Breathless

I stood in the store aisle

Pondering which holiday tablecloth piqued my interest the most–

Red with white snowflakes,

White with silver trees,

Or the rustic reindeer.

My hands fumbled,

Attempting to match fabric napkins

With each design.

People came and went,

Bumping into my cart,

As I still contemplated.

On one such occasion,

I managed to drop some of the tablecloths,

And bending down–

a little too quickly perhaps

My body protested the sudden movement

And pain seared throughout

Leaving me teary-eyed,

Winded,

Dizzy,

Breathless.

Happiness

  • Morning kisses from Mosha
  • When mom sings “You are my sunshine” to me
  • Chocolate smoothies
  • Random check-in calls from Pops
  • Good books
  • Dailies with the Nerd Herd
  • Taking pictures
  • Sunday night Walking Dead with Mosha
  • Christmas time (the trees, lights, baking, decorations, music and time with family)
  • Milo’s floppy ears and Leesi’s nap time snuggles
  • Late night shenanigans with the Rara
  • Mosha’s smile
  • Boba tea
  • Trips to the bookstore and Michaels
  • Watercolor painting
  • Writing
  • Giving others gifts
  • Snuggling under a blanket, watching movies on a rainy day
  • Learning new things
  • Road trips with Mosha
  • Disneyland
  • Seeing the ocean
  • Planting flowers
  • Dancing to my favorite songs

A/N: These are not in order of importance.

Today

When your reality turns out to be fantasy, mind tricks if you will, it can be an earth-shattering, scary thing.

I suspected that the fleeting shadows were figments of my imagination. Sometimes you look from the left to the right too quickly and you think you see something that in reality isn’t there at all. So I ignored them. But today, there was no ignoring you.

I heard the dishes first, early this morning. I knew Mosha wasn’t home, and it piqued my interest enough that I roused from bed and headed to the kitchen–the very empty kitchen. It’s damning because I know what I heard, but I also know what I saw, and they were two very contradicting things. I blamed lack of sleep and new medications as I meandered back to my bed.

I spent time messaging B, and in the midst of that, you appeared, walking alongside my bed, bringing me soup, chastising me for not taking care of myself. Who are you? I had never seen you before today. I didn’t have any sense of familiarity. Just as I began to sit up, you were gone, as quickly as you appeared. Yet you were so very real.

The next logical step would have been to get ahold of my oncologist, to raise the alarm to my medical team, but instead I retreated because of fear and unfamiliarity. I forced myself to sleep, a sleep from which I didn’t wake up from until late evening. Since I woke up, I’ve had a tingling sensation across my head (this is not new, but it has been a while since I’ve experienced it). I ate, plopped on the couch until now, desperately trying to distract myself from today’s happenings. Were they imagined? All evidence points to yes.

After a little prying, Mosha got it out of me, and we decided that first thing, I need to call my medical team. I’m not fearful in the sense that I feel there is a demonic presence in our home, and I don’t believe in ghosts, so that’s not it either. No, I am fairly certain that this is directly related to Lyle or the medications somehow. Best to deal with it sooner rather than later because I can’t imagine living life the way I had to live it today. It isn’t living at all.

Be Kind to One Another

Sometimes, more than others, I am weary of life. There are different reasons why I feel this way, various contributing factors, but a lot of the time people have a lot to do with it. Often, we have encounters with others that are unpleasant, and I have come to realize that even as someone who is battling terminal cancer, I am not suddenly immune from being the victim of other people’s attitude’s or problems. No matter what role you play in life, even if you are the sweetest, most giving person in the world — at some point people are going to crap on you, even when you’ve done absolutely nothing to deserve it.

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Regaining independence, one step at a time

Well after having numerous emotional breakdowns over the past few weeks, we (My medical team, Mosha and my parents) have decided that its best for me to try to regain some independence. Relying on other people for every little thing has taken a toll on me in many ways, and while I cannot control other things, such as how I may feel physically, I can control how much help I receive from others. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on an ego trip nor do I plan on being unwise when it comes to asking for help; I know my limits and when I need to reach out. However, constantly having someone who needs to sacrifice aspects of their life to be my caretaker has never sat well with me. In the end, it ultimately adds more stress to my life, which makes me sicker than I already am.

