There is a Mountain Goats song called ‘Going to Reykjavik’ and i like it a lot.

So, hello new readers. The Canberra Times published an article about me, which is awesome, and slightly strange. it’s made me think about writing in the blog again, and working out how to write in it now.

see, there’s parts of my life that i don’t want to blog about. and trying to work out how to write around that, when what i DO is write about my life is hard and complicated. what do i leave out? how do i leave it out? how do i navigate this in words when i don’t want to navigate it here? and how do i still write about my life for public consumption? i like processing my brain through blogging; it’s why i started this blog in the first place. but now i’m processing things that don’t fit here, and i’m not sure how to think things through.

so maybe it’ll be clumsy and maybe i won’t like it. but i’ll see.

i went to the beach with three of my favourite people and it was wonderful.


i’m going to Iceland. and i’m going to eat my way away around Australia.

i’ve got issues with the notion of the bucket list, to be honest. it relies on money, and it relies on health. and when you are sick, you struggle with both of these things. and i am tremendously lucky, because i have health right now. i can’t even tell you how good it feels to be as alive as i am right now. i feel more alive now, in the week i’m not on chemotherapy, than i have in years.

i’ve wanted to go to iceland for a really really long time. since i was in my early twenties, at least. like a lot of people, it was music that started me on the iceland Thing. Sigur Ros, Bjork, Mum, Mugison – a stack of icelandic bands that are magical. and then i read about iceland and looked at photos of iceland, and read some icelandic literature. i’d tentatively planned to do a trip there in 2010, but then ended up going to the US in 2011, so it didn’t happen.

I’d written it off. i’d decided that nope, there was no way this could happen. i would be content with travelling in australia. and then, a few things lined up perfectly, and i realised that flying to Iceland in september was far cheaper than i thought it could possibly be. and so, i’m going to Iceland. i’m booking the tickets tomorrow, and then i start accommodation and plans and details. i’ll make a list of things i need to pack, and i’ll find a way to wrap 30 hypodermic needles safely so i can travel with blood thinners, and i will get a list of all the drugs i need to take:

chemotherapy (i take 6 tablets a day for a week of the trip)
anti nausea (at least two varieties)
anti diarrhea
Benzos (also nausea as well as sleep aid)
anticoagulants (injections)

this is my whole carry on, practically. travelling with cancer is a particular sort of interesting. but i can do it.

i also can do it again because of the kindness of loved ones and strangers. it is overwhelming and hard to put into words. a lot of things are overwhelming and hard to put into words.

and how do i talk about feelings? how do i talk about friendship, or intimacy, or why sitting online all day makes me feel so so so desperately less alone? how do i talk about that, along with the reality of the art of injecting myself with blood thinners once a day, of feeling too tired to really do anything at all, and the memory loss that the oxaliplatin is bringing on? how do i talk about contexts and music and moments and life, and LIFE, and life, as i sort of learn how to live it again, in this compromised state?

what is hard is how normal i look and seem, i think. because often i am fine. often, i am well. and often, i can barely leave the house for the stomach cramps, and i sleep in a ball all day, just crying, because i am dying. how do i fit this in? sometimes i feel so boring. often, actually. i feel boring and worthless and so exceptionally dull because of how sanitised my life is. how i have to pause during a night of drinking with friends to try and time my blood thinner for when i was sober enough to do it.

sometimes, i sit back and i just can’t understand how this became my life. both in good ways and terrible ways. how this – cancer – was thrusted on all of us. i think of the mistakes i made. i think of the time i wasted. i think of the stupidity and the idiocy and then the lack of foolishness and the things i could have done and the things i did and didn’t say and i feel … desolate, maybe? i don’t even know. it’s the boredom that breaks me. the fact i feel so dull and conservative and bland now. i am without colours, and without the vividness and impulsivity that marked my life.

i say this, planning an overseas trip a month in advance of flying out. i suppose there is some of the impulsivity left. i feel like i am suspended between moments of living intensely and of sitting, and staring and feeling so, so cold.

it’s hard. and it’s wonderful, and it’s exhausting, and i don’t know how to feel some days because i feel all these things to the point where i don’t actually feel anything anymore.


About elizabeth

various things.
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2 Responses to There is a Mountain Goats song called ‘Going to Reykjavik’ and i like it a lot.

  1. Kate says:

    I think there’s no such thing as how you’re “supposed” to feel…or, as I used to tell clients, “You’re shoulding all over yourself.”

    All of life is about moments of intensity suspended between moments of boredom. It’s just that the immediate proximity of death makes the intense moments more intense and the boring times darker. Impending death, recently escaping a near-death experience, living in a war zone…which, they’re all forms of war zones, aren’t they? Just different forms. I wonder if (for me, at least) the real fear I’d that I’ll just fade away during a dark moment, rather than going out in the blaze of insanity more suited to my (former) self-concept.

    And anyone who pooh-poohs the concept of the reality of Internet friendships never had one.

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