I’m not doing the best. I don’t even know what all I’ve told y’all, but there’s been a ton of cancer garbage and other health crap going on for the past three years.
I want to say that for the most part, I’ve adapted and overcome, but I might be fooling myself. Or I might be doing an excellent job, I just can’t see it right now because it’s a shit mental health period.
My guts hurt. I had colitis a couple of times last year, and I have diverticulosis, so it could be either of those, or something else entirely.
My brain is fuzzy. I can’t remember things like I used to. I can’t use words like I used to. I can’t make connections in my head. I feel like an idiot trying to make art anymore because I’m no good at it.
I want to do so many things but I’m discouraged. I tried to tell myself yesterday that it’s okay to stay in bed all day if you feel bad, that it’s okay to take a bunch of naps in one day if you can’t stay awake. Today I’m still in bed because it hurts, but I can’t believe myself when I say it’s okay.
My brain says I haven’t had surgery, so there’s absolutely no possible reason that I should stay in bed.
My brain is an asshole sometimes.
I’m dizzy and my head hurts all the time and my vision is going to hell in a hand basket. I’m worried there’s cancer in my brain now. I want to tell myself that’s silly, but is it really? I don’t know anymore.
I’m a huge fan of the “ignore it and it’ll go away” philosophy. I feel like that’s weird. I tried to do that with my adrenal tumor and they just found lung cancer. I tried to do it with my reproductive system and it just hurt worse and worse until they took it all out. I tried to do it with my neurostimulator and they had to take that out. Maybe I’m just not as good at ignoring things as I think I am. Except my own friggin mental health. I’m super great at ignoring that.
I plan so many projects and I want to try so many new things and then I kick myself when I physically cannot do them.
Sometimes I wonder why I keep trying.
I tried to take a cognitive function test yesterday and I learned that I can’t do the logic puzzles that I used to love so much. They’ve become secrets of the universe to me.
I don’t even know how much I’m supposed to feel like garbage with all the hormones that are gone and can’t be replaced and all the hormones that are replaced with pills and do I even know what I’m talking about anymore?
I don’t know.
Maybe if I start writing again things will get better. Maybe they won’t.
I do feel a little better after all this though. I need to go blow my nose.
I hope you’ve stuck it out this far, because I didn’t think to say this earlier. I’m not dumping this for pity or condolences. It is what it is. I’m dumping this so maybe someone else having a rough go of it won’t feel so lonely.
Life isn’t always peaches and cream; I guess I know that as well as anyone.
I got dressed today. On a scale of 1-100, getting dressed always takes me up at least one point. I can’t sit and put makeup on today though.
When I feel better I need to make an art caddy for these days when I can’t sit at my desk and create.
Yes, April, even though you said you feel like a fraud with zero talent, that desire to make art is still there. Maybe take that as a sign that you’re not entirely hopeless and uninspired.
Oh, I make notebooks now. I would love to send you a care package of tiny notebooks and art and who-knows-what if you want one.
I think I’m gonna go catch up on my collage fodder tutorial videos now. Thanks for being here.
When I woke up this morning I felt freaking amazing. Swear. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I opened my eyes and hopped out of bed and wanted to fly to the moon when my feet hit the floor.
See, I got back problems. It’s been probably eight or nine years since I could physically hop out of bed. Ever since the accident at the factory, I’m crunched up and slow moving. For a while there, it was touch and go as to whether or not I was going to make it.
But this morning. Man! It was like I had one in the chamber and the bullseye was six inches away. Just the best. And it’s not like I did anything any differently, last night or yesterday, or hell, the past six months.
I’m running on a full tank again, and I love it. I whooped, and shouted, “Soy muy hocicon!” But since I haven’t used my high school Spanish in the past thirty years, I have no idea what I said. That wasn’t the point though; the point was the emotion behind the exclamation.
I tried again. “Escuchame!”
My neighbor started pounding on the wall. I could hear him hollering something at me, but I couldn’t understand him. Besides, he wasn’t going to spoil today for me. I felt great! It didn’t matter if no one cared. Not one single solitary bit!
I opened my bottom dresser drawer, mostly because I hadn’t been able to open that drawer in years. All I found was old cargo pants, but I went ahead and put them on, because by God I was going somewhere today, and most people wouldn’t like it if I went naked.
I grabbed my work boots from the hall closet and jammed my feet in them as I struggled into yesterday’s tee shirt.
When I threw the door open, the birds where chirping like I was Snow White. Glorious.
I took two steps before I tripped over my own feet and came crashing to the pavement.
And just like that, my back hurt again.
I groaned and rolled over to stare at the clouds crawling across the blue sky. Just my damn luck. I closed my eyes and gave up.
