calm before a storm: feelings and stuff.

i’ve noticed a strange thing that happens.

i am told news.  i have a day or so of terror and heartbreak, and then a few days of adaption. then comes the anxiety – when i start realising that though i know something more, i don’t know everything. then, i start to feel optimistic, yet fearful of the next step – the step where i will find out more. this is a cycle, and it’s happened a few times.

i need to let go of knowing, and certainties. there’s not going to be some magical point at which every aspect of this path will be set in stone.  there is not some time in which it will all be clear, and nothing will change, and it will be easy.  there is no constant. there is just change, and shifting boundaries.  i already know this – the liver cancers being ‘uncharted territory’ and the surgeon already saying that what he tells me depends on the oncologist and the bowel surgeon – that the team are working with variables and questions, not a definitive path. this is a process. just like the anxiety is a process, like the night time fears, and the terror of the next round of appointments next week.  this is what will be happening to me for some time now.  i can fight it in terror, or i can try to learn how to accept it, and feel less resistant.  the anxiety will remain – i don’t fear that, because i know what an anxiety attack feels like, and what it means, and that it’s my body trying to protect me, and not attack me.  i don’t like violent metaphors much. i want to learn to love my body, and not hate and fear the invasion. it’s too late now. the cancer is there, and i need people who know a lot about it, to get it out, and to help me recover, and move on with my body.

i want to try and talk about how i feel about the crowd funding.  it is not easy to talk about, without apologising or repeatedly saying thank you. both of those things don’t make for very interesting reading.  i am also overwhelmed, in the best possible way, by the kindness of people.  i cannot say how much easier this has, and will, make my life.  being private means i have out of pocket expenses. i get the money back, but i need to have it on hand first, if that makes sense. so i can then funnel the refund back into the cancer-fund, and it will make that much much smoother for me, and my family.  it is a concrete way of helping.  a lot of the other help is concrete – a beloved friend is helping us with cleaning, and i can either get cancer council assistance for lifts, or call on friends to help out.  alex finds cooking soothing, and my weird bloody diet means i can’t eat a lot of stuff at the moment.  but i’ve gone away from talking about the crowd funding, and how i feel about it. i feel… without words? like my heart has gone up beyond it? like, i want to go through and thank every single person who’s contributed but i don’t even know what i’ll say – other than every single cent matters, every single piece of help has made my life at this horrific time that tiny bit easier.

there is one thing i would like to share though. i value every donation: one has come out at me that i think is worthy of talking about, because it shows how kind, and strong, and beautiful people are.  i hope this doesn’t offend or upset the person i am talking about.  i am happy to delete if it’s not appropriate.

i had a best friend in the first two years of university. i have vivid and loving memories of drinking goon at an art show, of art adventures, of the time that the boarders in the city opened and we danced wildly about, of early morning video art and culture lectures, and cups of tea, and a sleepover where we watched 80’s movies. we had a very bad falling out between second and third year. i have always regretted it bitterly, and wished i had adult conflict resolution skills rather than the 19 year old, idiot me skills. i won’t go into details because they don’t matter for this context. i blamed her for actions that were not about her, but entirely about me.  too much time has passed to even think about blame, for any of it really. but i take responsibility for my part.   our values changed. my extroversion over the next few years started to get flooded with the start of mania, and then slipping back into depression and withdrawal, and a lot of the time, i was a pretty shitty, annoying person to be around.  i feared her quiet confidence, and her achievements, was jealous of her success while i languished in a bookstore, moods lacerating me, unable to finish my stupid, poorly planned honours thesis while she succeeded – i mean, i was in an amazing relationship with a wonderful human being, but apart from that, i was pretty shit. she did so well. emotionally, i was a child about it. when i got my shit together eventually, i started to feel pleased she did well. i thought about my old friend with her amazing Kate Bush hair (seriously, i have never met anyone else with the same incredible shade of red) and her shy, striking smile, and i realised i was happy for her – despite our differences that may, or may not have grown over the years, despite the fact we’d probably never see each other again, despite youthful monumental fuck ups.

when the earthquake in tokyo happened, i freaked out.  i knew she lived in japan now, but didn’t know where. i contacted a mutual friend – feeling like a total idiot, but i just… needed to know she was ok. she was.  i felt overwhelmingly relieved.  i don’t think she reads this blog. i don’t know how she found out about me. but goddamn it, thank you. from the bottom of my heart. i feel overwhelmed, and full of feelings i can’t put into words, and reminded of exactly why we were such close friends for two years – because she’s a goddamn decent human being, and we had a friendship full of joy.  and i am, and always will be sorry for what happened.  i fucked right up, and i should have done better. and i don’t need, nor am i asking for forgiveness or absolution by any account. too much time has passed.  i learned a lot through this – about female friendship, about poorly allocated blame, about my own weaknesses and my own jealousies and ugliness, and about loss, and how profound the loss, and the grief of loss of friendship was – more profound than the loss of some relationships.  it took me years to process these lessons – more than it took me to process a lot of other things that happened at the same time.  those lessons have gone with me, and i hope made me a better person, and that’s really all you can ask when you screw up badly as a 19 year old. do better next time. i hope i have. 


About elizabeth

various things.
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