Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How the Light Gets In

One of the comments that my ex wrote to one of the articles received about me was that they should be careful about their poster childer when only the nice parts of the child end up on the poster. This blog has always intended to be fairly raw and when you do things unprocessed, sometimes you make mistakes. Other people’s articles show the nice parts of the poster but here, you’ve literally seen pictures of me bleeding. I know that there’s entries here that people have warmed up to because well my heart was fairly warm. There are those which have made people angry or hurt.

The last few entries have been worrying people. The honest truth is being broke scares me as much as my sickness and I try to figure out how to not get there. I am so damn afraid of being poor and passing that onto my daughter, so damn afraid. And when we’re afraid and feeling trapped in corners, if we fail to recognize it, like a rat we swing at things that may be harmful but also at things that may be trying to help. We try to justify that somehow that job wasn’t a good match despite the fact that you’ve said you’ve loved it for years. Let me be clear beyond belief; I don’t believe that anything that went wrong in my life  wasn't at least partly at fault. Todd who would put together the tourney did it without asking me for any help because he knew that financial fears would have stopped me from doing the medically right thing to do and my pride would have found a way to shut down taking help. The last run I went before qualifying for Boston was with my friend Andy who connected me with Livestrong. 3 of us ran together and we talked about how they would do things. One of them said, I’d just ignore it and go party it up till it killed me. Andy said he would to, except he had a kid and that changes the game and the world…  It’s changed mine. 

I’ve hurt my mother’s feelings by some of the things I said about my childhood and the last few entries have hurt some of my coworkers. I was just wrong on some of those things but one of the sad/great things about human psychology is that when we’re happy we’re more likely to remember happy memories, when we’re sad, we’re more likely to remember sad memories etc. And lately, I’ve been scared and angry so I’ve been reflecting angry and scared memories. That’s not healthy to live there but it’s also unhealthy and dishonest to not acknowledge it (though it’s probably less than wise to do so in a public blog). Before cancer, I had some serious sports injuries because I’d take forever to getting around to seeing them and then aggravate the injury. This blog is a way to address some of the injuries and hoping that in letting it out briefly and intensely, rather than retaining it… I make some progress. One of the ways I get through the day and rough days is by saying and trying to live “Having bad days is against my religion and I rarely sin.” I’ve been sinning more than usual lately. 

But I made some mistakes and blatant remarks in this blog that its not okay to let sit unaddressed. On the small level, there are tons of great athletes at my job. Amy was the one who helped me push better for a marathon. There is another serious weight lifter and other cyclists. More importantly, the norm certainly there is tons of good people. Perhaps from the population we work with, we see they are (almost) all good parents. They are good people who do good, though I can’t honestly take back that most of them do it while finding a way to work without challenging the system and part of my problem always was that I pushed the system and local government rarely takes that well. I had always challenged the system and I think contributed some for which they tolerated it, but my heart suspects that once I’d brought in a 3rd party (the EEOC) for getting stuck in a bad job that was less than acceptable to me when I was already feeling overwhelmed by a diagnosis. Maybe the fact that we’re self insured and cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars wasn’t helpful either. 

On a bigger level of apology, I don’t think my mom did an inadequate job by any means and I know I’ve hurt her feelings by talking about some raw emotions and memories from childhood. I like to think that she gave me my good qualities and that I made poor choices which gave me my bad ones. She wasn’t perfect but I’ve met no parent who is but I’m working my ass to be a good parent because of her example not in spite of it. And I imagine that the good qualities from Kiana will be some from her mother, some from me, some from herself. I can take the blame for any bad choices.

On a similar level, my ex has made comments over and over that she left because there was another girl and it had nothing to do with cancer. This is true from several years ago, before my daughter was born. I’ve had to acknowledge this because a couple of organizations have gotten remarks about it. How angry she still is at me a year after we’ve been apart gets interpreted differently by different people. Some people say it’s the guilt of doing what she did. Some say it shows how much anger she maintained and never processed. Some say it’s the conflicting emotions of trying to figure out how to be in love with someone else when that means reduced time with her daughter. There’s obviously no way to know. When this story was sent to a couple of organizations, they asked about it. They appreciated that I didn’t dodge the issue or avoid it. It’s never made this blog because I started it from the day after the seizure and it was a mistake from long ago.  I wrote it to keep track of what happened since the seizure and the cancer but it’s obviously shifted a little with more references to the past. So let me acknowledge that, probably the worst mistake of my life from several years ago. If you think something that occurred years before justifies someone leaving their child and someone while they are unable to drive with lots of medical restrictions... I don't know what to say.

Thank you to whoever reads this and whoever cares but I am no saint, never have been, and never pretended like I was. I am someone who tries to move forward but sometimes gets stuck dealing with the past but I don’t want to live in it, again no matter how good or bad it is. I want to keep training for races and I am starting to train for that brain power 5k so I can do better in it. I don’t want to rest on my laurels; I want to improve for as long as possible. If I run a marathon again, I want to train hard again. I’d rather be alone than get into a bad relationship so if I dare to dream on that again, it has to be an updgrade. On the job, I probably will get to a point to where finances win because that’s one of my absolute biggest fears. With Kiana, I will use every resource I have to not lose a second of time with the greatest gift the universe has ever lent me.

­I write this, not as a story, hoping for some great ending but just as a way to capture slices in time, unprocessed, unfiltered, in case the memory ever betrays or fades or whatever that I can still remember the moment. I don’t know what’s coming but I’m trying to accept that I wasn’t quite prepared for life with cancer; I was prepared to die and those are gigantically different. I am not free from cancer and my dealing with it has “freed” me from other things. If I’ve ever said anything that hurt you or offended you, I am sorry at some level. That really wasn’t my intention. If peeking this closely inside a damaged brain is discouraging you, please stop reading it because I get through the day by people helping me and I don’t ever want to be someone weighing someone down. I talked to a guy from my running group about why I stay away from girls because I don’t want to weigh someone down with my cancer. He answered wisely, “dude it’s not a secret, people get to make their own choices." I don't know if I can get to the capacity to ask someone to make that choice. 

On that whole poster child thing, I think every single one of the pictures I’ve been in shows a scar visible on the side of my head. I have others that aren’t as perceivable but I accept them as part of my identity though I wish to never be wholly defined by them. Life maybe easier to make sense of if we make it about black and white, about victims and villians, heroes. That’s  just so rarely true. At the end of the day, we’re all broken.  Sometimes in dark places, those cracks are the only way the light gets through. Thank you for occasion tolerating my cracks and my dark places for those of you who have done it. Thank you for being some of that light.  I’ll try to get back to being more faithful to my religion. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry, but if that was the worst mistake of your life, then it goes to show she wasn't strong enough for you. If it really was the worst mistake, then someone is doing their darndest to tell you otherwise. Nothing will change until you realize that one thing you did would not have perfected your life back then. Would you feel differently had she stayed and still found someone else? That's what she did anyway...