McKenzie Free

One woman's quest for greater understanding through freedom of self expression.

Archive for the category “Essays”

WHY?

In a writing class I’m taking one woman repeatedly asked the same question over and over again one night.  Her question was “Why?”  What she wanted to know was, “Why would anyone want to read what I have to write?”   When asked why she reads, she replied, “I don’t really.   I don’t have time.  I’m basically illiterate?”  You might think in a class of writers that we would take offense to someone who doesn’t read but I sensed nothing of the sort among us.  I can’t answer for everyone but I suspect that most of us write for the same reason we read, and for the same reason I’d like to read her stories, and it’s because I’m continually asking the same question she is, “Why?”

I began writing as soon as I learned to hold a pen and I’ve always been an incessant reader.   Put me in a room with nothing to read and I’ll find a poster on the wall or directions on how to use the microwave and I’ll start reading.   Reading and writing have always been a means for me to try and understand “Why?”  The heading on my blog remains “One woman’s quest for greater understanding through freedom of self-expression”.

Since I was born I’ve been trying to figure out why people act the way they do?  Why was I put on the planet and is any of it supposed to make any sense?  Why do we respond the way we do in situations? Why is one person considered successful and another not?  Why are parents, who are the people children rely on to keep them safe, often the ones who harm children the most?  Why did Michael O’Brien love his baseball cap more than me?  Why did my brother cut off all my dolly’s hair?  Why did my sister wear seven pairs of socks and take one off each day so it would look like she had clean one’s on?  Why are people attracted to each other?  Why didn’t my Daddy love me?  Or, if he did, why couldn’t he show it?  Why does the one male director in my Agency seem to not have to follow any rules of norm?   Why have I failed to find a lasting partner while my best friends are happily ensconced in a long-term love affair with each other that’s lasted 30 years?  Why? Why? Why?   I’m like a three year old who never got past the questioning phase.  Everything about human behavior is interesting to me and I want to know more about it.

Currently one of the most popular TV programs on the air is NBC’s number 1 rated “This Is Us”.   According to Forbes Online, the trailer for the second season of this show got a whopping 105 million views.  What’s the show about?   A family.  A mother, a father, and three kids.  Regular parents with a relatively regular family.  Two twins, a boy and a girl, and an adopted brother born on the same day.   The children are adults when the show takes place with weekly flashbacks into their lives growing up.

Why is it so popular?   I think it’s because we all want to know the answer to “why”?    Why is one twin a normal weight while the other is morbidly obese?  Why did the parents choose not to tell the adopted son about his birth parents?   Why were the parents attracted to each other?  Was their style of parenting like ours?  Like our parents? Is it better?  Is it worse?  Did it work?

We all read and watch and write in order to be entertained, certainly.  But why is it entertaining?   It entertains us because it’s a way of trying to understand the world around us and the life we find ourselves living.  If next season finds that Chrissy Metz, who plays the twin sister Kate, is suddenly able to drop 100 pounds and find solace in something other than food I will be on the edge of my seat hoping she has finally solved the riddle of why so many of us have this love/hate struggle with food.  Why do we struggle when so many others don’t?  Why is this our particular cross to bear?

So I continue to ask the question, “Why?”, and in response to my fellow classmate I want to read your story because I’m fascinated by human behavior and still desperate to know:  Why were you in the dorm room to begin with, why was your hand on that suitcase so ready to flee, why were you still in the room when the roommate and her mother finally appeared, what happened next and ….why?…why?….why???

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The Red Sofa

The email attachment downloaded slowly and the first photo finally opened up in full screen.  My eyes were immediately drawn front and center to the remains of what had once been my beautiful, red leather sofa.  That sofa had been my first solo purchase after leaving my beige husband of 20 years and had symbolized freedom to me.   It wasn’t the wine red or dull maroon of the overstuffed sofas you most frequently saw in furniture stores.   It was a glistening cherry red reminiscent of bright, sugary, cherry pie and small in stature as if tailor made to fit my 5’3” frame perfectly.

Bits of red, no longer bright, were still visible amidst the soot and smoke surrounded by water saturated split open boxes, the contents spilling out everywhere.  Here lay my personal history strewn randomly across the prairie:  melted photo albums; half a painting bought in a small shop in Aspen; a shattered tea set I picked up in London; what appeared to be a piece of the hand-made lamp I’d purchased in Connecticut.   Smoke and smoldering fire were apparent in the background and on the very edge of the photo stood a firefighter in full gear water gushing out of the hose he held pouring over the piles of burning goods and grassy Wyoming prairie.   Next to him the remains of what had been a shiny, new 18-wheeler now partially melted like a cheap plastic toy that was left too long in the August sun.

