The Sailor’s Shoulder Hurts

Sailor: I got my flu shot today. My should hurts and it’s hot **starts rubbing his shoulder**

Me: That’s a bummer.

Sailor: **Groans**

Me: Oh stop.

Sailor: I might become an anti-vaxer, this sucks.

Me: Well, it’s been a good run. Guess we’ll have to get divorced now because I can’t accept that.

Sailor: I AM GOING TO HAVE AUTISM NOW!

Me: You’re seriously making me angry. Stop.

Sailor: You don’t know! Prove it! You can’t! Don’t come at me with your science and facts either. LIES!

Me: People actually believe that shit that you’re saying you know.

Sailor: Well, people are dumb.

#shitthesailorsays

Sit Down and Listen

Young men and men in general have not been held accountable by the same standards as women. Period. End of story. You can scoff and joke at the #metoo movement but then, you’re just part of the problem. I’m not going to argue with anyone about it. Don’t try and defend the Brock Turners of the world to me. I will not listen any longer about how they are just boys being boys. Don’t tell me that it was unfair that he had to be a register sex offender for a few minutes of ass. Just stop. The news today reporting assaults, rape and abuse and the perpetrators walking away with slap on the hand and a stern, “Don’t do that again” sickens me. Women coming forward, finally trying to find justice for being violated are being shamed, called a liar or an attention seeker. They are questioned on why they didn’t say something back then if that is really what happened… FEAR. Obviously, that’s why.  This cannot continue. So, sit down and listen for a bit. Here’s a few little ditties that I’d like to call, me fucking too.

I was 7 years old when I learned the hard way that boys “can’t help themselves”. I went to a catholic grade school from kindergarten through 4th grade. From 1st grade on, you wore regulated uniforms. Girls in jumper style skirts or plain skirts depending on your grade and boys in slacks all wearing white button down shirts. I’m not sure who started it or how it started but one friday, the boys in the older grades started flipping up girls skirts over their heads yelling “FRIDAY FLIP UP DAY!” then running away laughing and slapping high fives with their nitwit friends. It only happened outside, before school started, recess or walking home after. It didn’t take long for the younger boys to start emulating their older counter parts. That’s how things work, the younger ones look up to their older brother, cousins, friends siblings etc and want to be as cool as them and follow along. Every Friday if you were a girl and not in the safety of the halls, under the watchful eyes of the nuns and teachers, you had to be vigilant about watching your surroundings and holding your skirt down or you ran the risk of every one around you seeing you underwear when some asshole sunk up on you to flip your skirt as high as he could get it before you shrieked and awkwardly slapped it back down.

The first time it happened to me was at recess and I ran to the closest proctor on the playground and told her. She told the boy to stop it and that was it. It happened several more times over the next couple of weeks. It was embarrassing and the adults I told on the playground literally just kindly told the little shits to “cut it out.” It was mortifying as a little girl to have the entire school see your underwear. Lesson 1: Girls’ embarrassment and public humiliation didn’t warrant a boy getting in real trouble. Seriously, what in the fresh hell?

At recess one day some poor dip-shit flipped up my skirt for the last time. Sadly it was one of the nerdier kids that was usually quiet and avoided getting sucked into the melee that most the other boys participated. Unfortunately for him, my fiery little self had had enough of the embarrassment. I spun around and kicked not caring who or what I connected with and screamed “STOP IT!” Sadly for the little jerk, it was his balls that caught the brunt of my hard toed saddle shoe. He doubled over on the blacktop groaning and crying. A proctor came over and physically dragged me aside and asked me why I would do that. Then promptly dragged my ass to the principal’s office. I was forced to apologize to the boy. I complained that it wasn’t fair. That all the boys kept flipping up my skirt and they didn’t have to apologize. I was told, “The boys were not physically hurting you. You attacked that boy. It’s completely different.” Lesson 2: My complete emotional hurt and embarrassment did not warrant a boy getting reprimanded and it was not equal to his physical hurt. Ok. I understood violence was never the answer. I accepted that but, I still didn’t understand how the boys were not getting in trouble for exposing us. Like, my little seven year old brain even understood that it was wrong. I was like, “Hey, I feel like I’m being attacked too so…. What the fuck gives adults?”

