Saved Up Brain Dump

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.


Incidental Secrets

Here’s my submission to Kleroteria:

Have you ever just...not told anyone something? Not purposefully keeping a secret, but incidentally? I’m sure we all have. 

I don’t mean the massive kind of thing that your mind jumps to when someone requests that you “tell me something no one else knows;” I mean something that doesn’t matter at all in the grand scheme of things.

When I was ten or so, I almost drowned in the Atlantic Ocean. The current caught me and the waves crashed me around and around until I knew I was going to die. I didn’t, as you may have guessed, but I also didn’t tell anyone when I survived. It was summer, and my sister and I were with our father and stepmother, on our annual summer road trip to see his side of the family. It was some New England beach that I don’t remember aside from the heaviness of the water and the sharpness of the tiny grains of sand.

I kept the story to myself for over twenty years before telling my brother.

The needless secrecy of it has stayed with me ever since, though. Why didn’t I say anything at the time? I’d come to the conclusion that I was embarrassed at letting nature get the best of me, but now I’m not so sure. I think I just didn’t want to worry my father. I didn’t want to risk losing these few and far-between opportunities for, well, risk.

I was not an adventurous child. I was painfully shy, and I mean *painfully* shy. My mother broke her ankle once, and I was too shy to fetch the neighbor for help, but in those brief summer visits with my father, it was different. I was different. I learned to ride a bicycle, complete with falling and skinned knees and bloody scrapes. I made friends quickly and effortlessly, friends that I still have to this very day. I built odd things in my father’s workshops, and I drank gallons of water from pointed paper cups when I would go with him to the oil rigs where he did mystical electrician things.

And I swam in the ocean without fear.

I wanted to write to you about pain and fear and cancer because that is my life now, but when I finally opened this window and started typing, those things fell away and I remembered the weight of the water and my struggle for light and breath.

Tell me, what is a secret that you’ve never shared with anyone? How long have you been holding it tight to yourself? Do you want to let it go, or is it more comfortable to keep it? Let me know.

Love, April


Fairy Tales

Isn’t it funny that the day I decide to come back and tell you all that I’m alive is the day I log in and WordPress tells me happy seventh blogoversary? Anyway, I’m alive.

***

What’s the earliest thing you remember?

I don’t remember much of my early life. My sister was born when I was three years and eight months old, and I don’t remember anything before her. I think I only remember one thing before kindergarten, and that was moving to our first new house in Oklahoma, something that seems pretty dang memorable.

I remember bits and pieces before I was ten. After that I can remember whole days and weeks, and the months and years have a story flow to them.

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The summer I was nine years old, my grandmother gave me a copy of Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales. I dreamed about it last night, about the sound of my aunt Jurate’s voice as she read The Happy Prince aloud to me.

“Swallow, swallow, little swallow…”

I remember her slapping my hand as I sat on the couch next to her, snapping at me not to pick at my toenails, and then returning to the story as though nothing had happened.

I woke up too early this morning, and I knew exactly where the book was. I tried to retrieve it from the shelf as quietly as possible so as not to wake Ian, even though it had an RC helicopter sitting atop it and another knickknack sitting in front of it. I thought I did well until he rolled over. I apologized and read half the book before setting it on the stack on my nightstand to contemplate.

I read The Happy Prince in my aunt’s voice, and I remembered the tears I shed for The Nightingale. I traced the illustrations and remembered how the Charles Mozley influenced my style at the time.

I’m going to go finish reading it now, and to think about how many of my memories revolve around the printed word.

And picking at my nails.


The Storm

Celia rocked back and forth in the recliner, her toe tapping the floor with each heave forward, a deep amorphous feeling of absentness within her chest.

She stared blankly into space, her mind flitting and floating from topic to topic, the grasshopper that jumped on her when she was seven years old, the family trip to the mountains to stay at a ski lodge, her brother’s negligence when it came to calling and keeping her from worrying. She hadn’t heard from him in well over two months, and it was nearing the longest stretch of time in their lives to go without contact.

Her cell phone let out a long, jarring warning tone: a tornado touched down in her area and she needed to seek safety as soon as possible. She switched her volume off, and continued rocking, tapping the floor and tapping the floor.

The roar of the storm passed her by, and she still didn’t hear from her brother.

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On This Day

Facebook’s On This Day thing has its ups and downs, for sure, but one thing it has got me doing is checking back through my archives here once or twice a week. 

Last year we went hiking and Ian rescued me. 

It’s been three whole years since I did the A to Z Challenge, and I desperately need to get back to sewing, since I still have one of these fabrics

Four years ago letrozole gave me bone pain. I do not miss that stuff or Clomid. 

And of course, Facebook let me know that five years ago we went to Nana’s house. 

 

#tbt baby me and a leopard–don’t ask, I don’t have the answers

 


Grief Without a Timetable

Tonight I learned that a friend of mine passed away. 

Not recently, no; it’s been nearly thirteen years. 

When I was nineteen, I met a guy on the Internet. He was driving from Wisconsin to California. I talked him into detouring to Louisiana to pick me up and bring me with him. This was the 90s and we were teenagers; nothing bad could possibly happen. We were invincible. 

Which makes what I read today all the more painful. He died in 2003 of sleep apnea, after falling and hitting his head. 

We were invincible. 

How many times has his spirit graced this blog?

That time a year ago:

I took a road trip to California with a guy I met on the internet days before. On the way home, his car died and we walked for miles in the middle of the night before a truck driver stopped to give us a ride. With a machete in my pants. Just in case, you know?

That time in 2011:

I walked three miles along I-10 an hour from El Paso with a machete in my pants at two in the morning because our car broke down (This was the one trip I didn’t make solo.). Who knows what could have happened instead of my first and only ride in an eighteen wheeler?

And dribs and drabs here and there in between. 

Like when Mel at Stirrup Queens asked us who we’d like to call that we can’t just pick up the phone and call. 

I would like to call the friend I met on mIRC about twelve years ago who took me on his road trip to California. It wasn’t until we were on our way back that I found out why I had to badger him so much to pick me up. He was planning on suicide, but changed his mind when I went. I received a wedding announcement from him almost a year after our trip with a picture of him and his wife, but that’s the last I’ve heard. I hope he’s doing well, and still beating his depression.

Mel and I had an email exchange about my comment, back then in 2011. I dug through my emails for twenty minutes tonight searching for it so I could tell her what I’d learned, with the context. 
The whole reason I was determined to find him was my plan to write a memoir about our road trip. And now I have to write it. I have to do it right, and I have to do it well. 

I’m sitting here on my brother-in-law’s couch writing this post, and Rammstein comes on: one of the bands in our massive CD playlist from the trip to California. 

It’s just–I miss him so much more now that I know I can’t talk to him or send him a Facebook message. It’s so final. I cried for an hour. There’s a hole that I didn’t know was there before. 

I’m missing the co-author of the machete in my pants story. 

 
This sign. I’ve driven past it so many times, but one time, I stopped. And it was on our trip.