The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Screwing my Courage to the Sticking Post

After a year of not blogging I’m going to enter again with a clichéd song quote. But it’s so perfect for the all-too-personal post that follows and it’s helped me through at least half of the past year.

I’m trying to tell you something about my life.
Maybe give me insight between black and white.
And the best thing you’ve ever done for me,
Is to help me take my life less seriously.
It’s only life after all.

Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable,
And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear.
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket.
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it.
I’m crawling on your shores.

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains.
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains.
There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line. And the less I seek my source for some definitive; closer I am to fine.
                                                                              -Indigo Girls, "Close to Fine"

Simply put, a year is a particular amount of time. Some years speed by and some are excruciatingly slow. Like everyone who has to age; years seem to go rapidly the more of them you have under your belt. But this year was really quite different for me. I learned some stuff – I actually thought I might be too old to do that now. As you may recall from previous blog posts, long ago and far away, I’ve been in limbo for quite some time. Not sure of my place in the world, knowing it’s not my current location but struggling through nonetheless. When I think about a sane, steady place in my life; a time and location that made sense with who I am, I repeatedly end up at the office/copywriting gig. Quite honestly, I don’t know why this is. This past year, I discovered I lost myself in that job. I think the office space does something to the time and space continuum; there are big chunks of that time missing, and I don’t know where they went. It’s kind of like never going home again. Copywriting was never going to be my career, but I’m pretty sure it would have been without my even noticing had it not been for the slap in the face that is economic strife and workforce reductions.

But tell me why, over the next few years, I kept applying for office jobs? Apparently the answer is money. Who knew I was that person? Writing rarely pays the bills so I keep searching for something I like just as much, something that will pay the bills while I write. But I don’t like anything as much (If I did, why would I want to write?) and my damn work ethic makes it impossible to take any job half-assed. Dammit. Last September I picked up a freelance office fun-time gig. Which means, over the past year I’ve been working 50 – 60 hours a week between the freelancing and the part-time job hobby, just trying to be an active member of society; to be worth something. I’m not sure when this gigantic chip on my shoulder occurred, but here it sits. And yay, me, I can earn money and still work in an office setting. But there’s no time to write. And then I’m sad and then I don’t want to write when writing makes me happy. Oh, vicious circle of inactivity. Oh, slippery slope of depression and overwhelming anxiety. Dammit, again.

I was patiently trying to work through this *stuff* when I started having health issues. I’ve been anemic off and on since high school. As anemia tends to hit women between 20 & 50 who have heavy menstrual cycles, this isn’t exactly earth shattering news, but my anemia and dysfunctional bleeding landed me in the hospital with units of donor blood fed into my arms through IV’s & emergency surgery. Oh, I’m just fine. Promise. I think I was more unnerved from the hospital experience as I’ve never been a patient in one before. And considering what other people go through on a daily basis, I have no right to even be concerned or worried about my diagnosis. Of course that means I was terrified by my pathology results. Honestly, I think I put on a good face but I probably failed miserably and my friends & loved ones all know just how scared I’ve been for the last 8 months. I have something called Endometrial Intraepithelial Neoplasia or Hyperplasia; dummied down to my lexicon – there are precancerous cells growing in my uterus lining.

On the terrifying side:
-Precancer has the word CANCER in it.
-Most women with this issue have a hysterectomy (but most women are over 65) so the precancerous cells don’t have a chance to mutate into cancerous cells.
-Precancer has the word CANCER in it.
-Repeat 1 and 3, 10 more times!

On the, “I’m fine. Promise.” side:
-I went on a heavy dose of hormones for three months & have now had two biopsies since the diagnosis. So far, I’m good with no more bad cells growing and no evidence of any bad cells at all.
-I will continue to have biopsies every 3 months as long as I want to keep my uterus.
-I will be seeing an Oncologist on a regular basis who knows what to look for.
-Precancer doesn’t mean you’ll ever get the disease; it means everyone keeps checking on things (and insurance suddenly pays for those re-checks) because you are predisposed to cancer.

Ironically, just before I was diagnosed, Chris and I were really starting to talk about the pros and cons of having children; the likelihood of loosing my uterus before menopause sort of pushed the timeline forward. Alas, we’re still not entirely sure we’re the parenting type of people; but, we are willing to be slightly more proactive about figuring that out and attempting the family idea. Not sure what it says about us; to confront the imminent demise of childbearing organs and still not figure out if we do, indeed, want children? I think our fear might be wrapped tightly around us both at this point. Please note: these are topics I don’t discuss with my friends and family even, but I think about them, which means I write about them too.

These are my serious, fear-cocooning issues of the past year – well, some are fundamentally part of me and have been around since I’ve been around. And that’s where the screwing my courage to the sticking post and spanking my inner moppet come into play. I am absolutely trying to stop being so cautious with my life. You know, maybe start living it; which means growing up a little when it comes to house buying (something else we did this year!), baby making, novel publishing, and so forth.

Fear is not supposed to be my safe place. It is no place to live. I’m going to sound super cliché here: Do what you love most in the world; that thing you can’t stop doing no matter how crazy it makes you. I DO have things to say, I want other people to hear my voice and I’m just really sick and tired of being afraid.

That’s me reentrance into the blogosphere – this entirely too personal offering. Now we start rebuilding the fun times, book scrutinizing, and movie analyzing blogs. Can I just add here that I am so glad I did the month of fun days last August because my world kind of imploded directly after that and I’m just now sousing out the aftermath. That month of blogging sustained me through some of the darker moments in October, November, December, January and February. More fun blogs coming up! Why? Because I always feel better when I write and sharing those thoughts, ideas and musings is the good kind of fear I choose to wrap myself up in.


  1. 1. I'm sorry you had to deal with all that (because PRECANCER has the word CANCER in it! That is inherently scary! Gah!)and I am very happy you are alright.
    2. I have been massively missing your blog and am uncontrollably excited about its resurrection. I do not have enough writer friends that I get to talk to all that often, it's nice to commiserate over a lack of creative work/time to do it, even if it's only online.
    3. Not really a separate point, I'm just very happy you've brought this back. :)

  2. I feel like I have my own cheering section. Anna, your words made me smile as much as your recent addiction to tennis has! If only because it means I'm reaching at least one person with my writing; and that is all I've ever really asked for in life. Thank you.