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.
He sat quietly on the bench, phone in hand, waiting patiently for his train. His eyes flicked up to the top of his screen again and again to check the time even though he knew he had hours yet to wait.
The station remained empty, bereft of all life but his own.
A memory rose to the surface of his mind, a snippet of a forgotten dream from the night before: the shadowy entrance to a massive cave, the baffling runes scratched on its walls, the ebony statue guarding the fracture in the earth. He closed his eyes and shook his head, willing the images away.
A sharp, staccato noise caught his attention, forcing the dream from his mind. He opened his eyes to a bird perched on the rail across the tracks, head cocked and staring at him.
The whistle blew, and he took a deep breath, bracing himself for the hordes of people to come.
Randall’s condition was growing worse by the day; even at his heaviest, he was not a large man, but the gauntness in his face was beginning to alienate so-called friends that hadn’t seen him in a long time. They would come once to his lonely little room, and never again.
Randall usually called them train-wreckers when he would laugh about them with his dog Valentine, his only constant companion, but sometimes he would grow silent after a visit, and not speak for days, lost in his depression.
At these times, Valentine would crawl into the bed with Randall to press his warm body into the man’s bony side. Eventually, Randall would come around, and apologize profusely to Valentine, feeding him special treats and pouring sparkling water into his bowl.
One night, he opened up his laptop and went to his Facebook page, scrolling past the dozens of hopes and prayers and wishes. He started to type out a status over a dozen times, but never finished enough to post it. He closed the laptop and laughed, startling Valentine.
“It’s my own fault that those train-wreckers come visit, Val,” he laughed. “I’ve got to stop telling the world that I’m sick. No one ever bothered me when they thought I was well.”
Randall opened his laptop back up and quickly pecked out a short message and shared it for everyone to read as they wished. He turned the computer off and snuggled into his pillow, more at ease with the state of his life than he’d been in a long time.
His soft snores drew Valentine’s attention again, and the dog scrambled up to join his master in the bed.
He woke to seventy-four notifications on his phone and more prayers than ever, thanks to his one-word status: cured.
All the leaves strewn on the ground
Wet and brown and broken.
Crossing the street, I left a trail
Twin stripes of shining blacktop.
I found a tree stripped of its leaves
Stark naked in the sun.
A bed of autumn dampness at its feet
I took the meager comfort offered.
The cold presses against my skin
The wind peels it away.
Resting in the shade of spiny branches
Shadows of skeletal fingers.
Claude pressed the door closed behind him, gently, so gently. The silence in his apartment was a heavy blanket that he came home to every night, once warm and comforting, now growing threadbare and itchy. He laid his keys softly in the wooden bowl on the table by the door.
Six steps to the end of the couch and a right turn. two steps and a left into the cubbyhole of a kitchen. A single glass from the cabinet above the dishwasher, a single paper plate from the neighboring cabinet. Claude stared at the paper plate a moment before returning it to the cabinet, his lack of hunger making the decision easy.
Ice from the freezer clattered into the glass, the sound shattering the silence with its knife-sharp assault on Claude’s eardrums. He cringed and weighed the bottle of whisky in his hand before twisting the cap off and filling the glass halfway. The grating of the metal cap on the glass bottle felt like fingernails on a chalkboard, but it was the price he paid to get to sleep at night. He tugged on the refrigerator door at the proper angle to keep the handle from coming off and topped off his glass with Coke.
The first sip was cold and bitter; Claude made the same face he’s made a thousand times before, wincing away from the taste, but compelled to return for more. He placed the glass back on the counter and leaned forward, eyes closed, his hands to either side of the glass, until his forehead touched the coolness of the cabinet door. The posture brought him no comfort, and he stood upright again. He took the glass with him to sit in his recliner.
A right out of the kitchen, three steps to the end table, and one more to his chair, soft and inviting. He sank down into its welcoming embrace and began to drink away the loneliness that threatened to engulf him completely in its darkness. Left foot, then right foot, he hooked his toes into the backs of his shoes and kicked them off, letting them fall to the floor, tumbling to rest against the base of the low coffee table that had never seen a cup of coffee.
And he wept, gently, so gently, fearing more than anything to disturb the blanket of silence under which he had lived for so long.
bluebird pops up to say hi