All the girls banned together and decided to wear our gym uniform shorts under our skirts. But they looked bulky and occasionally showed when we were sitting. We didn’t care, they hid our underwear. But the nuns were having none of that. It was a breech of school uniform. If they allowed that then, how long before we tried wearing colored socks and random sweatshirts? We were made to take them off and wear our uniform “appropriately”. Lesson 3: My comfort was not as important as being dressed “appropriately”. Utter bullshit but, fine.

The skirt flipping continued but, the next little asshat that flipped up my skirt? I retaliated by walking up behind him when he wasn’t paying attention a few minutes later and yanking his pants down exposing his little tighty-whities to the the playground and yelled “HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?” as I ran away laughing and my friends all cheering for finally having some small bit of vindication. Again, he cried and a proctor dragged me to the principal.  I was lectured on how inappropriate my actions were. How a proper young lady doesn’t behave that way. That it was very upsetting to little Johnny Snotface… Blah. Blah Blah. Lesson 4: Boys feelings were more important than girls. Girls had to behave better than boys. Girls had to just deal with the boys acting like little assholes. I cried. I snot-running-down-my-lip-hiccuping cried. Not because I was afraid of that evil Nun we had as a principal (I mean, I was) but, because I was so frustrated. My seven year old self could not understand how this bitch was lecturing me about that little asshat’s feelings when for over a month I had been begging to have MY feelings of exactly the same thing taken seriously. I remember saying “It’s not fair,” over and over.

From that point on, every Friday, all of us girls started wearing our little backpacks really low on our back. It acted as a barrier so that your skirt had to really be pulled hard to show your butt. It usually bought us just enough time to slap out skirts back down. At recess we played along the wall never turning our backs to the playground for fear of letting our guard down long enough to let those little vultures attack. Eventually, Friday Flip Up Day went away. I don’t remember the boys getting in trouble. Maybe some of them did eventually. Maybe the boys in the older grades got in more trouble. I have no idea but, it’s popularity wound down and finally stopped. Even when we noticed it had stopped, it took us young girls weeks to trust that it wasn’t a ploy for us to drop our guard. I was seven years old and for what I am sure was only 3 or 4 months I literally acted like I was battling guerrilla warfare at school to protect my underpants because, boys will be boys.

I was 12 or 13 when I realized that boys were disgusting pervs that thought they could get away with anything. We had moved just a couple years before this to a rural suburb. I was attending a nice public school that was mostly filled with kids from pretty wealthy families. Most adults would equate this to being better, safer, and above average. Whatever. I was sitting in my English class in the back row writing or working on something when the fucker sitting next to me whispered my name. I looked over to him pointing at his dick which he was methodically pulsing up and down using just his pelvic muscles. “It’s doing push ups. Ha ha ha…” He was so proud of himself. I made a gross grimace and went back to my work. 2 more times he whispered my name and I ignored him. I didn’t want to see what he was doing to up the ante to try and shock me. I know how this works. I wasn’t buying into his stupid dick game. Finally, on his third attempt to get my attention, I said in a loud I-want-everyone-to-hear whisper, “I don’t give a shit about your fucking tiny dick!” The teacher literally yelled my name and told me to go into the hall. I did begrudgingly. She met me out there and asked what was the problem. I, for whatever reason was embarrassed. I had no control over that little assholes actions yet I was the one embarrassed. But, I told her. Explicitly. I could tell she was confused on why the hell some little shit would choose to do that in public in an afternoon english class by the look on her face. She shook her head and said, “Just ignore him. He won’t keep doing it if you don’t react.” To which I told her I HAD been ignoring him and he had continued to bug me until I said what I said… Her answer to the problem? Go get your things and you can sit out here in the hall to finish your work so he can’t bother you. Yes, rather than approach the fucking perv that was actually causing the issue and have the difficult discussion with a young boy about inappropriate sexual behaviors in class, I got to sit on the floor in the hall, like I was being punished to finish my work. He was never even approached or talked to by that teacher or any other one. He continued to do shit like that all through middle school and high school. Good job.