And then I woke up. Not feeling as amazing as I had in my dream, but I was still pretty optimistic about getting that bottom drawer open. Today’s the day!
“Just toss that bag in the back, there, girl, and climb on in,” he said.
Frannie did as he bid her, and settled herself deeply onto the passenger side of the baja-patterned bench seat with two dips, the one behind the steering wheel much deeper than the other. She peered around, especially eying a trio of pink fluffy googly-eyed creatures stuck to the dashboard, each wearing a sprinkling of beads on top.
The man entered the driver’s door and slammed it behind him, startling Frannie out of her reverie. “Oh, my little girl gave them to me once upon a time,” he chuckled to himself when he saw what she was staring at.
Frannie thought quickly. If he already has a little girl, I might be out of luck–but he’s awfully old to have a little girl my age, isn’t he? Well, nothing but to go ahead and ask. “You have a little girl?” She couldn’t quite keep the wistfulness from her voice, and he immediately reassured her.
“I did once upon a time, but she’s all grown up and has two little girls of her own now.” He nodded ahead of them, down the long straight highway to everywhere else. “I see her once in a while, but they live all the way to California now, so it’s not near as often as I’d like. Say, my name’s Henry, I’m sorry for not introducing myself sooner.”
“Frannie. It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir.” She stuck out her hand, and when it caught his eye, bobbing wildly over the gulf between them, he grinned from ear to ear and reached out to clasp her tiny paw with his own. She gave two firm pumps, up and down and up and down, and released.
“Pretty fair handshake you got there, Frannie,” Henry complimented her, still smiling.
She smiled broadly herself, showing Henry the single spaced gap where she’d lost her first tooth just three days earlier. “Thank you. Do you have a wife?”
Henry’s smile faltered, and he shook his head. “She passed away two years ago.”
Frannie was young, and not quite sure what to say to that, but still, she felt the emptiness of something needing to be said. “I’ll bet she was pretty.”
This was exactly the right response. Henry brightened immediately. “She sure was. Prettiest girl I ever laid eyes on. Well, here we are.” He broke off as he turned onto a gravel road.
Frannie wondered where the house was, but just as she opened her mouth to ask, Henry rounded a curve and there it was before them: a lovely old farmhouse. Her eyes widened with excitement.
“Help me carry these groceries in and I’ll get you fixed up with some supper, how’s that sound?” he asked.
“That sounds wonderful!” Frannie’s words came out with more enthusiasm than anything she’d said in hours. She couldn’t wait to get inside a house again. One whole day on the road was more than enough for her.
Read more of Frannie’s Misadventures here and find out how on earth she got where she is today.
The adventure began when Christopher arranged for the limousine to pick them up at his house at nine o’clock on the dot.
Maureen was glamorous and graceful in her long flowing silk dress, the blue bringing out the depth of color in her eyes.
Percy was every inch the elegant gentleman, lording over the group with a righteousness that suited him in a way that would have been laughable with anyone else.
Gail trailed along behind the rest of them like a condemned woman taking her final walk down the long mile to the electric chair.
Christopher led the charge like a conqueror from ancient times, the seam in the seat of his pants already wearing thin and beginning to tear. No one was harder on clothing that Christopher. He gave the directions to the limo driver in secret, not letting any of the others know their final destination on this fancy dress journey.
They stopped at the nearest public park, and Christopher dragged Maureen out to gather a few handfuls of daisies with which the pair made crowns for the entire party.
The next stop was the library. While no accessories were to be found here, Christopher made everyone get out of the limo and take a series of selfies in front of the great stone lion that stood a lonely sentry out front of the dark building.
Even Gail was pleasantly surprised when they stopped at Percy’s favorite sushi bar. Christopher made a quick phone call, and in short order, a waitress brought out a party tray of sushi rolls, all colors of the rainbow. These were quickly devoured on the way to the next, and final, stop.
Christopher got out first and waved the limo driver aside to hold the door himself for the other three. He smiled broadly at their goggle-eyed stares, for they were standing in front of the apartment building that housed several local celebrities, including a moderately famous sculptor who happened to be having a formal party that very evening.
The party was excellent, if a tad bit skimpy on the hors d’oeuvres, hence Christopher’s idea to stop at the sushi bar beforehand.
For weeks to come, even months and years, they talked about it as Christopher’s greatest achievement, especially since the biggest surprise he’d ever orchestrated before had been a trip to the movie theater to see Basic Instinct.
Stan peeked out the window, his hair wildly tufted from the long minutes spent hiding in the coat closet, his grubby little fingers gripping the windowsill.
“Is it all clear, Stan?” David whispered from his hiding place beneath the teacher’s desk.