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Radiotherapy, Day One

Today was day one of radiotherapy. For those of you who don’t know, radiotherapy uses radiation, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill or damage cancer cells and stop them from growing/multiplying. It’s a localized treatment, so it only affects the area where they direct the radiation. Unfortunately for me, the leukemia is so widespread and near so many of my vital organs that directing the rays can get difficult. You definitely don’t want the rays to hit your kidneys or liver or other important organs.

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Something I didn’t want to hear

The worst feeling is when your doctor suggests that your parents aren’t suited to be your caregivers. Its not for lack of willingness, but because mum herself is ill, and I worry for her health. I get stressed about her well-being and feel guilty when I know she isn’t feeling well but is slaving away to make sure that I’m fed and looked after. Continue reading

Even tough people crack

Everyone has an idea of what makes them them, and for me, I have always been someone who likes to think of themselves as strong. When faced with adversity, I choose to state at it emotionless, in the face. Sure, I might be terrified, but I don’t like to show it. I feel the need to be “strong” despite however I might feel inside. But sometimes, I don’t have the energy to be strong.

Writing because I have to

I’m having a hard time finding the will to write. Sometimes I don’t feel physically able and other times its because I feel like I have changed. When I pick up my pen or laptop, I find myself unable to put anything of substance down. Nowadays, not a lot matters. The days just pass me by. I wonder when I will be on the other side of this. When will I begin to look like myself again?

A moment of emo-ness

My pain has grown so much over the last few weeks. I mostly stay at home now, doped up so I can make it through the day. I barely have any interest in anything. I don’t have an appetite most days. I feel a lump perpetually in my throat. I tend to dread going to bed. I’m almost always exhausted, but lying in bed in the dark means there isn’t anything to distract me from the pain and my overarching situation. I get angry, frustrated and exasperated easily. I’m waiting for the day when it all gets better.

Renewed vigor, for the moment

So its been apparent to me that I’ve been a little more angry than usual. I feel like it was bound to happen at some point. Although the drugs account for a large portion of my mood swings, I also have to take ownership for my lack of patience and increased resentment over the past few weeks. I mean, I’ve been pretty good at controlling my emotions regarding cancer, but as of late its been tougher to do so. But today…today I woke up with a renewed vigor. I am determined to conquer this — not just cancer in general, but all of the nasty stuff no one every sees or talks about. I won’t let it change who I am, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

Stem Cell Transplant — Complete!

An update for everyone —

I received my stem cell transplant today. It was a rather grueling day: seven straight hours hooked up to various machines getting pumped full of different medicines and eventually, someone else’s blood. But, thankfully, it is over, and procedurally, everything went well. Now we wait to see if my body takes the donor’s cells as my own, which can take anywhere between a few weeks to a year, but hopefully we will begin to see something within a month and a half to two months. For now, I am being watched for the next 48 hours around the clock, and I have daily checkups with my cancer team until further notice.

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That odd sensation

I wish I knew how to describe how this feels. Each time is different, and I think that’s part of what makes this horrible. You never know how it will make you feel. They do their best to anticipate what will happen so before they ever even administer the chemo drugs they pump you full of saline, pain meds, antihistamines, antinausea meds hoping that one or all will minimize the negative effects of the chemo, but it’s never the case. You still end up feeling some odd, surreal feeling.

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Almost asleep

I hate sitting in my room, in the lap of luxury. I look around and it’s like the walls are eating me, it’s like some disease and I can’t scratch it off my skin. I drag my nails over goosebumps and hate being here. I shake and cry cold and silent tears in a too big house and wish that I could just have a crawl space where the ceiling didn’t tower above me like the sky and the walls didn’t echo their emptiness. I’m not claustrophobic. I want the stagnant air to close in on me, and I want the city to burn…burn the black creeping into my room always. There’s just no lamp big enough to light the shadows and make my empty bed seem like home.

Moments.