I was 16 when I realized for sure that boys thought they would never have repercussions to their vile moments… and they were right. I had walked into my Social Studies class early. There were maybe 4 people already in the room and at their desks. The teacher was not in the room. There was a big sign on the board telling us to pick up several handouts laid out on the back table. I set my stuff down at my desk and walked to the back to get my papers. As I was leaning over the table collecting them, unbeknownst to me a boy in my class, the tallest largest one in our grade if I remember correctly, walked up behind me and slapped me on my ass and said, “What up Raymer, nice ass.” He slapped me so hard that my hips hit the table edge and I almost hit my head on the back wall had I not caught myself with both hands on the wall. I spun around and hissed, “Don’t you ever fucking touch me.” And stormed out of the room. Looking back, I wish I had punched that fucker but, in the moment, I knew I’d be in trouble for lashing out physically. I had already learned that lesson almost 10 years prior. I left because I started to cry. The hit had HURT. I went in the girls bathroom and stood in the stall trying to see my ass cheek with tears rolling down my face. When I finally went back to class, I was close to 10 minutes late. My teacher didn’t say anything but, a few minutes into silently reading she stopped by my desk and whispered, “Are you OK?” I nodded trying not to cry in class. She asked if I wanted a pass to the rest room trying to give me an out to collect myself. I said no. She looked concerned the entire class anytime I caught her looking at me. I sat slouched over leaning to one side because my butt cheek still hurt. I should have told her. I didn’t. He was a varsity football player and and I think basketball player and honestly, I didn’t think telling anyone would really change the fact that my fucking ass hurt. I knew at most what would happen was he’d be told to apologize, which would not be sincere and is nothing really. After that, I would be targeted as a bitch that will narc on anything. I didn’t need to deal with those repercussions and being made miserable for the rest of the long year. By the time I got home that day, when I looked in the mirror at my butt cheek, there was a dark purple bruise roughly in the shape of a hand. It lasted over a week. I lived for a week with some assholes uninvited hand print on my ass and never said a word because I knew, nothing would happen to him and that I would be punished for it in the long run. Let that fucking sink in.

When I was 17, I learned a harsh reality about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I drove two friends to a house party. I’m was not a fan of house parties in High School. I just always felt out of place and didn’t have much fun but, they wanted to go and I didn’t feel like staying home so I went and I drove. Everyone was wasted; drunk, high and/or doing whippets. I enjoyed none of the above and plus I was driving so, even if I had a penchant for getting stoned or drinking  Mad Dog 20/20 and Boone’s, I wouldn’t have. The party was in a huge fancy house so, I quietly disappeared to snoop and see of the other half lived; an excuse to avoid all the drunk idiots. I didn’t know that while I looked at family photos on the wall in one of 7 bedrooms, that I would be stumbled upon by a very drunk boy that was older and liked to get black out drunk. Apparently he had “always found me cute” which he slurred in what I’m sure he thought was a seductive manner as he leaned one hand against the wall. I was immediately uncomfortable. I went to walk away and he leaned his other arm on the other side of me. I have never felt more trapped and legitimately terrified. He was close to twice my size, so fucking drunk he could barely function and had me trapped. I froze and flattened against the wall so hard that I knocked a few pictures down with my head. Just as he leaned in to my turned head for some horrible attempt at a (gag) kiss, a male friend of mine burst in the door looking for the very dude that had me prisoner. That moment of distraction that made him turn was opening enough that I ducked under his grasp and practically ran out the door. As I rushed passed my would be assailant, he reached out to me and snagged part of my shirt and it tore at the sleeve seam. I kept power walking right on out of the room. He could have torn the sleeve clean off and I wouldn’t have stopped. I vaguely remember hearing, “Raymer….?” from my drunk clueless friend as I picked up speed down the hall and down the stairs. I spent maybe 5 minutes finding my friends and telling them I was leaving. They didn’t want to leave but, I said it’ wasn’t up for discussion. They never asked me what was wrong. They barely looked at me other than to be irritated that I wanted to leave less than an hour into being there. I told them if they needed a ride home just to call my house but, I was leaving. They chose to stay and I left. I drove around for almost 2 hours trying to get my mind right. There were no tears. Just that panicked numb tingle you get when you narrowly escape rear ending someone or missing a step walking down stairs. That rush of fear based adrenaline that makes your skin prickle and your fingertips go numb. I needed that to go away before I went home. I didn’t want my mother asking me how my night was, why I was home so early or seeing my face and asking what was wrong. I was embarrassed and ashamed. If my fiend hadn’t walked in what would have happened? Was I being dramatic? But, if I was just over reacting why did I feel sick still? How had I let myself get in a sketchy situation like that? I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I hardly ever even went to parties and yet, here I was driving around random country roads taking deep breaths and replaying the 5 minutes in that room over in my head. I stopped hanging out with those two friends after that. I avoided my would be assailant but once, shortly after that night, I ran into him. He said hello like nothing. I asked if he remembered the last time he saw me at so-and-so’s party and he just said, “No.” It made me feel sick all over again. He didn’t even remember something that had been making me feel ill for days. I avoided him everyday possible for the remainder of my high school time. I never told anyone about those 5 minutes in that room until years later with a new college friend driving around on those same country roads trading snippets of shitty stories that helped make us into the neurotic people we had become. She reassured me I wasn’t over reacting and that she knew first hand what that feels like.