I sat at my desk in my new office and stared out the window at the park and the river beyond.  I wasn’t certain I wanted to see the rest of the attached photos.  It was my boss’ idea to have our business lawyer contact the only Attorney’s office in the small town in Wyoming outside of which the moving van carrying all my belongings had caught on fire  eventually destroying four families possessions and 500 acres of prairie land.  The moving van had been on its way to meet me in New York City where I had begun my new job as CFO for an international not-for-profit a week earlier working out of the God Box, the tongue in cheek nickname for The Interchurch Center building located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

The attorney already knew about the fire.  In a town with a population of 9,500, most of whom were dispersed far outside the 2.95 square miles that comprised the town limits, this was the biggest thing to happen for some time.  He immediately sent someone out to photograph the wreckage and clean-up and multiple photos of the site were now awaiting my review.

It was difficult to even believe that it was only a few hours ago I’d received my very first phone call at my new job.  The administrative assistant came in to my office to let me know I had a call.  “Someone asked for me by name?” I’d asked her.  “Who even knows I work here yet?”

I picked up the phone to hear, “This is (a name I don’t remember) from (a Van Line I will not name).   The moving van carrying your items has caught on fire. Nothing is salvageable.”

Since I had just gone through the process of pairing down everything I owned from a three bedroom house allowing myself to only keep enough to fill two rooms; what was left in that van were only items that were completely necessary or that truly brought me joy.  To think that none of my precious belongings could be saved was hard for me to believe so I forged ahead and looked at multiple pictures of the decimation of my material goods.  I had come to New York with my dog, Petunia the Pitt Bull, and one carry-on suitcase of casual clothes.  I had mailed myself a blow up bed, sheets and towels that were delivered the day I arrived.  From the looks of these pictures I’d be sleeping on a blow-up bed for some time to come.

This was my thirtieth move, including several cross-country and one international, so I knew quite a bit about moving in general.  I could pack up a three bedroom house into sealed stackable boxes in 24 hours flat.  I was an expert at when to use bubble wrap, saran wrap and packaging tape; when to use a box, when to use a bag and when to throw the item away and buy a new one when you arrive.  Within all my experience there was nothing to tell me how to handle this type of loss.

It was my boss, again, who came up with the idea that helped me move forward.  She said, “Think of it as an opportunity.  You were going to make items you’d purchased for a three bedroom home fit somehow into your new apartment.  Now you have a fresh slate.  Hire a designer and make your new apartment a showcase with items purchased specifically for it.”

A designer?  Me?  Seriously?

I had been born into poverty.  Through hard work and education I worked my way up to a solid, resolute working class existence.  The idea of something as extravagant as paying someone else for their opinion on how my home should look was a hard one for me to digest but what I knew for sure was that I was in no emotional state to be making decisions alone.   It was completely possible that if left to my own I might purchase the first items I saw with no regard for anything but filling my empty space.  I could wake up from my emotional daze in a few months broke and living in the apartment version of a government office; functional, dark and unattractive.

Luckily, I had been insured both through the van line and through my home owner’s policy.  What I learned about property insurance, loss, damage and the depreciated value of goods could fill another book but in a few weeks I would be receiving a check.   So I called up a designer recommended by one of my new office mates.  Upon hearing I had a budget of $30,000 to furnish a two room apartment, an amount that I thought was extremely generous, my designer commented, “Oye, we’ll have to shop retail!”

And then, almost before I knew what happened we were off and shopping.  First stop the largest Crate and Barrel store I’d ever been in; a two- story extravaganza on Madison Avenue.  I don’t know how most designers work but this particular one worked from the ground up.  The first thing she wanted me to choose were my rugs.  From this she got an idea of the colors I liked and the rest fell into place from there.

For the living room I chose a striped wool rug with deep fall tones of red, orange, gold, green, and brown and out of that simple choice grew a room with a red accent wall, a soft green sofa and chair, with bright red and orange pillows and unique one of a kind lamps.

The bedroom became a softer space with a place for sleep and a place for work and study.  The room came alive with a pale green rug on the floor and a matching accent wall, a Caribbean-style bed and armoire with wicker insets, a gold wicker chair at the desk and a mock sea chest as my bedside table.

The three feet of counter space that served as my kitchen needed some bar stools and, you guessed it, cherry red leather seemed the perfect choice!  We then spent weeks in small shops throughout New York City purchasing the perfect accessories.