Ever had a moment when you just don’t know how you do it? How you keep going? How you made it this far? Ever looked back and cringed at all the years taken from you by depression and thought, oh god, it’s no wonder I don’t know how to function. I didn’t for so long, I’m still getting back on my feet. And that’s okay, it doesn’t make me incompetent and it doesn’t make you weak to have relearn how to live after spending so long not wanting to.

Plans & Pneumonia

Hello people!

It’s been a hectic few days. I worked most of Friday, and my last two appointments were for Nay Nay & Lee Lee, so after we finished they treated me to dinner at Cherry Blossom Noodle Cafe. I was looking forward to our dinner all week because I am currently obsessed with their Chicken Katsu and Potstickers. Dinner was worth the wait because the food was delicious as usual. On our way home we stopped at Zia Records, and I purchased a pack of coloring postcards (Daydreams by Hanna Karlzon), a Color-In’ Book — Retro Summer, as well as a TMNT toy for Andrew. I crashed shortly after getting home as I was tired and not feeling too great.

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Herberger Theater Festival of the Arts

Today Andrew and I went on an adventure to partake in the festivities at the annual Festival of the Arts put on by the Herberger Theater. There was live music, performances, children’s activities and food/shopping — oh, and of course, lots of art!

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I’m Angry at Lyle

Well, it has been one heck of a day. Ups and downs for sure…

I had an appointment this afternoon to do some follow-up testing. (I completed a similar set of tests at the onset of diagnosis.) The tests were extensive and focused on various brain functions. I’ll tackle each area one at a time.

Physical
The good news is that I did well physically, so I won’t be requiring physical therapy. I did have a few minor balance issues, but my team of doctors (neurologist, neuro-oncologist and radiation specialist) recommended a few exercises that I can do at home to help with my balance and vertigo episodes. They did say that I am not allowed to swim or hike and suggested that I keep my driving to a minimum if possible. If I’m feeling up to it, I should take a short walk daily, and I am allowed to continue my bike rides so long as they don’t last longer than 20 minutes in one sitting.

Memory & Attention
I apparently have a short attention span. According to the tests, I lose a lot of details and larger concepts. After around 30 minutes of focusing on something (conversation, for example) I get exhausted and get head pains. If there are a lot of things happening at one time, I get confused and lose focus. This is all a decrease in my memory and attention from where I was scoring back in July because I was always very good at focusing — not just on one thing but multiple things. I was a very efficient multitasker. I’m not anymore, and that is a very hard fact to accept.

Speech Portion
So this was the worst part of it all. I went from very high, almost perfect scores back in early July to scoring in the high 40 percentile. The tests were eye-opening. We did reading comprehension, and I had a 50% success rate. We also did object recognition, and it was very weird to see pictures but not recognize it, yet know in the back of my head that at some point I knew what it was. It was so hard to wrap my mind around. When I had to listen to an audio portion and also read a paragraph and tell them what I read, I only had half of the details and concept. It’s totally wild that I only understand half of what I’m reading because when i read silently to myself I thought I was understanding 100% of it. I had to read aloud and while I see all the words, I don’t read all the words on the paper, and I insert words that aren’t there. It’s just weird to think that I’m not getting everything when I’m reading on my own since there is no one there to tell me what I’m missing (or adding). Ignorance is bliss.

Anyway, I have to start speech therapy to basically re-learn words and reading skills. No guarantee since the cancer is killing the brain cells that control those cells, but we have to fight on and try. Apparently there will be homework involved.

Logic, Reasoning, Math
I did well! Haha. Math. Why math? I loathe it so much. I would trade my math skills for my reading/comprehension any day. Such is life.


I think that the hardest thing to swallow today was the fact that I went into the test confident and trusting that I would do better than I did. I really focused, gave it my all and expected better results than what I got. That is what defeated me. That is what discouraged me. That is what made me breakdown and cry.

My family was very encouraging. They keep reminding me to trust God — no matter what. I will never give up, even when I want to. I won’t give up for them. They care so much, and I would never want to let them down. I will always fight for them.