I have more stories. These few just happen to be ones that stuck out to me. Ones that I still remember clearly and always will. But, I was a lucky one. All my cases were minor altercations and one narrow miss. Unlike a friend in high school who I worked with. She sought me out during a lull on a Sunday when we were both working the same shift. She confided in me that she had lost her virginity the night before at a party. To an upperclassman. A much lusted after upperclassman. She said it kind of sucked. That she has a couple drinks and kind of didn’t really want to go that far but, you know it happened and she didn’t think he was that cute anymore… I didn’t understand. He was so hot and the way she was talking… I was confused. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure he coerced her or even forced her and she didn’t know how to say it and I was too young and dumb to read between the line and understand.

Or a college friend who during her first year  went to a bar with a group of friends and after only 1 beer and a couple sips of the 2nd doesn’t remember anything else other than waking up feeling terrible in a strange bed nude from the waist down and sore. Apparently a supposed guy friend had “helped” her home but really, he helped her to his home and then took advantage of her… blacked out possibly even roofied. She didn’t report it. She was afraid and ashamed. She had a beer so who would believe that she wasn’t willing. Plus she didn’t remember anything so… She went home and took a scaling hot shower and scrubbed her body until her skin was raw.

I can go on. Other girls I was friends with in high school and college had conversations eluding to boys that pushed them too far. That did things that made them uncomfortable. Took things farther than they wanted. Hurt them. That were harassed and physically smacked, pinched, poked and groped in hallways and stairwells. Like me, none of them ever came right out and said it. Not to us, their friends and definitely not to adults or police.

We were afraid.

We were ashamed.

We were embarrassed.

We didn’t think anyone would care.

We didn’t think anyone would do anything for us.

It needs to stop.

Ladies, I hear you. I see you. I believe you. Because #metoo.

It’s Raining On Demo Day

Some days are awesome, filled with adventure and excitement for whats to come. Today is not one of those days. This morning I woke up to a headache. Not a bad one, just one of those subtle throbs that’s juuuuust enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head and remain in the cocoon of your bed… indefinitely. But, I didn’t. I can’t be that big of a slacker ass loser. I have to at least pretend to be productive since I still don’t have a job. 4 months without a paycheck, but who’s keeping track, right? My bank, that’s who is keeping fucking track.

After I’ve made a cup of coffee I sat down to check all my emails and to look over the job sites that I visit every 2 or 3 days to check for new listings that I might be at least qualified for. Low and below I’ve been informed that while my “self evaluation showed that I met minimum qualifications required, I was not referred to the hiring manager” for an Administrative Assistant job that I applied for. So I guess that a decade of experience in Strategic Planning and Project Management isn’t enough for me to get an admin job with the Federal Government. Perhaps if I get my MBA, they one day will let me answer a phone but lets be realistic, probably not.

As I forcefully sent that email notification to the trash my fitness tracker beeped at me and told me it was time to stand up. I actually said out load to my wrist, “I will fucking murder you.” in a menacing tone. Literally I felt murdery. Yes, that’s a real word, because I say it is. This tune was what inside my brain sounded like:

Then my sweet, annoying, demanding, drooling cat kept crawling on me. Meowing at me. Forcefully head-butting my hands as I tried to type through job searches, rubbing saliva covered jowls on my forearms. Bless his heart for wanting to show his murdery (still a real word, don’t even argue with me today) mom attention. Not wanting to be a dick to an innocent geriatric cat, I figured I should probably sit at the kitchen table like a fucking adult to type rather than slouched in the corner of the couch anyway, and moved. The. Cat. Followed. Me. He sat at my feet, meowing. Then that didn’t work he stood on his hind end with his front paws on my thighs meowing.  Then he jumped on my lap, lost balance, clawed the hell out of me and fell. So I had to pull another chair over right next to mine so he cold sit by me. And because I am murdery (fight me about that word, I dare you) today, I’m irritated by his love. Which makes me feel bad, because who gets mad about an innocent animal loving them?

puddy
Exhibit A – Furry jerk insisting on being next to me at all times, except with the Sailor is home, then I am dead to him.

