tape are you playing? How did you get there? There is a quiet, but known sense that I know the answer and can figure this out, I just need a little guidance. It is like a mother, who knows the kid has lost her glasses and is freaking out, going to the obvious places the glasses have known to be laid and looking around with clear objective eyes. She doesn’t have to find them and immediately give them back to the kid. She might see them and instruct the kid where to go, or at least give helpful hints to make sure that in the end the solution is had and growth and healing have occurred.

In the moment, I am that kid panicking without the glasses. For me, the consequences of not figuring this out are dire. If I lost my female reproductive organs because I remained ignorant of whom I am, or at least was disowning who I was, what is the penalty for not getting it right now? But, it isn’t that dire. In the moment, I am scared and confused. Even though I have had a glimpse of the solution, I can’t hold onto it yet. I am cruising down the highway, seeing the Ikea, but not knowing how to get over to Ikea for their delicious meatballs.

Back at the table, I am still at a loss for words. My mind is blanking. I don’t know how to describe my new found vision. Max gets angry. “You can describe it in your blog in perfect detail days after the fact. I can’t believe that you can’t remember it now.”

I understand the thought process. My brain doesn’t work the way that I want it to most of the time. When faced with immediate social pressure, it can go blank on me. Sometimes, it hasn’t had enough time to sift through the data to understand it enough to speak on it at the moment. When I journal, I have had time to think about it. I can ponder it, explore it. I can change the words latter if I dislike it. Writing is not immediate. Sometimes it is a meditation. I can’t explain why sometimes it is easier to write it than to say it.

Usually, this would be done in some special book that I have toted around with me. The only one with real access to it would be myself. The danger of having a blog is that people read it. The old me is TERRIFIED that people I know are reading this. I don’t always like that they are accessible, that it is open to an interpretation other than my own. In these moments, I feel pathetic and am not always hip to sharing my acknowledgement of that. Also, making your writing public is putting yourself out there and making yourself accountable to your authenticity. I stand by what I write, but I am growing and changing every day, just like my writing.

What is the point then? I need to open myself up. I need to share who I am in this world with this world. I know that I am not the only person who is dealing with this stuff. I have read enough self-help books to know that I am not alone. I have also read enough of them to know that the solution is not cut and dry for everyone. You have to sift through the baggage. You have to listen to yourself. Only you have the operating manual for YOU.

Alex gets a bright idea, “you need to record an audio of your blog.” What? I get immediately embarrassed. Why? Who wants to listen to that? Are you serious?

“You need to start listening to your words and lessons learned before you go to bed each night, instead of the thoughts of others,” Alex said. Yes, I often listen to Abraham Hicks, or read different things through the course of the day, but this is cheesy.

“I do it with my drag videos,” Alex replies. “You love watching them. Do you think it is stupid that I do them?” Of course not! I love watching the mini music videos played back. Sometimes, it is like a time machine. I remember how I felt when they were made, and what a good time it was. Sometimes I watch them in amazement of how we look. It is hard to argue that you are ugly or untalented when you have a video where you think you might be cute and your movement inspires entertainment or awe in yourself. The medium also helps others to express their opinion of you, and more often than not…it is supportive or positive.

I kind of knew the idea was genius. It didn’t matter if anyone else listened, but if I could listen objectively, maybe it would help.

Alex set up his laptop with six entries he wanted me to read. Max got me a glass of water, and they both decided that they would go into the office, close the door, and let me do it without interruption. Max said he would even put on headphones if I was too nervous about them immediately listening to me.

Left alone, I immediately started to shrug off the brilliance of this. The posts were long. (Currently, this one is at nine pages in Word) I started to read them out loud. I became self-conscious of my voice. As I reread the posts, I found mistakes or words misspelled. I continued, trying to brush the objections aside. It didn’t need to be perfect; it just needed to happen. My mouth got dry. I would trip on words. At one point, I was convinced that the boys were listening with a glass held up to their ear behind the closed door. Still, I pressed on.

An hour or so latter, I finished. Alex immediately went to editing the audio. Is there anything this boy can’t do? We were all exhausted. Max was nearly passed out. Around 4 am, Alex said I didn’t have to wait around. He was almost finished and that he would send me the link to the final product.