That it is the worst part of all of this. When Mosha and I discussed how serious this all is and how badly my brain functions have declined in such a short amount of time, Mosha said he didn’t like to even talk about it because it gave him knots in his chest. When I called and spoke to my parents, my dad tried to tell me to be strong but his voice cracked, and then my mom got on the line, sobbing and telling me that he walked out onto their porch and was breaking down in tears. I can’t stand that they hurt, even though I know that its natural. My mom says I should be worried the day that they stop being worried and hurt over me. I know she’s right, but it doesn’t make this any easier.

Besides all this, they’ve ordered blood work (to be done at my leisure) and an EEG which is currently scheduled for 12/02. I’ll be starting new medications to hopefully manage the physical pain of the headaches better, but they informed me that it could take up to 6 weeks for it to have worked its way into my system. My team is also pushing for round two of chemo to start next week, rather than later this month, but I’m on the fence about it at the moment since I have the women’s conference on 11/18 that I want to be present for. I’ll have to talk things over with my family more and also my team for the women’s conference to see if its feasible for me to miss the conference, even though I really do not want to. I know that my health comes first though, so it’s a path I may have to take…

Well, I am exhausted, so I’m off to rest.

[A/N: Lyle is the name of my brain tumor for those of you who didn’t know. I have a habit of naming everything, and this tumor is no exception!] 

The Scars of Battle

It was a pretty lazy, uneventful day for me. I’ve been dealing with a horrible headache since Sunday. Honestly, it’s rather frustrating that no matter what I do or what remedies or medications I try, the pain doesn’t ease up. I’ve take Tylenol, ibuprofen, Excedrin, and the Vicodin I was prescribed. I’ve slept, made sure I’ve been eating regularly and healthy. I tried my essential oils, had Mosha massage my neck and head, used my head cold pack, and throughout all these things, I’ve pleaded and prayed to God. For whatever reason, I’ve not received any type of relief from the pain. As a result, I’ve been completely unproductive since Sunday.

Oddly enough, I experienced a moment of relief, not from the physical pain but a mental moment of relief, from one of the most unlikely places: a fictional world called Eorzea, the setting of my favorite game.I’ve been playing FFXIV for about two years now. It’s been such an experience, and my life has changed in so many ways since I started playing. I’ve made long-lasting friendships with other gamers through this particular game. Looking at how close I’ve become to some of them, I simply cannot imagine my life without them. They’ve gone beyond strangers behind fictional characters and become an integral part of my day-to-day life. Despite the distance between us, we are close, and they are genuine people. They care for me just as I care for them, and I’m grateful for all the times that they’ve been there for me.

This may sound silly to most, but in-game there is the ability to purchase housing. It’s something I always aspired to do, but I was never able to do so because of availability and pricing. However, today, I was able to purchase an apartment. Then the fun began: decorating.

I ended up bankrupting my character’s bank account (a little less than $2 million) in one day by purchasing and furnishing my place, but it was worth it. I’m sure you’re probably wondering what this has to do with my real life struggles, and here’s why it matters: it made me happy, happy enough to momentarily place my physical pain at the back of my mind.

I know that in the scheme of reality, this game doesn’t matter, and some would even call it a waste of time, but this game allows me to escape my daunting reality, however briefly, and experience a world where there is no cancer and wounds can be healed by others instantaneously. I’m able to spend time with my friends, create and modify my character and surroundings and partake in a mesmerizing story. So call me crazy, laugh at me, or roll your eyes, but I had a grand ol’ time today in my fictional world.

I was slightly disappointed in the size of my apartment at first (there are no size options when you purchase your place), but after I started furnishing it, it became my space, and my love for it grew. The cherry on top was when one of my previously mentioned in-game friends presented me with a housewarming gifts: an orchestrion and an armoire.


I have been wanting an Orchestrion for such a long time because there is one song that I am obsessed with called The Scars of Battle but you can only hear it in a specific dungeon. But now, with this Orchestrion, I can listen to the song whenever I want!

I tell you, it’s the little things in life that make me happy. ❤️

Just thoughts. 

I don’t feel like a good person. I wanted to open with that because once the truth is stated, there’s nothing left to hide. I could have done so much more with my life up to this point. I didn’t. I’m selfish. I always have been. Some regrets we carry until the day we die.