So, I’m sitting at the table with my stupid loving cat finally situated and I have no interest in looking for a job because that’s just going to depress me further. So, I open the blinds to the little balcony and see that it’s grey and rainy, which makes me happy and also explains my mild head throb. I friggen love this kind of weather. Expecting to get blasted by a humid inferno, I tentatively cracked the balcony door to find, it’s almost cool outside so, I leave the door cracked. But, the sound of cars driving on wet pavement, the slight smell of ozone and the grey sky makes me think of home and now I’m weepy and battling homesickness.

Just as I’ve almost given into getting back in bed and reading my book for the entire day, my phone buzzes. I have a notification from my menstrual tracker app. Side note: Listen, I can’t take oral BC anymore thanks to the Big C, which used to be my way of knowing when Aunt Flow’s train was due to arrive.  Once that went bye bye, I could never remember to write down when to expect to be surfing the crimson wave again so I could always be prepared and not taken by surprise in public. So, I downloaded the Flo app and wa-la, my phone just tells me like it does with everything else in my life. Anyway, Flo sends me a notification that sometime in the next 24 hours or so, my uterus will begin to violently tear down it’s own walls, pissed-off that it has decorated a womb-nursery for a spawn only to be told, “Not this time buddy,” and it will all go to waste yet again.

And it all becomes clear to me. This isn’t me being murdery, this is my uterus being a angry that I haven’t gone forth and been fruitful, wasting all her work on redecorating for the hope of a cellular minion taking up shop there. She’s beginning her hormonal temper tantrum in preparation of demo’ing my internal nursery. Now I know I can just eat a bag of Salt and Vinegar Chips and a few (dozen) donuts and I’ll feel better. You’d think after 15 years of this happening every fucking month I’d have a clue by now.

Archie’s Dad Likes Throw Pillows Apparently

I’m trying to watch Riverdale on Netflix but, I’m struggling. Not because of the plot or acting. Those are fine and intriguing enough. It’s because a house that consists of a single man who runs a construction company, his teenage son and his teenage sons best friend has throw pillows. I’m sorry, I don’t care if his wife literally left less than 48 hours ago, the first thing to get tossed would be throw pillows. I have never met a straight man that doesn’t mind throw pillows. For example, please see My Throw Pillows

I’m Having a Party

Me: The Sailor is going state side today for a week so, I’ll be solo here.

Friend: Oh, any big plans?

Me: I’m having a party.

Friend: Aw, you’ve met some friends then? Yay!

Me: Ha ha ha ha. Yeah, me and the cats with a oversized bottle of Rose. Woo! Par-tay!

Friend: Aw, I’m sorry.

Me: Why?

Friend: Aren’t you lonely all by yourself?

Me: Uh, I’m not all by myself, I have the cats. And it’s only a week. Besides, I’m cleaning the house all nice so I can lay around surrounded by all my throw pillows, watching whatever the hell I want on TV, knitting, with my fancy scented candles burning, not wearing pants in a clean house… I literally might have a dance party in my fluffy socks in the ugliest pajamas that I own. Or I might take a hot bath for 3 hours. My options are endless.

Friend: Ooooookkkkkkaaaaayyyyyy

 

Annie Proffitt is Catatonic… In Japan

Moving is always stressful. It just is. There is no way around it. Moving across the country from Washington to Virginia was pretty epic but, we had a house already rented and I had a job already lined up to start shortly after our arrival. That just left the coordinating of getting us, the cats and our shit from the upper left to the upper southeast the frustrating and stressful part. Small potatoes in the bigger scheme of things.

Moving to another country on the opposite side of the world without knowing where exactly we would be living, flying 2 cats and getting them through quarantine, no clue on how long it would continue to take to get a job, living out of 2 suitcases for 2+ months, not know exactly when all of our stuff would arrive as well as the normal “holy crap, I need to learn a new language ASAP” anxiety. Basically, this last move to Japan got me feeling like…

Yeah, I’ve pretty much lost my damn mind. I’m pretty sure my “mild anxiety” that a doctor once mentioned “might play a role in your occasional insomnia” has skyrocketed right up to the spotlight playing the role of Fantine miserably singing, “I Dreamed a Dream” while quietly killing me as swiftly as TB took the character out in Les Miserables. Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic but, only just a little.