So, Sunday came. The sun came up and I felt better. As the day went by, I wrote some, reviewed old photos of me, and watched some videos. The audios came, and I listened to them. Yes, I cringed when my voice cracked or I had an irritatingly long pause….but how could I hate this girl. I had to take off to a sleep lab for a sleep study. They were wiring me up for a cpap. I brought the computer because I knew I could write. Wires, all over my head and legs…and I am still typing.

This has to be it. I can no longer back track into this pool of unworthiness. If I have to shove my face into my face so I can no longer deny who I am, I have to do it. I use to love having pictures of me all over my living space. They reminded me of good moments. I enjoyed seeing myself from out of my body. The lens is less warped. At some point in my adulthood, I stopped taking pictures. I didn’t have anyone to share them with. I often didn’t feel pretty enough to take them. This whole selfie revolution happened with these amazing cameras on these smartphones being 100 times better than a separate digital camera. I could still take pictures with my crappy phone or ipod, but it was a conscious choice.

It wasn’t until last year, when we started dressing up and taking photos that I actively decided to take more photos. As I felt better, more photos came. Maybe that is part of the medicine. Sometimes we need to see ourselves reflected back to us.

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.

Folliculitis

Just when I thought I was okay with my shaved head, something comes along to mess with you. I started noticing that I was getting pimples on my head. No biggie, I am kind of prone to them. No worries. Days started passing, and it got significantly worse. I made an appointment to see my oncologist. She examined the head and said it was an extreme case of folliculitis. It isn’t like every cancer patient gets it, but since I am kind of prone to it and my immune system is sort of down…I just got it. She helped me get an appointment with my dermatologist the next day and gave me tubes of hemorrhoidal crème to put on my head to alleviate the pain. Who knew hemorrhoidal crème did such things?

The dermatologist did a culture of the bacteria on my head and determined it wasn’t anything unusual. She placed me on an antibiotic and some sort of topical gel. I have been on it for three days now, and I believe my scalp is improving. It went from super sore and oozy, to a dry desert landscape with crusties.

I haven’t been able to wear a wig or anything tight on my head. I feel a little weird stepping out because all I have been wearing are some beanies. I never wore these in my life before, now they are my go to, paired with a hoodie.

When I think of myself, I don’t know if I think of myself as a baldy. My self-image hasn’t completely caught up with my new reality. The fact that I am kind of newly lesbian and I still have a repulsion to the concept of “bull dyke,” doesn’t help the situation. I mean, I look the part right now. Still, I long to be pretty and girly. I don’t want people to look at me and try to figure out whether I am a guy or a girl. I don’t even like the idea of them thinking I am a cancer patient.

To prevent me from having total anxiety over it, I just kind of live in a little space of denial. I try not to pay attention. I just stand in the thought that it is what it is and move forward. I don’t know if it is right or wrong, but it has been working for me. That is why I am probably not as embarrassed by my weight as I should be, or that my clothes are seriously ill fitting or outdated.

Appearance is important in this society. It does say a lot about a person. Do you take the time to care? Is how you look always a reflection of who you are? I cannot say that the outside package is completely reflective of the inner person, but isn’t it? My disheveled appearance is a reflection of my internal struggles. It shows how much I care about myself.

This is an avenue that I want to improve in my life, but it is hard to focus on when you feel like a monster because your scalp is super hideous. All I want to do is cover up, which probably draws more attention to myself because it comes off like I am trying to hide something.

In the meantime, usually once or twice a week I play dress up with my friends. Alex paints my face and dresses me. We take photos or do little videos. I love doing this. It makes me feel closer to who I think I should be. Why don’t I do it everyday? Mostly because that feels like bondage. I can’t imagine a daily beauty routine. Sometimes it is because I get frustrated with how it turns out and convince myself that I look worse than I did before I started. It feels like wasted time.

When I put make up on for a show or during one of these little sessions, it isn’t really to please anyone else. I take significant time, enjoy the process, and relax about the outcome. I am doing it to please myself.

So, maybe that is what I need to remember. I need to stop dressing and worrying about what other people think of my look and just try to be more authentic to how I want to look and feel. It is another layer of this theme that has been going on during this whole year. If I could just feel more comfortable in my own skin, I would find the ease that I am looking for in my life.