I feel numb…numb to reality, numb to the stagnant air of refuse discarded by society. I have brain cancer. There’s a destructive cell in my brain that is supposed to spread through my system, attacking me, killing me from the inside. 

No matter what I do, the numbness stays. Day by day, it grows. It grew as my hair disappeared. It grew as I lost weight. It grew as I clung to hope.

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching myself from a distance, like I’m watching myself die from a vantage point, a safe point lost within my insecurities and fears. There are so many questions I want to ask myself but I’m afraid if my answers might be. 

Am I afraid of dying?

Do I hate God for this?

Sometimes the numbness is apathy. Other times it’s denial. But mostly, I think it’s sadness. Sadness and fear. 

People continue to say: “Live your life!” It sounds like the right thing to say, but how do you explain to people what this burden feels like? How do I explain my bouts of random crying or sudden onset of melancholy? Already this has become “old news” for most people I know. The calls and visits dissipated already. I understand that even though my life has been halted by cancer, that doesn’t mean that my friends’ and family’s lives have stopped moving forward. I didn’t (and don’t) expect pity forever. I suppose that it’s just a bit harder to cope on the days when I don’t hear from anyone. I’m grateful for the few who still reach out. They don’t know how much means when I feel surrounded by darkness. 

At the request of my family, I have a doctor’s appointment to see my primary physician about how I feel. I’m tired of feeling the way I do, so anything that will help is welcome. I’ve been praying and reading my bible, and Pintresting all the inspirational things I can find, but I don’t feel any less of a shell of my former self. I just hope that the restless nights and unhappy days go away soon.

Learning As You Go

Having cancer is one of those things that you improvise, sort of like playing a made up game where you’re making up the rules as you go along. Living with cancer is not one of those games that comes with a 5-page booklet full of step-by-step instructions. While there’s an industry worth billions of nothing but self-help books, it’s unlikely that any one of those books is going to fit your individual situation. No matter how much advice you get or how many self-help books you read, the bottom line is that living with cancer is a journey that you ultimately end up trekking on your own.

Yes, it definitely helps to have family and friends who can offer advice and encouragement, but no matter how much they try or care, there is still a lack of specific instructions that we (the patients) feel we need when we’re seemingly thrust into the uneven and arduous terrain of such a drastic life change. There’s so much stress, upheaval and fear that accompanies cancer, and it’s not something that anyone is ever prepared for.

This road is filled with unexpected twists and unwanted turns and setbacks, but one baby step at a time, you learn to find your way. You begin to design a new life, remembering where life has brought you, honoring what you’ve experienced and learned along the way.

Mortality.

I can’t sleep. It’s not one of my better moments. I keep thinking about how it is already week four into chemo and how fast time is going…It just reminds me that life is fleeting, and I feel like I’m quickly approaching this deadline of life that I’ve been handed, this death sentence, and I can’t do anything to stop it…

The Battle I Didn’t Choose

Today is the start of my fourth week of chemo, and sometimes it’s still surreal that I have brain cancer. It just doesn’t seem real. In so many ways I feel the same as always, almost like nothing is different except for the fact that I get sick a lot, have lost some hair and sleep more than my cat. But there are these fleeting moments when I feel…well, normal, just like my old, healthy self, and it’s hard to believe that I’m battling an illness as big as I am.

Now, I know a lot of people who tell me not to claim cancer, which I don’t. One thing that I think others fail to realize is that it’s not easy when you have reality staring directly at you, and you’re trying to take God’s Word and His truth and place that over reality’s truth. It’s not easy. So no, I do not claim this — but that doesn’t mean that I’m naive or oblivious to the very real lecherous disease that is attacking my brain.

In the beginning of this, I had so many people praying over me and telling me that perhaps my scans were wrong or that I would go back to see another doctor and that they would say that there’s been a miraculous healing, and I genuinely believed that. It was extremely rough for me to believe with every fiber of my being that I was already healed, only to find out that the cancer was still there, and my prognosis remained the same: 2-3 years to live, maybe 5 if I’m “one of the fortunate 20-25%.”