Basically, I no longer feel like I have any control over my life. I’m just a mote of dust floating around in the Tokyo Bay breeze and that breeze is at typhoon levels right now. I’m pretty sure I have developed a tiny bit of OCD (truthfully, that shit started when I moved into a 410 square foot garage studio in Seattle but, I digress…) making the unpacking and organizing of a new house more agonizing that it need be. Basically, EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE A FUCKING PLACE TO GO IMMEDIATELY AND ALL THE ROOMS MUST LOOK LIKE THEY ARE ACTUAL ROOMS NOT STORAGE UNITS FORTHWITH.

Have you met my husband? He has bins of stuff; memorabilia, knick knacks, discontinued uniforms from decades in the Navy, photos, newspaper clippings, belt buckles, hats, mugs, an ET sheet from his twin bed when he was in grade school… I mean, a full on 12′ x 12′ room worth of stuff… and he’s “organizing it” in the guest room…

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I literally can’t even… I will say though, his new project spurred me into finishing unpacking and organizing the other guest room that will be an office/craft space with a pull out bed for visitors. That said, this temporary chaos across the hall from our bedroom glares at me. It literally makes me feel itchy. I want to go in there and divide everything up either to display or into individual small bins, put small silica packets in with the items (hello Japan humidity), label them with meticulous hand lettering then, stack them neatly with all their matching labels facing the same way. Preferably in a closet or, better yet, in our storage unit we have with our apartment. EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAVE IT’S OWN PLACE. IT’S OWN HOME. But, I can’t just do that. The Sailor has his own ideas on how he wants his beloved things categorized and stored. So I continue to twitch every time I walk by but, I leave him to his project.

This utter loss of control over everything in my life at the moment that has led to this anxiety and obsessive compulsiveness to organize which has led me to create lists. Lists that give me the illusion of “having it under control”. Lists that give me a comforting visual of what needs to be done and a tangible, visual way to show the list getting shorter by checking off completed items. Copious amounts of lists. SO MANY LISTS.  Long term projects like painting my old hutch. Daily to do lists like vacuum and scrub the bathtub. Weekly meal lists, grocery lists, stuff I’d eventually like to get for our new huge apartment, different exercises grouped by what muscle they work, flavor combinations to try in my baking… and they are all in a $0.99 spiral notebook with titles scrawled in fancy fonts that I doodled while I mentally compiled first before I started writing the precise bulleted list, each entry with little page markers for ease of finding it to add or to carefully color in the bullet when a task is complete. Basically that notebook is my $0.99 therapy. And I’ve become obsessed.

I started looking up bullet journals based on a suggestion I found when looking for journals with grids or dot grids instead of lines… Lord have mercy, the beauty that I beheld. It’s like artistic LISTS and CALENDARS. Instantly, I wanted to do that but, spending time to flourish and compile the beauty that is the bullet journal seemed to call for something more substantial or special than a $0.99 spiral special from the school supply section. Really, I wanted to harken my youth and did a search for an old school Traperkeeper. Sadly, unless I want to spend $100 on eBay for the vintage gloriousness of Lisa Frank or a fantasy world rearing unicorn/pegasus combo, that’s not an option. I knew I wanted something that I could refill with pages and remove old pages that were no longer relevant or necessary but, I didn’t want some boring binder. If I was going to embrace my OCD and flourish it with colorful fonts and flowers, I wanted the cover to be cute to reflect the fun madness inside. After copious amounts of searching and pondering, I found this little gem

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and have vowed to buy it off my amazon wish list as soon as I have a job. Yes, one of my financial goals to to have a paycheck to by myself a cute personal organizer. Go ahead and judge me.

Ironically, just a week or two ago my friend Mandy, whom is living in Sicily with her own Sailor, sent me a link to a facebook group that popped up in her “you might be interested in” section called “Yokosuka Planner Addicts” asking me if I knew what that even meant. I had no idea and it was a private group so, you couldn’t snoop and see anything. Much to her amusement I requested to join. I even had to answer 3 questions before they would let me request permission, basically proving that I was in the area and not a troll. They must recognize their own because even though I had no idea what the group was about, they accepted me. Let me tell you… these woman literally take creating personal planners to another level. I’m talking using Cricut Makers to create their own journals, vinyl stickers, and adornments. Collections of spools of Washi Tape and specific journaling decals that I couldn’t even imagine existed. Don’t get me started on their discussions of the different types, brands and models of planners on the market and what each of them prefer and why. THIS IS WHAT THESE GLORIOUS LADIES DISCUSS IN THEIR FACEBOOK FORUM. So now, I’m a creepy lurker in that group secretly reveling in the fact that I’m not the only one that needs to have everything written down and organized but, looks cute so I can claim it’s more fun than OCD.

