sometimes we’re living, and sometimes we’re not

I had to actively keep choosing to live in 2019.

There were scary moments of suicide ideation, when I felt like I was so far away from everything I’d worked so hard to achieve, moments of ambivalence and quiet acceptance that this is it for me, it will never get better, I will never contribute to anything good again. I was able to say those things out loud. And with a supportive doctor and a loving therapist, I was given the space and tools to heal, and the colour seeped back into my life.

And then one day in October I was unusually tired, and the lymph nodes in my neck and collarbone were the size of small rocks. And within days, everything slid down a mountain and I was in a hospital, slick with sweat and unable to open my eyes under the glaring bright lights of the emergency room. There I was, with a fast-growing and deadly infection, with an incompetent ER doctor who prescribed antibiotics that were never going to work with a raging fever, a doctor that didn’t ask the right questions and missed huge red flags in my blood work, a doctor that didn’t listen to begin with, and provided a misdiagnosis. Screaming, unending pain in the side of my head, fevers that soaked my bedding every few hours and made me delirious and dizzy like I’d consumed a whole bottle of wine, vomiting until I felt like my insides had been wrung out to dry. Another trip to the ER, a scary diagnosis, intravenous antibiotic treatments that put stress on my heart and disrupted electrolyte levels, and antibiotics that made me vomit until I had stars in my eyes. At times I wondered if the treatments might kill me if the infection didn’t. Tests. Tests. Tests. Treatment, tests, reassessment, home. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. The fevers subsided, and after six days of out-patient care, I was discharged to continue treatment at home, every six hours, for ten days. I was prescribed anti-nauseants given to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy because those oral antibiotics had to stay down or I’d have to go back to the hospital. And yet, in those weird and awful moments, there was laughter, and hand squeezes, and love. There was overwhelming kindness. There were people pulling for me everywhere.

But I had to choose to live. So many people don’t have that luxury. Friends in their thirties have died unexpectedly of heart attacks and drug overdoses, leaving behind young children and devastated friends and family. Friends dying the long, slow death of cancer. These people wanted to live. Every day of their lives had meaning.

Life is inherently good, and I want to share my guiding principles that have seen me through the roughest moments time and time again.

  • I am trying to love my life as I am living it. There are nonnegotiable moments of discomfort, of course, but there are places where I have power to turn away from things that aren’t serving me.
  • Life is so short. Today matters. I want to be ready to die at any time, to know I’ve lived life to the fullest, tried all the strange and wonderful things that I could have, embraced the opportunities, failed, and learned every step of the way.
  • I’m scared of everything, but that hasn’t held me back. I try everything once, and if I hate it, I know that I don’t have to do it again. But often, I’ve tried it again, further down the road, and was overjoyed to discover I felt differently, and sometimes, overjoyed that I passionately still hated it and I was RIGHT!
  • I’m allowed to change my mind as I fail, learn, and grow, in whatever order that comes in.
  • Failing is important. Everyone needs to fail. It’s hard, it can be shameful, but the value is in learning from it. Did you really, truly fail if you came out of something better and stronger?
  • My self talk is important, and I had to go to therapy to learn how to be kind and empathetic to myself. This is not about enabling or placating bad decisions because they feel nice in the moment, but it is about listening to the uncomfortable feelings and allowing myself time to be sad and angry and disappointed, without shaming myself for feeling those things or placing blame for them.
  • I’m trying to live a life I’m proud of. I’m imperfect, but it helps to be able to take stock every now and then and reflect on the things you feel good about.

I used to think you only live once, but my mom recently corrected me. You only die once, but you live every day.