I tried my hardest not to cry or show any kind of negative emotion regarding my illness. I felt that if I cried or was scared that it somehow meant that I was expressing unbelief in God and my healing. I didn’t realize how wrong I was. It took many talks with my honey and my parents to realize that it’s incredibly normal, even as a Christian, to have a range of emotions that bounces up and down, especially when facing such a serious, life-threatening battle.

It seems like that seems to my everyday life since the diagnosis. I bounce back and forth from feeling super-confident in God to feeling scared and fearful of the future. Last Monday was my 28th birthday, and no matter how much I tried to remain positive and just enjoy my special day, in the back of my head I kept wondering, “How many more do I have left?”

I’d love to be that one who beats the odds and ends up with an amazing testimony of healing that inspires and encourages so many others, but it’s hard when I’ve already known three Christians who believed just the way I do, and each of them has lost their battle to cancer within the last two years. That’s what I mean when I talk about reality’s truth vs. God’s truth. No matter how much I believe, nothing will change the fact that I don’t know what God has in store for me. I don’t know what He is doing with my life. I don’t know how or when this ends.

What I do know is that through it all, regardless of it all, I will love God and trust Him as much as I am possibly able to.

Holly Marie - Small

My 500 Words — Day One

A/N: I decided yesterday that I need to write more. Not just more, but daily. I know that this is something that I’ve told myself to do plenty of times, and clearly, I have never stuck to those goals long-term. So what makes this day any different? Honestly, I don’t even know if I have an answer for that. I don’t know that I won’t quit someday, but at least I’m still trying. That’s the most important part.

For now, just to get into the habit of writing daily, I’ve decided to start by writing at minimum 500 words per day. Ambitious start, I know. But honestly, any writer knows that most times, once we are in the metaphorical zone, we can knock out 500 words fairly easy.

Now I don’t have any particular guidelines for myself other than the word count requirement. I didn’t want to box myself in by setting too many parameters, so I figure that my choice of topics and styles will vary depending on what is happening in life at that particular moment on that particular day. When I decided to start this, I found tons of places where prompts where offered, but I can get picky when it comes to writing, and sometimes prompts are stifling rather than liberating, and in my opinion writing is all about liberation. We (or I) write to be free of ourselves and our world. It’s an opportunity to explore other worlds, or even our own, without judgment. With all that has been going on in my day-to-day life, mental freedom is exactly what I need, so don’t expect this journey of mine to follow a particular set of rules. You’ll probably end up getting a mix of poetry, stories, rants, thoughts, and basically anything else that you can think of.

So now that that’s out of the way, onto what’s on my mind at this particular moment in time…

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Politics.

I want to talk about politics.

I know I’ve had difficult conversation about racism, including with friends and family whom I greatly respect, but who don’t necessarily see eye to eye with me on this. I know this Democratic presidential primary has been more emotionally-charged than any recent ones I remember. I know Clinton supporters who’ve felt attacked and beat down over their position. I know Trump supporters who’ve felt insulted and condescended to. I want to say two things about this:

  1. I think it is right that politics are emotionally-laden. Political decisions are among the most fundamental determinants of how our society, and the world, works. People literally live and die by who we elect and how they govern. Every election is a referendum on who is allowed what kind of life, and who is allowed to live at all. It is right to feel a stabbing, life-or-death urgency about them.

    Some of us are comfortable enough to believe that we personally will be OK no matter how any particular vote or election turns out. Lucky us. We should still care fiercely, because the less lucky people are people too. Their children are as beautiful, as infinitely valuable and deserving, as ours are. Listen to the people who could be hurt the worst, or are currently being hurt the worst, and act with the same urgency as if it were you. If the world (and the discourse around its future) is not regularly bringing you to tears, I suggest that perhaps you are not paying it the attention it deserves.

  2. I also want to be kind and compassionate with all of you. If you are my friend or follower, it is because I respect and value you and your ideas. I want to truly hear you, and I want you to truly hear me, and I want both of us to be changed by what we learn. If the way I’m talking about the things I believe in is hurtful to you, is pushing you away, please tell me that. I cannot promise to solve it, but I do promise to try.

