Once again I apologise in advance I am pretty much guaranteed to cause offence. Someone once gave me a magnet with the catchy phrase “Remember you will never be given more than you can bear” or words to that affect. I used to throw it across the room at quite regular intervals. I’d have cut it up and fed it merrily to the sharks this week – had I not thrown it away years ago.
I don’t know what has happened.
I don’t know if writing shook loose some emotions I wasn’t expecting.
Or if the meeting with My Oncologist (MO) reminded me that my lumpectomy was but the first step on a rather arduous climb.
Or if it’s just that the healing process has reached a particularly sore and itchy point in proceedings.
Or undergoing treatment for cancer is just not all it’s cracked up to be.
I think it may be all of the above, it is a hundred different things or nothing at all.
Maybe everyone just has to go through this phase and try not to lose all their dignity and humour (I’ve failed spectacularly at the grace I have hoped to maintain).
I was Angry this week, I am angry.
Angry isn’t descriptive enough, angry doesn’t even come close. It is more like a cocktail of grieving, sulking, impatience, and confusion with a healthy pinch of moroseness stuck in for good measure.
I have not been good-hearted, I have been no fun at all, I would have nothing to do with the me this week, to those of you who’ve tried, the tiny sliver of human that is still in me, thanks you, for you are kind and wonderful people.
This Molotov of emotions has simmered away at a fevered pitch and even now threatens to boil up at a moments notice;
When people seem too concerned, when they don’t seem concerned enough. The people who you thought might be in touch and haven’t been.
The worst seems to be when I know someone knows but they are simply ignoring the entire situation.
These people always seem to be the same ones who now, intently stare at my chest while they are talking to me. I know this is an age old problem for women but I have always been gloriously flat chested (more so now I can wear nothing but sports tops) and have never had to deal with this before.
I want to say “Even if you had X-ray vision, which you don’t – you can’t see the lump because it is gone. If you’d like to see the scars, the swelling, the stitches, the bruises and the hole left behind, Ask. It’s really not all that thrilling either but anything would be better than you not meeting my eyes.”
When people ask me how I feel and then put their own words in my mouth, or try to explain to me how I feel. When people try to use magnet quotes in a bid to comfort me, when I am not asking for comfort.
I want to say “I shall be whatever emotion bubbles up in me today. I will handle this however I choose. This may be different from minute to minute because at the moment I am just that contrary. Don’t ask me to choose between positivity and negativity. Unless you’ve been here and done this, at my age, I’d shut up if I were you. Just let me feel.”
When people have said they are praying for me -
I want to say “That’s great for you but please, please take a look at my last five years, when you are done with that, take a look at the world – then bake me a cake instead or learn to cure cancer. I don’t know what I believe, I honestly don’t. I know I don’t believe in the integrity of organised religion. I want to point out that, if I were to believe in God or a higher power, I sure as hell wouldn’t be speaking to them at the moment.”
When people have told me to be strong or hang tough, I have wanted to say “Shit, let me write that down, I thought weak wasn’t working out for me so well.”
When people write on Facebook that life is hard because they’ve mislaid something or they have to work and the sun is out, or complained how unfair the world is for some pitiful and trivial reason. Oh, the things I have felt like writing.
When older men, and it does seem to be older men at the moment, have the right to prescribe what happens next to my younger and female body.
I want to say “you have no idea what your decisions feel like to me, the choices you are giving me are not choices at all. How dare you sit and decided this for my body and then move on to lunch.”
I have silently railed against individuals. I have silently railed against groups. All ages, races, friends and foes have felt my inaudible wrath this week.
I think the kindest thing I can say about myself, is at least I have been an equal opportunity Anger Ball and at least I have bitten my tongue.
I was on the brink of writing a post called “ All my previous Posts have been Bullshit – it isn’t fair and I am not grateful for anything”
These are cruel, snide and hurtful things to think.
They have been Black and White things to think.
In short I’ve been an ungrateful cow, which then makes me more angry.
Still, these emotions have felt very true but they have not felt just. Emotions against my will.
The anger comes because I am lucky and loved and privileged and yet still I am angry.
Around and around it goes.
I don’t have anything tangible to be angry at. There isn’t a useful syphon for these emotions. I am a wounded animal. A baby. A mute. I cannot find the words for what I need, they do not yet exist.
It is made all the worse because of the sea of people trying to help, being so wonderfully kind but I am still lonely because really I am alone in all this and that makes me scared.
And so I am still angry.