Fall Love

crisp mornings
balmy afternoons
crunchy, brown leaves
damp, dewy grass
hot apple cider
stew and biscuits
flannel sheets and billowy duvets
clouds of breath hanging in the night air
thick socks nestled in tall boots
hot bubble baths
porters and oatmeal stouts
early sunsets
children practicing soccer
condensation on car windows
sweaters that cover your bum
Sunday dinners
mugs of tea
soft, plush robes and slippers
setting the thermostat
watching movies under a blanket
hot chocolate
jackets with a lining
magic gloves
infinity scarves
steamed milk
spiced whiskey
hockey
Thanksgiving
oatmeal

Consent: Not actually that complicated

Required reading.

rockstar dinosaur pirate princess

http://kaffysmaffy.tumblr.com/post/780535517 http://kaffysmaffy.tumblr.com/post/780535517

A short one today as my life is currently very complicated and conspiring against my preference to spend all of my days working out what to blog. But do you know what isn’t complicated?

Consent.

It’s been much discussed recently; what with college campuses bringing in Affirmative Consent rules, and with the film of the book that managed to make lack of consent look sexy raking it in at the box office. You may not know this, but in the UK we more or less have something similar to ‘affirmative consent’ already. It’s how Ched Evans was convicted while his co-defendant was not – and is along the lines of whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that the alleged victim consented. From the court documents it appears that while the jury felt that it was reasonable to believe that the victim had consented to intercourse with the co-defendant, it…

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I miss you

I should be doing homework and studying for my midterm, but all I can think about is you. I miss you. I’ve thought about you a lot lately. I derailed on Bell’s Let’s Talk Day. I almost couldn’t read people’s words about how they struggled, because you couldn’t champion those demons. Things were so rapid and complicated for you; you didn’t even get the chance to realize what was happening.

I see your face in the crowds. My heart misfires and then I remember that you’re not here any more. That moment when reality hits is always a quiet one.

I saw The Killers in Las Vegas, it was a warm night and they played When You Were Young and I felt your presence. I fought a lump in my throat through the whole song. I could hear your voice in my head singing so loud and so clear, my skin felt prickly. Were you watching me in that space and time?

A year and two days ago you walked away from a place of fear and darkness and went home to God. I wouldn’t find out for another three days because it took that long to positively identify you. I remember the moment so vividly when I got the call and the moments that followed. What makes me so sad is that I can’t clearly remember the last time that I saw you, and I know it had been a long time.

I miss you.

Thoughts after the first day of school

I’m going to write for five minutes every day. Starting today.

Last night was my first class of the semester. I’m taking computing and I was one of two girls in the class. I laughed out loud when one of the guys was visibly disappointed that I wasn’t going into programming and am only taking the class as a prerequisite.

I learned about binary, hexadecimals, solid storage, optical storage, portable storage, RAM, ROM, etc. After one class I feel like I have a basic understanding of how a computer works. I never thought I would care about binary (I’m married to an engineer, and trust me, he has explained binary many times) but learning the difference between analog and digital was interesting. I now understand how CD technology works. Essentially the disc is read by a laser, and the shiny side of the disc has lands and pits, and as the laser hits these lands and pits it reads binary which is translated into usable data. Cool beans.

Actually, I loved the whole class. I was genuinely interested in the technology and how it has changed and evolved.

I wonder if I had been exposed to any of this earlier in my life if it would have changed my path. I think I would be an excellent programmer. I can follow logic, I’m creative, and I enjoy problem solving. I like creating instructions. I am feeling inspired after one class. I hope the rest of the semester is an engaging.

Oh, I kind of love my instructor’s lame jokes. I’m the only one who laughs at them, though. I must be new at this. 

Hey- I was feeling unhinged today. I don’t know what it is about Valentine’s Day that makes me feel so terrible, I’m married after all, but every year it makes me crushingly sad. However, this was the attitude adjustment that I needed. Thanks so much to Matt for posting this. Happy Valentine’s Day xxoo

So Says Sadorf

Another holiday approaches, and I went back and forth about what to write.  Would I go historical and mention a man that became a saint?  Would I look at the cliched subject matter that always pops up?  Would I weigh in on what others think?  I think I will wing it, and see what happens.

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