Manic Monday

It’s been a hectic day already, and it’s only lunchtime.
I woke up early, around 9:30am, early considering the fact that I have absolutely nothing to do today. I had two strange dreams, both dealing with church, which was new and weird. I told Mosha about them, and he also thought they were intriguingly odd.
I asked why he was awake so early when we didn’t have plans tonight, and he said he had a slight headache and couldn’t sleep anymore. I told him I was cold and was planning on going back to sleep, so he went to get in the shower. For some reason, his Aunt Nita crossed my mind, so I sent her a quick text saying “Woke up thinking of you. Love you Tia.” Within 30 seconds my phone rang, and the caller ID read “Aunt Nita.” I answered, and it was Treme, D’s cousin. She proceeded to tell me that Aunt Nita was at the hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. Apparently she went into the emergency last night because her stomach was hurting, and her appendix had to be removed. However, there was an infection inside and during the emergency surgery her blood pressure dropped significantly, and they hadn’t been able to stabilize it. I told her that Mosha was in the shower, and so we would finish getting ready to head to the hospital as soon as we could.

We just arrived to her room, and thankfully, she’s conscious. It’s weird to be back here so soon. Aunt Nita is in room 3039, right next door to room 3040, where only a few weeks ago Granddaddy, Aunt Nita’s dad, passed away. We know she needs to rest and is in pain, so we are sitting here by her side quietly. Mosha is talking to his cousin Jaylon about Jaylon’s plans for college on my left, while Aunt Rachel sits to my right, using her phone for social media with her headphones on.

I just pray that this situation ends differently than our last visit to this place did.

Justice

You support justice because it is a fundamental right, because perpetuating injustice is intrinsically wrong, no matter who the beneficiary or the victim is. That’s just a basic ethical duty.

The oppressed do not “earn” justice by mounting a sufficiently effective campaign, by asking in an appropriately polite way, by being intrinsically better people, by demonstrating their nonviolence, by putting you at ease that they never have been (or never will be) oppressors themselves, by prioritizing your political process and sensibilities over their needs, or by being appropriately grateful for your support. The oppressed are owed justice because everybody is always owed justice.

Justice is not earned, it is a right. And acting justly is a duty, for everybody everywhere always. Full stop.

Yes, it is strategically wise for the oppressed to campaign effectively. Yes, it is easier to do the right thing when the other party seems likeable. But those have nothing to do with the fundamental rightness or wrongness of a situation.

Eyes on the Prize

So it’s really late, and I’m tired. I have a long day tomorrow; it’s the day that I spend most of it at the Never Again Foundation for my internship, then I have to go straight from there to my 2-hour Bar Strategies & Skills class. However, I wanted to get this off my mind.

Today (err, technically yesterday, since it is now almost 1am), I knelt down before You, and I confessed that I love You, that I want to grow in my relationship with You and feel as though I’ve been lacking due to my inability to stop focusing on me. It’s a nasty little habit that I have. So what do I do when my desire is there but time slips between my fingertips? I always start the race strong but find myself short of breath before long, kicking myself for yet again, allowing my life to get in the way of us.

I know You never hold it against me. You don’t throw these things back in my face, and it’s my shame in myself that drags me down. Still, I thought it was important for You to know that I’m here, trying again, and I will continually pick myself up, dust off the failure and press on.

A Writer’s Block (Literally)

Some days are harder than others. Some days, the words flow freely from my mind through my fingertips into my computer, and other days I sit in front of the screen, a million thoughts flowing through my head, not quite making the full trip to my hands. In these latter moments, the logical part of me places a wall up, stopping the flow before it comes to full fruition. I do this instinctively, knowing that if I were to just let go, let it all come out, it wouldn’t quite make sense to the average reader. That’s where I find myself this morning.

Just before bed last night, there was…well, let’s just say, an episode of sorts, which led to an internal war of the worlds that left me in tears and utterly confused. I know where the confusion comes from, and I’m doing my best to leave it be, to not fret over it. It’s difficult though, continuing forward with the looming uncertainty of what lies ahead. Faith can be a fickle thing for us humans, constantly changing, some days strong, others seemingly nonexistent.

