Yes. I said it. My house is a (bleep)ing mess. It’s like this, off and on, all of the time, but it is more noticeable to me right now. That doesn’t mean that I like it messy, that dust and crumbs on the floor, clean clothes in unfolded heaps, sorted by owner, and books, games, papers, and assorted stuff strewn about make me feel comfy and cozy. Nay! Oh, no sir! It makes me feel crazy, harried, and anxious. The problem is multi-faceted, though. I have a lot of kids, kids are messy and lazy, and I have limited energy to pretend to be the maid. Actually, I stopped trying to be the maid a really long ago because it was causing me to go into ragey beast mode. Not good, let me tell you. Anyway, I was looking around and getting so irritated over the physical state of my abode. And looking at my five kids, who were all laying around, watching videos, wallowing in the mess. And this was not cool. Now, I know all about the once a month cleaning service that will come in and help out while I’m in treatment, but the reality is that there is no way I’m letting these kids off scott-free or asking strangers to come clean this mess up. My own room is a mess. Ugh. No, strangers aren’t going to fix it. So I got a little…testy, and…instructed the kids on exactly what and how to correct the situation. As for my space, I have 3 things to do today: room, nails, Target. I’ll be lucky to check one off the list (I think I’m fighting off the cold that is going around the house again, so I’m tired again after 2 days of some energy) and since I am a week behind in buying #3 his birthday present I don’t think it’s cleaning my room.
Why am I sitting here going on about my messy house? Because it’s a normal thing that is now an in-my-face issue. It highlights a life-long struggle with organization in my space (as opposed to other areas where I’m extremely organized), and also the struggles that I have as a parent with five really big personalities challenging me on a constant basis. It’s also representative of a larger concern:
How do I manage my life while I’m trying not to die?
How do other people do it? I don’t know.
One of the questions I get asked on an almost daily basis (meaning every time I mention that I’ve got Stage IV breast cancer) is “Well, do you have a good support system?” or some version if it.
It seems so well-meaning, so innocuous, but it is so personal. It’s as though someone is asking my exact weight.
Reality is that I have the best support system I’m going to have. What does that mean, anyway? What business is it of anyone else’s whether I have support? Why not, you know, this whole thing is ridiculous, I’m sorry it happened, I hope you get through it as quickly as possible? Or something like that? Sometimes it makes me feel worse to think about support systems, and not even because I don’t have one. I do! I have AMAZING friends! I have a house full of children who love me and are able to lend a hand (albeit, in a messy house) when needed. I have a husband. I have family. Most importantly, I have myself.
I am my support system.
I am my support system.
Me. Everyone one else is a part of it, but the truth is that if I weren’t ready to be on the other side of this, like, last week, then no group of friends or family in the universe would be sufficient.
So it galls me a bit when I get asked. Am I not enough to see myself through a tough situation? Am I incapable of having my moments of weakness and then picking my own ass up of the floor? Is it impossible for me to see this through without some idealistic version of the angelic spouse coming to my rescue? Well, that isn’t real-life, people! It isn’t. I am capable of telling my family to leave me alone, please take care of things while I lay in bed and try to not lose my shit. I am able to ask for help when needed, and to accept the graciousness of others and appreciate that they spent time in their day to do something for us out of love. I can see the other side of it.
I am the one who consoles others when I need to explain my situation and my point of view.
I am a damn good support system.
That all looks like a conceited rant, full of self-import and bloated ego, but it isn’t. Truth is truth. And that truth is not-NOT!- limited to just me. We are all strong when we need to be. Strength, by the way, never means that you don’t get to have moments where you cry, scream out, rail against the injustice of whatever you are facing. It just means that you continue to take breaths in and exhale them out, you get up, gripe at your kids over crumbs on the floor and laundry to fold. Strength is knowing where the fissures and cracks are in your wall and how to deal with them. It is the simple act of living, and of getting through each day in the only way you can. It doesn’t even mean living life to its fullest 100% of the time, it just means that you live without hiding from your truths, without blaming everyone and everything and yourself, that you learn how to keep going. You are strong, courageous in a million ways without ever knowing it.
One thing I’m not is a “Cancer Warrior” or “fighting” this. I’m accepting it as reality and moving on. I don’t feel like Rawr or anything, there isn’t some new me that replaced the person I was on June 4 at 11 am with someone new at noon when I found out. That is a lie, a myth we tell ourselves and that I feel compelled to try to live up to, except that I don’t want to. No “Fight Song” bullshit for me! No.
Let’s all agree that what is happening to me is pretty much most of our collective worst nightmare. But it is ok. And it’s a hell of a lot better than waking up every day in a panic about a job you hate, kid issues that overwhelm you, a life you loathe, and being angry and afraid of every moment. This won’t last forever, not the bad parts. The cancer will be with me forever, and at least I have an idea of how long I can expect forever to be, but if that is the worst, if the treatments are the worst and they aren’t forever, then I’ll be ok. Right now sucks, but afterward it will be ok.
Now, back to the house. The vacuum isn’t running, I don’t see clean bathrooms, and I’m pretty sure that if I hear one more episode of Dr. Who streaming something is going to burst…………