Today is Thanksgiving, and it hasn’t felt like Thanksgiving to me. My mother-in-law’s food was delicious, the company good, the Cowboys game great, the A&M game (so far), not so much. The day has been full of the normal trappings of Thanksgiving. Everyone (mostly) is happy and thankful, and I am thankful, but I’m not happy. I have zero reason to be unhappy, yet here I am.
I feel bitter, warped. Maybe I am. My skin feels too tight, my jaw hurts from clenching it, and a headache brews up from my sinuses. I’m uncomfortable for no reason.
Why am I unhappy? What’s it going to take for me to let go and stop hating myself for perceived failures that are merely the whims of Fate?
We moved into our new home almost two weeks ago. It’s beautiful and spacious and pretty. A let me have pretty much, within reason, whatever I wanted (except a new couch..lol) to furnish what we needed to furnish. I got a desk and pretty chair for our room. We bought a new table set for the breakfast room. I found new stools for the island counter that are the right height (because our old ones are too tall, and I have no faith in S’s ability to stay on them without falling).
I told A all I wanted for the holidays is for things to be stress-free and happy. He’s upholding his end of the bargain.
But, I’m not. I’m stressed and unhappy.
A family member once told me I’m just like my dad’s mom, discontent and bitter. I don’t want to be her. Not like that. Yet, here I am, on Thanksgiving, bitter and unhappy…about what? Hell if I know.
On this day, where I truly am thankful I’m still here (on this day last year, I was receiving my 4th TCHP chemo treatment, or so Facebook On the Day reminded me), where I have amazing children, an incredible husband, supportive (mostly) family members, where I have food, a roof over my head, clean water, where I know how precious and tenuous life is, I am thankful. I am because my family is. I am because my coworkers and bosses are. I am because my friends are. I am because others are. For that, I am thankful.
But, as I sit here, in my bedroom, listening to S and AJ and A playing an intense game of Uno, I find myself face to face with myself, and I don’t like the reflection. I don’t like being bitter, being uncomfortable in my own skin, being like my grandmother, who I loved dearly but found her bitterness and discontent so confusing.
So, where are the answers? Where is the key for this lock? It’s not as simple as letting go and moving on. I’m not even six months out from a cautious all-clear. I’m a little over ten weeks. Does this get easier with time (and journaling)? Will I shed this skin like a snake who’s grown too much for its current physical entrapment? Or, am I on a path where I grow older, meaner, more discontent, more bitter with the passing of each day, week, month?
A friend I dearly, deeply love as though she were my sister (God knows she’s been more of a sister to me than my own over the years of our friendship) tells me, often, I am too hard on myself, I expect too much far too soon, and in my zeal to prove somewhere in me, pre-cancer L exists, all I’m doing is refusing to really, truly recognize how I’ve changed, for the better, and to accept who I am now…to stop trying to stuff myself into a square hole when I’m clearly not that shape anymore.
She’s right, oh so right, but…(there has to be a but), how do I flip this switch? How do I stop falling through the world as though I’ve entered into a portal I should’ve stayed away from (I play World of Warcraft and have found my toon falling through Azeroth many times, usually because I did something dumb). I know I’m being stupid. I know this is all me. I wasn’t an inherently happy person before cancer. Now, I fake it when needs be because I feel people are just fed up with me. Is that the answer? To just let myself be me, even though I’m not happy with myself right now? It’s easy to say, as I did in my last post, I’m just going to stop hating myself for things (cancer) I didn’t do to myself. It’s far more difficult in practice.
The answers are nebulous, no clearer to me than the last time I ranted about being unhappy. Logic then says, the answers come only with time, with shedding and slowing down.
I’m not a fan of logic, as a rule. I tend to be ruled by my emotions, by how I feel about something. I’ve often been told my gut instincts are good, my ability to truly zero in on what someone really means or how someone really feels, is good. I’m told these abilities make me a good teacher, that and my pretty much unshakable belief in any kid’s potential and desire to prove people wrong. The irony is, what I’m so good at when it comes to others is something I am so bad at when it comes to myself. I can’t zero in on the unhappiness, the bitterness, except to say, “Well, I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at 37.”
That reason isn’t enough anymore. Cancer happens, to far too many people of every age and background. It seems to me, most go about and become happier, more grateful people. Were they ever once like me?
I don’t know. I don’t know the answers. But, I do know, I’ll just go on, like I’ve done for a year and a few months, trudging along because I just refuse to become more like my grandmother. Maybe I’ll find the answers, suddenly and with stunning clarity, or maybe I’ll find them slowly and on the journey.
Or, maybe I won’t, and if I don’t, I must repeat to myself what I said in my last post: it’s not okay to hate myself because others, myself included, don’t like what I have to say or what I do or because of what’s happened to me.
The answers may come, what an important word, “may.” It is full of possibilities. It is full of hope. For, it must be; otherwise, “may,” becomes tenuous, full of uncertainties. It is the opposite of stability and routine.
I’m not an optimist…never have been, but I don’t want to be the bitter, discontent pessimist everyone avoids (rightful so, too). Perhaps my friend, who is annoyingly and oftentimes, right is, well, right. I expect too much too soon. Slow down. Learn who you are now.
Then, the answers may come (or not).