The planning and shopping with my designer were interesting and enjoyable and a beautiful apartment home was realized.   My designer’s knowledge of the city and her emotional support during this process were invaluable.  I learned from her that large items like sofas, chairs and expensive bed covers should be neutral in palette.  Your color comes from painted walls, pillows and other smaller accessories that can be more easily and inexpensively replaced to create a completely new look when you’re ready for a change.

I will never have the same emotional attachment to these new belongs that I had to my old.  My New York apartment was put together in matter of weeks out of necessity.  The items I had lost were gathered over the course of thirty years of living. They had memories attached to them that evoked different people, different parts of the world, and valued life experiences.   Still they were only things and things can be replaced.  Along with everything else I lost in the fire I also seem to have lost my emotional attachment to things.  There will never be another red sofa in my life…literally or figuratively.

Beware the Oregon Deli!

I’m such a slow learner.  I’ve been living in Oregon now for six years (this time) and still when I see the word “Deli” displayed on the outside of a building I believe it’s a place where I can get a good, freshly made sandwich.  For those of you who, like me, believe “Deli” to be an abbreviation of the word “Delicatessen” you may be suffering from the same illusion.

Wikipedia states:  “Delicatessen is a German loanword which first appeared in English in 1889 and is the plural of Delikatesse. In German it was originally a French loanword, délicatesse, meaning “delicious things (to eat)”. Its root word is the Latin adjective delicatus, meaning “giving pleasure, delightful, pleasing”. The first Americanized short version of this word, deli, came into existence c. 1954.”

In other parts of the United States it has come to mean a deliciously fresh, diverse menu with sandwiches made to order.  Rarely will you find fried foods, or use of a fryer, with the possible exception of some eat-in delis that serve French fries.

In Oregon, however, beware.  The word “Deli” here usually describes a tiny, warn, space with a three or four booths or tables for seating; a minimal menu consisting of a few deli meats but mostly of items that can be quickly pulled out of the freezer and deep fried, and ; a room partitioned off, with saloon doors and no windows, where you can hear the click, click, click and occasional celebratory music as someone on the other side of that wall wins three dollars on a video lottery game.

Apparently slot machines, or video lottery games,  have become the second biggest revenue earner for Oregon, after state taxes.   According to State Law a business cannot make lottery games their only or dominant purpose.  Hence, the cropping up of “delis” serving nothing eatable but allowing gambling all around the state.   Were any of these establishments audited one would most certainly find that their dominant activity is gambling but as with all things government…money rules…and the money pouring in to state coffers from this activity provides little incentive to enforce the gambling law and limit these type of businesses.

Some believe that making these lottery game machines available in every local mall is creating a social issue by providing easy access to potential gambling addicts.  I don’t know how I feel about that since from what I’ve learned an addict will find a way to his or her pleasure regardless of difficulties or consequences.

What I do believe, however, is that one cannot get a decent deli sandwich in Oregon and that should be a crime.

 

The Front Line is Wherever You Are

I have been in an inconsolable depression since the election.  I don’t mean in a slump.  I mean in a black spiral falling deeper and deeper into a hole that appears to have no bottom.  I am not a partisan person.  It has nothing to do with Democrats and Republicans.  I’m pretty much a free thinker and I don’t believe I’ve ever met someone who believes in exactly the things I do.

One thing I do believe in is the struggle between good and evil. It takes place in each of us every day as we consider whether or not to do what is right, or what is usually easier.    Right now my fear is that evil has a grip on our country in a way I’ve never before seen in my lifetime.  My depression stems from fear.   Fear that we may see the type of pure evil again that many of our parents lived through in the Second World War

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. There is contention about who should be attributed with these words; Edmond Burke, Charles F. Aked, John F. Kennedy, but in the end it really doesn’t matter who first spoke this truth.  It only matters that it is a truth.  Today, some good men and women in all parts of the political spectrum are standing back and letting what they know is evil take place.  I can’t begin to imagine or pretend to know their motives.  I think many of them are just in denial and don’t want to admit how badly they erred in judging our new President’s character.

What I do know is that for me, I think the only way out of my spiraling depression is to stand.  Stand up for something again and don’t back down.  Stand up for what I believe is right.  Stand up tall and strong with others who are as frightened as I am about what is happening in this country and say “no, not here, not on our watch.  We won’t let it happen.  We want our country to continue to stand for freedom, inclusion and social justice.  We want a kind country with arms reaching out to embrace those in need.  We will not close our borders.  We will not run in fear.  We will continue to fight for human rights for all people.”