As much as writing is a tool, therapeutic in various ways, sometimes you just don’t know what to write. Even last night, when all my being wanted to say something, while there were tons of somethings in my head, a whole lot of nothing came out. For this specific reason, I’ve decided to begin using writing prompts in these moments when my thoughts aren’t cohesive enough to share. Here’s to better writing habits.

Image

Before.

 
My pops sent me this picture today via email. I think that it’s perfect for me  because I tend to “do” a lot of things without the “before” part (namely #2). I tend to say a whole lot before my mind has completely processed what’s coming out of my mouth. I know a lot of people like this (no filter), and many would say there’s nothing wrong with it. However, in my own experiences, I’ve found myself backtracking on many occasions or having to further explain myself because what I said came across in a negative way, and it didn’t even convey what was actually in my head. 

…but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger…

I think that a wise person would heed these words. I can be the opposite…quick to anger and speak and slow to hear. It’s a bad combination of personality traits, if you ask me. I’m thankful that as a human being, there’s always room for growth and improvement. We can continually surrender ourselves and allow more of Him to shine through us.

It’s funny because I can go days, weeks, even months without thinking about you. Then there are days like today, when I long for you, and I miss you with every fiber of my soul. Ironic really, since today marks four years since I got married. It’s been so long that to the outside world it would seem strange. Even before you left this world, I hadn’t seen you in years. Your yearly trips ended long before we had gotten to the age where we could truly appreciate one another. I know that despite the distance, you wondered, just like I did, wondered about all of the what ifs. I didn’t learn until after it was too late what predicament you were in, living life in a vicious cycle that was quickly eating away at your being, one that eventually consumed you and took you from this cruel world.

Omnia causa fiunt. I genuinely believe that…so much so that its inked on me forever. But despite that closely held belief, despite knowing that things happened the way they were meant to, it doesn’t stop my mind from wandering to possibilities that never were and will never be. Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time? I think it is. Is it wrong? Normally, I’d say yes. But what about when the possibility for any relationship, any infidelity, is completely off the table? You can’t cheat on your husband with a dead guy. Yet for some reason, here you are, at the forefront of my mind, flooding me with memories.

I remember how you laughed as you threw your body forward. I had noticed the lines on your eyes. You had streaks of meteor shower painted on your face — that was common for us, laying out on driveway or roof on those rare summer nights when the newscasters announced meteor showers visible to the naked eye. You had this smile…one that radiated warmth into every facet of me and that is still hooked to every single memory I have of you. In those moments, twilight illuminated you, and I was lost in a daze next to you.

Somehow, the echoes of your voice from those hot summer nights resonate around me. Once a year we would watch the fireworks being blasted off into palettes of rainbow in the night sky. The late night breeze would ruffle your wavy hair, blowing your musky cologne toward me, making me notice just how gorgeous you were and how much I wanted to grow up with you.

You never knew how delicate I thought you were. Knowing your past, the rough upbringing that should never be bestowed on a child, made me tread lightly around you. You were bright and cheerful, like a whimsical flower, yet deep down in the roots, beneath layers of rock and sand, there were always buried secrets, always the fragility that made you break down at night. I knew bleeding wounds existed on your heart, that you suffered pain that reminded you of every mistake you’d ever made.

There is a song, and when I hear it, I hear your voice.

So maybe I took a little too much
Maybe life didn’t want this part of me
If it helps to know, I never let you go
Sure, I lost my mind
But I never really meant to die.

You should know that in moments like these, I’d give up my universe to see your gentle smile again.

I spent all morning long looking for my medical insurance card. I still can’t seem to find it (either of the two copies I had), and my replacement cards still hasn’t arrived, even thought it’s been weeks since I ordered it. Poor Dev stayed home later than usual to help me scourge the house for it, and he felt equally as bad as I did when our search turned up empty because he was in possession of the “extra” card I had.

Thankfully, the medical imaging place guy was pretty cool about it and let me slide this time. Glad I didn’t get one of these other insurance card Nazi females who are hounding other patients (and even turning some away) as I write.

The plus side of all the searching is that I found an old birthday card where I had $80 stashed away. Think I’ll treat myself to some art supplies when I finish here.

via https://dayone.me/2fHkzB6