“Yup. The last bus has gone. I think we’re in the clear,” Stan agreed, relaxing his grip and sinking back down to the floor.
David pulled himself out from under the desk and sat up. “So now what do we do? Go upstairs?”
Stan shook his head. “We still have to wait for the custodian to leave, but that should only be a little while longer. Then we’ll be the only ones left in the whole school!”
The pair grinned at each other, wicked in their complicity.
Stan pulled his backpack off one shoulder and around to the front where he could access the zipper. He opened the small pocket and removed two suckers. “Apple or cherry?” He asked his friend, after a brief inspection of the labels.
David reached for the green-wrapped candy. “I’ll take apple,” he answered.
The boys dropped their wrappers on the floor in unison and popped the lollipops into mouths waiting to be stained red and green.
Stan scrambled to his feet with the sudden realization that he’d forgotten one of the most important parts of his plan. He rushed to lock the classroom door and slap their sign on the window, then quickly duck out of sight before the janitor could notice the real reason room 4B was inaccessible.
Mr Mills tried the door. Fortunately, the school board didn’t pay him well enough to make retrieving the keys from the office worthwhile.
David’s wide eyes tracked Stan’s slide along the wall, away from the door. “I can’t believe you made it!” He cried in a hissing whisper made lispy by the recently-lost incisors.
TBP OLWG #34
25 minutes handwritten at work, including one customer interruption. I choose 4!
“Let’s go to the thrift store,” Tracy suggested, a twinkle in her eye.
Adam nodded. “That sounds like a good idea.”
Socked and shoed and smartphones in hand, Adam locked their apartment door behind them as they set out on their daily adventure.
“What goodies do you think we’ll find?” Tracy asked. “We haven’t been in weeks. I hope they have some books I’d like, and maybe a pair of shoes for you.”
Adam nodded. “Don’t spend our pennies just yet, hon. My shoes are still perfectly good.”
They joined hands and moseyed down the block. The thrift store was just around the corner, three streets down. Tracy dodged a freshly spit chunk of gum, and Adam had a near miss with a wad of chewing tobacco, but they made it to their destination unscathed.
“Out of business?” they exclaimed in unison, reading the sign taped to the door.
“That’s so sad,” said Tracy. “I loved this place. We both did!”
“I know,” Adam agreed. “But it happens. Let’s keep walking and see where we end up. Maybe grab a bite to eat or something. We’ll find another store.”
They walked together another two blocks, and Tracy was still shaking her head at the store going out of business.
“Look!” Adam pointed across the street.
Tracy immediately brightened. It wasn’t the same store, but she could see the same old lady behind the cash register. They looked both ways and crossed to admire Adam’s discovery.
He pushed the door, and the bell tinkled brightly to announce their entry.
“Mrs. Watson, I’m so glad to see you!” Tracy greeted the older woman warmly. “What happened?”
Mrs. Watson shook her head sadly. “It just wasn’t paying the bills, honey,” she answered. “I was at least able to sell most of my inventory and move in with my son, and then I saw this store was looking for help. I offered them a good deal on what I had left, and they hired me on to keep the shop during the day.”
“Well, I’m glad to hear it worked out, for the most part,” offered Adam.
“Thank you, honey,” Mrs. Watson answered. “You two have a look around. There’s lots that I’ve never seen before here. And you know I’ve seen a lot!” She chuckled.
The pair began to peruse the ancient bookshelves lining the walls of the store, Adam checking out the knick knacks and mismatched china sets while Tracy lovingly ran her fingers along the spines of the books lined up on display.
Suddenly Tracy paused with a gasp. Slowly she reached up and pulled one volume off the shelf right in front of her eyes. She stared down at it for a moment, simply feeling the realness of the cover. Adam glanced over and saw that she had something in her hands, so he joined her.
“What did you find?” he asked.
“It’s–it’s my favorite book. I don’t even remember how many times I read this when I was a kid. I haven’t seen it anywhere in years, and it’s been out of print forever. My grandmother gave it to me, and–” Tracy’s jaw dropped. She had opened the cover and frozen.
Adam watched her closely. “Well, what is it?”
A smile spread across Tracy’s ace as she turned the book so he could see. “It’s my book.”
And sure enough, Adam read the inscription, written in a spidery, faint hand: To my favorite granddaughter Tracy, on her fifth birthday. I love you, Grandma. He wiped away Tracy’s tear with his thumb and led her to Mrs. Watson’s cash register.
“I can’t take money for your own things, honey,” said Mrs. Watson.
As Tracy was still speechless, Adam thanked her and then guided his girlfriend home. She never loosened her grip on the book, or lessened her smile.