At first I felt the need to rush back to DC.  I thought that’s where the front line was.  That’s where the real fight was happening.  I should be back there with my old friends and colleagues fighting the good fight.  But after a bit of thinking I realized that’s not the case.  The real front line is in whatever country, whatever state, whatever town, whatever room we find ourselves in.  The fight is everywhere and holding the line is as simple as not laughing at the racist joke at work; greeting each person we meet with compassion; not allowing bigoted behavior to go unchallenged in any form.  Holding the line is simply living your beliefs wherever you find yourself and speaking up whenever you see injustice taking hold. 

Realizing once again that each of us can make a difference has helped me to climb to the top of the pit.  I’m not out of the dark hole yet, but I can see light above.  A light that grows brighter each time I see someone standing up and holding the line.

The Easy Chair

Oh how I wish I could write like Barbara Kingsolver.  All I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember is to be able to write in a way that elicits emotions from people.  Sometimes emotions they don’t even know they have.  To write something with a kernel of profound truth that people can relate to and say, “that’s it…that’s just how that feels”.

In Kingsolver’s “Pigs in Heaven” her first six paragraphs describe exactly how if feels to be in a relationship after a certain age.  Those sentences resonate with everything I’ve been feeling of late.  As I get older my world is becoming smaller and smaller, my desire for things less and less, and my desire for intimate conversation greater and greater, while at exactly the same moment in time the average man seems to have used up his lifetime allotment of words.

The middle aged man spending his days in his easy chair couldn’t have become a cliche unless there was some truth in it.  Kingsolver’s descripton, “his Naugahyde recliner confronts her, smug as a catcher’s mitt, with a long, deep impression of Harland running  down it’s center” describes it better than I’ve ever heard or read it described.  I’ve seen that same impression in more men’s chairs than I’d care to admit.

The easy chair has always made me sad.  Not because it eludes to TV watching.  I can be the Queen of Netflix marathons myself.  I thinks it’s the singleness of the chair.  Where I would prefer to snuggle up and share my experience with someone (one of my fondest memories is spending an entire day with my God daughter on the sofa watching episode after episode of “Cake Boss” together until someone had to come and force us to shut it off) the easy chair sits alone and seems to say “there’s no room for anyone but me here…leave me alone”.

I have a single, male friend whose living room is set up with the requisite enormous flat screen TV with his comfortable easy chair right smack dab in the center of the room and a sofa pushed back against one wall.  Even when told he doesn’t see that this set up says to all who enter, “it’s all about my comfort…you sit over there against the wall and don’t bother me.”

I am a middle-aged woman, and one on the down hill side of that bell curve.  I am beginning to understand that the chances of meeting a man my age who has a serious desire for emotional and intellectual intimacy is slightly less than the chance of me ever fitting into my original size 6 wedding dress again.  Even if the intimacy were to be there to couple lifestyles at such an age would likely be as uncomfortable of a fit as that dress.

I guess the moral of this story is that I will now have plenty of time to devote to improving my writing skills.

 

 

 

The Dating Profile I’d LIKE TO Post but Never Will

59 year-old woman seeking partner in crime.

Life, and crime, are each more fun with a partner. Doesn’t have to be a romantic partner (Butch and Sundance, Thelma and Louise…) but if you can find someone that you can partner with in life and have great sex with too — what could be better?

Actually LOOK at my photos. I’m well-dressed, my hair looks good, if I’m wearing make-up it’s subtle and well done, I’m always smiling. I’m obviously going to make an effort to look my best at our first meeting and beyond. So it only makes sense I’m looking for a man who will do the same. Do I look like a woman is seeking a man with a filthy ball cap he never takes off, who wears grungy, frayed jeans to our first meeting and hasn’t trimmed his beard this year? Use your noggin!

Actually READ my profile. I’m smart, I’m funny, and I’m well educated. I’m going to expect you to be smart, funny and able to write a grammatically correct sentence, as well.

If you have more than one drink daily you are not a “social drinker”. Social drinkers have a beverage or two when out to dinner on Saturday night or when having friends over for a party or BBQ. Maybe they have a glass of wine or beer when they get home from work in the evening.

The same is true of pot. I’m not completely 420 unfriendly…and for anyone who has pain I say do whatever works for you…but if you have no medical reason and you’re hitting the bong at 10am I’m not the right woman for you.

Have two nickels to rub together. I prefer a man who pays on a date. That said…we can go Dutch if you don’t have that kind of money but at a minimum you have to be able to pay for your own dinner. It’s really not cool for you to sit and watch me eat my dinner while you sip on a glass of water because you can’t even afford a cup of coffee. I don’t have much, but a man has to have at least as much as me, ‘cause without that parity no partnership is possible.

