“I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll
Lately, I’ve felt this need to write again.
Weird, I know, considering that almost all I do these days is write — recipes, articles, updates, newsletters, tweets, reviews — but none of it is really, well, personal. I don’t know if this is for me, or for you, but I have this great desire to share how I feel and what I think about things lately. Everything.
I’ve been thinking about the past a lot lately. My last posts here, last year, the last few months. It has been a whirlwind of weird, to be quite honest. New job, new friends, new car, new camera – so much has changed, and yet so much has changed the same.
In the movie script that is my life, a new chapter has certainly begun. A new cast of characters, a new set of props; a new perspective and paradigm, new challenges for this heroine to meet (and conquer?) Everything feels different — in a good way.
Two years ago I was just starting my senior year of college. Feels like last week, sometimes, and eons ago at others. I remember all of my classes, walking around campus, parties I went to, places I visited, photographs I took. At the same time, there is a sort of detachment — was that really me?
Last year I was waiting. Waiting for someone to come home, waiting for things at work to calm down, waiting for something to change, waiting. I was lost in post-grad limbo, both immobilized and invigorated by the realization that school was over. It was fall, and I didn’t have textbooks to buy, stationery to moon over, syllabi to memorize, term papers itching to be planned, researched, written. I went to work, I came home. Life was blissfully monotonous, until it was horrendously monotonous. So I changed it.
Eight months ago I got another job. Writing. About food. I remember the job description read like my wildest dream had crash landed in my backyard. An unpaid, temporary position with a relatively new company, doing something I had never really done before but knew instantly I would love. And I did. I do. My personal life closely resembled a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but so what? Shit happens. I was finally doing something with my life, going somewhere, making plans, really and truly thinking about my future. And I got kittens. Two tiny, fuzzy, loving creatures to satiate my raging desire for something small to take care of and hit the snooze button on my biological clock.
Six months ago everything started. I went in for a FNA – fine needle aspiration, a type of biopsy. I laid back and let someone stab my neck a kabillion (okay, 6) times with a ginormous (no, really) needle. It was terrifying. It didn’t hurt, not really, but it was creepy as all get out. Work was getting better, I was seeing more of my family, meeting some new people, looking at cars and apartments.
Five and a half months ago everything started to shift and slide and change. I was diagnosed with cancer. I was in a new relationship. I didn’t know what to do. So I bought a car. 1 fast, red car, 2 doors, 3 series, 4 months of searching, 5 gears, 6 cylinders, 7 CD changer (don’t ask), 8 wheels (winter and summer, thanks for asking), 9 poorly wired lights, 10 hours to learn how to drive it. It was glorious.
Five months ago I was in the hospital. Five long hours, four surgeons, three days, two nights, one complication. I was terrified of the surgery, that the tests would come back wrong and I would have to wait six months and do it all over again. Scared that this was the beginning, not the end. But you know what I remember most? Everyone who visited. Who took time out of their day to stop by and smile at me and make me feel like I wasn’t alone, marooned on a sterile, cotton-covered island connected to monitors a world a way. It’s funny, the people who cared the most and made it a priority to stop by were the last people I would have expected — but the few who I had been sure would come visit, who would sit with me and make me laugh (although it hurt) were no where to be found. Except one. One person who changed the whole game, who was there when it really mattered, who meant so much when everything seemed to matter so little. Thank you.
Four months ago I went back to work. It was anticlimactic at best. I decided to go grad school. I met new people, forged new bonds, and for once, couldn’t care less.
Three months ago I was radioactive. Really! I was the Girl in the Bubble for a week, tucked away in a far away corner, behind a door at the end of the hall.
Two months ago I thought it was over. Life as I knew came to a crashing, horrifying halt. I couldn’t taste. First, salty. Then sweet. Then umami. I still had hints of bitterness and sourness, but hardly. I cried. I cried more over this side effect of the radiation that I did over my diagnosis. Food is my world — my job, my hobby, my art, a basic requirement for survival. I stopped eating. It was an awful chore – everything tasted the same, the only thing that mattered was texture — and let me tell you, without flavor, some foods feel revolting.
Last month everything finally seemed to sort itself out. My taste came back, slowly. I let go of a lot of things and I invested myself in others. I noticed a change. In myself, in my world, in my thought process, my priorities, my tolerance. I didn’t sweat the small stuff so much. I took on new responsibilities, I advocated change, I sought progress, I threw down the gauntlet. Change was coming, so get ready.
And now, here I am. Content. My personal life resembles a wetland rehabilitation project, but I’m okay with that. I have other things to focus on, enough demands on my time, and just the right amount of excitement to keep things interesting.