Three Years

Three years ago, I walked into my doctors office for a follow up visit to make sure I had gotten in to see a breast surgeon specialist to have a bump looked at. He was my primary care physician and all I expected was a 5 to 10 minute chat asking how the appointment was, if I had gotten a mammogram and what else had been discussed. 10 minutes later I walked out with the words, “The initial biopsy results are back. It’s cancer.” Those are literally the only two sentences I remember. I don’t even remember walking out to my car or driving home. My next memory was laying in bed, still fully clothed texting the Sailor, “Biopsy’s back. I have cancer,” then staring at the wall from beneath a down comforter. He immediately text back, “I’m on my way home.” It was August at the Ocean Front in Virginia Beach and I don’t remember why I pulled the down comforter up over me from the foot of the bed. I don’t remember being hot or cold. I remember laying there staring at the wall, numb. I remember the Sailor coming into our bedroom silently taking off his clunky boots and just crawling into bed, full uniform still on, squeezing me to him and laying silently. I don’t remember much else from that day or even that weekend for that matter. August 31st will always stick in my mind as the day cancer changed my life.

Details of what followed for the next 2 years are clear in my mind as if it was just yesterday. The weeks of Kyle running up to the Pub in the middle of my shift to meet me in my car, parked on the street, to stick me in the gut with fertility hormones laughing like idiots at the thought of what it looked like from a passersby. Chemo teaching where a nurse went over ever detail of what my treatment would entail and all the possible side effects and issues. Kyle and I staring dumbfounded at the novella of printouts listing things like, “Loss of hair, loss of nails, mania, vomiting, weight loss, weight gain, neuropathy, bone pain, muscle pain, disorientation, bulging eyes, loss of taste….” Every surgery, every blood draw, every round of chemo; I could recount every detail of each one like it’s happening right now.

People say that there will come a point where it will be your past. You will feel detached from it. I can’t imagine that. I can not even fathom waking up eventually and thinking, “This is just part of my history. The past.” Cancer changed me irrevocably. My scars scream, “YOU ARE NOT THE SAME PERSON! YOU ARE DIFFERENT NOW!” every fucking day of my life. Every time I shower or change my clothes, I am accosted with a visual reminder that I am not the same. I will never be the same. On the bad days, when I’m angry and bitter, I try and tell myself that I stared the possibility of death in the face and said, “Fuck you. Not yet.” Maybe that’s dramatic because when I was actually going through the entire process I never once thought, “This could kill me.” Hindsight, though, it feels like it now.

I could have had it so much worse. I send out a silent thank you to the universe regularly that it wasn’t worse. My treatment was the best case scenario in so many ways. I mean, if you HAVE to have triple negative breast cancer, you can only hope to breeze through chemo with minimal sickness and pain. To be able to still walk in and out of your treatments, even on your bad days, on your own volition. To have textbook surgeries with little to no complications. I know it could have been infinitely worse and I really am thankful it wasn’t but, really? Fuck you cancer.

At this point I have started and stopped and restarted this post several times. That first paragraph was written through a blur of tears because that wound is the deepest and hardest to recall. That first moment in a shit ass process, because I refuse, absolutely REFUSE to call it a journey. Fuck that cliche. It’s not a fucking road trip across the country to visit your great aunt in Iowa who smells like moth balls. It’s a shitty, scary, expensive process and that first really pivotal moment, where you go from fear of the unknown, to the mind numbing truth of cancer is a knife that cuts not just to the core but, through you. There are other dates from 2015 and 2016 that I’ll never forget as well (shout out to getting married, what what!) but, August 31st changed the substance of my existence and who I am. It changed what I want out of the rest of this life I have and how I want to live it. 3 years ago on August 31st, I was told I had cancer, and I will never be the same. I will never be detached from it. I will never forget it. It will be a brick in my backpack that I’ll hoist onto my shoulders everyday until my last. I can only try to make that backpack a really cool Patagonia one that gets filled with fluffy puppies of adventure and buttery pancakes of experience to make that brick seem worth the struggle.

Boo