It's funny. There are times and moments and experiences in our lives that change the way that we see or experience things in the world. Perhaps it's the pessimist in me, but it often seems to be the negative ones that rock your lives and change your outlook. Virginity and other forms and innocence aside, it was the abrupt and shocking death of my friend, Aaron Cass, when I was 17 that shoved me straight out of childhood/adolescence and into adulthood. And from that point on, I saw friends and loved ones as temporary fixtures to whom you cling and have to share everything because you can never guarantee that there will be a tomorrow when you can express how you feel. That was the moment that I was terrified that the people I loved most would, not could, but would, disappear in a flash and I'd be left alone, again.
There are very few "positive" experiences that most of us layman experience that can completely change us. Perhaps I'm a terrible parent, or the circumstances related to my marriage at the time, but the birth of my children didn't do that for me. It pains me to admit it, but it's true. Perhaps it was a little more with one child over another, again, very much related to the circumstances of my disastrous marriage, but it didn't shake me to the core. It didn't cause a new view on the world to erupt from within me, forcing me to discard my previous outlook.
I've come close to those epiphanies from positive experiences - some of the rides I've done where I've been broken and I've come back through to finish have neared that phoenix rising, but not the same. Close, but no cigar.
Usually, it happens in a flash. Within moments of the experience - the second I dropped my water on the ground when I heard about Aaron's death... the moment my friend, Lisa, told me my friend, her fiance, died... you know the second that change happens as it's marked permanently in your mind, and the moment you see everything differently.
This cancer thing, though, is proving to be just as surreptitious emotionally & in the way it's changing my life as it is organically. Yes, that second when I got the call in my friend's car sitting in the parking lot at Hunan Spring on Hope Street in Stamford is indelibly tattooed in my head. But the change... it changes daily. Maybe you're noticing that change in my blogs... one day, empowered, the next, broken. And part of me wants to apologize for the seemingly Rica Bright & Dark nature of these entries, but I can't apologize. It's what's happening.
For a couple of days, my friend, Jody, nailed it - it felt like I was thrown into outer space, and my mind was separated from the rest of me suspended in some sort of stasis. I was completely disconnected and numb. And I'm not entirely re-connected. As though each wire that was ripped apart in my mind is slowly reconnecting. But the circumstances and events of the day either welds those connections solidly, causes the wires to cross terribly, or pulls them back apart.
Even the music I listen to - the songs that brought smiles - change. "The Rainbow Connection" reminded me of that childhood innocence before - when I was 5 years old, and my parents and I watched Kermit sing on a log on the big screen, piling popcorn in my mouth, and the greatest ill in the world was when I had to go to bed before M*A*S*H and having to wear what my Mommy made me wear despite my protests. It was before my Grandmother died. Before I saw my mother as not only human, but as a very flawed being and not who she pretended to be. Before I saw my father cry. And now? It's a song of sorrow, reminding me of a friend lost, of an innocence lost, and that we'll never find it. That I'm not longer a dreamer.
Slowly, as the re-connections continue, I'm sensing strange changes. The realization that something huge that has changed the rest of my life, and me, is slowly being revealed as insidiously as this cancer has invaded my breast and my life. As each revelation takes place, as those connections are re-established, they are rejected by my mind's eye. I'm feeling less and less myself and I have those moments where I look in the mirror and I simply don't recognize myself. I'm no longer the "me."
When the man I love touches me, I don't respond. I push him away. I feel utterly repulsed - not by him, but myself. Like I'm being betrayed internally and there is someone else in my skin that's rendered me disgusting. And I don't want him to see that alien entity surface. And then I feel terribly guilty because I know he still sees me, and as much as I want to keep that sense, I feel like I'm lying to him about who I am. In that moment, I'm not me. I'm a cancerous tumor with legs. I'm to be discarded. Cut out. Not loved and adored.
I'm not longer the lover or the dreamer.
I'm the tumor.
Goo goo g'joo.