Have a driver’s license and a car. I’m not hauling your ass around town for the duration of our relationship. I expect you to be able to come and pick me up for a date. I expect to actually GO OUT ON DATES. I love to walk in the park; ride bikes, hike, etc. Every once in a while I also want to go out for dinner, see a movie, go to the theatre, hit a comedy open mike night, something (anything) other than walking and talking or sitting and talking.

I didn’t post a profile on a dating site because I’m looking for someone to have sex with. Hundreds of men want to have sex with me. I’ve been pursued by men of every age who tell me how sexy I am and how much they want to make love to me. Wanting to bed me doesn’t make you special. It’s just pheromones. Get a grip on yourself. Think with your big head for a change instead of your little one. But if we do get past the dating and actually get to this point, please be able to perform. If you have problems performing you are surely aware of that before we get to this stage of the relationship so deal with it before we go there. Man up!

What I’m looking for is a partner. Merriam-Webster defines it as: A person with whom one shares an intimate relationship; one member of a couple; one of two or more persons who play together in a game against an opposing team. In this instance the opposing team is “life” with all it brings us. It comes with family, friends, good food, fun times and great sex but it also includes hard work, flooded kitchens, flat tires, mortgage payments, cancer, and many other frustrations and challenges. Like all roller coaster rides it’s more fun when you have someone you can cling to who’s screaming just as loudly as you are when the car hits the peak and begins plummeting toward the next turn.

I’m too old for online dating

I can’t believe I’m single again. I’m too old to date. However, there isn’t much call for 59 year-old mail order brides so unless I want to be forever without male companionship (a viable option I’m thinking about) I will have to date again. The thought of going on more first dates makes me cry harder than all the things I miss about my last love.

Feeling I must carry on, I once again turned on my online dating site. A man wrote to me. He was attractive, and if his write-up was even partially true, one in a million. The one catch for me was, he was only 5’ 6” tall. I usually only date men who are six foot or taller. Short fit men make me feel as though I might roll over in bed and squash them. I just don’t want to take the chance of an accidental death. It’s bad enough at this age worrying if the excitement of sex will give them a heart attack.

Last night I went out for a drink with my girlfriend who is much younger than me. I was telling her about this and she said it’s just a date, go ahead and email the short guy. So I show her his profile, and after a brief read, she explains to me that the reason he sounds like a man that’s too good to be true is because he’s a transsexual. Apparently he eludes to this in two different places in his profile which I missed while focusing on his small stature. So the reason he sounded completely wonderful was because he used to be woman. It had been like reading my own profile!

Actually, this wouldn’t have been the first time I dated a transsexual. The first time there was no indication other than the lack of attraction on my part.   I remember after meeting him telling my friends he had a butt like a woman’s. I told him we could hang out as friends and it would never be anything more. It was much later after some nights out dancing that he told me the truth about his transition. I have no problem with anyone’s choices of sexuality. I just have no attraction either.  We have remained friends, and judging by his troubles with dating, it’s no different after transition than it is before.

Alas, I digress. The point here is I’m too old to be dating online anymore and not being able to read this profile correctly proved it to me. I can’t keep up with the new slang phrases that are supposed to alert me to what men really want. It’s like learning a foreign language.  I once thought I had it all figured out but this experience makes me realize the world has changed too much for me to keep up with it.

Sadly, there are a lot of things I truly enjoy about male companionship, including sexual intimacy. I realize I’m spending a lot more time in my yard this year: chopping, pruning, digging, planting, spreading mulch. Apparently I’m taking my sexual frustrations out on my landscape. It makes me wonder anew about my mother who never dated or remarried after my father died in his mid-fifties. Her garden plot was enormous and flowers bloomed everywhere on her property.   Sure wish she was here now so we could laugh about this together. And, since I’ll obviously be doing a lot more gardening these days, I could use some of her green thumb tips, as well.

The top 10 reasons I miss my Dog:(

10. There’s no one at home to force me to go outside and get some exercise.
9. She was a great icebreaker at parties.
8. There’s no one to warn me when someone’s coming.
7. It’s now extremely obvious that I talk to myself.
6. I never had to worry about service or repair men coming into my home.  If they got fresh she’d nip them on their ass.
5. I no longer have a socially acceptable method of meeting good-looking strangers on the street.
4. She was the best excuse for not going out with co-workers after work: “I have to go home and let my dog out.”
3. I no longer have a useful purpose for my growing collection of plastic bags.
2. I’ve lost my best excuse for why I can’t “sleep over”.
1. And the number one reason I miss my dog? Now when I go home to that glass of wine after work I really am drinking alone!

A Tale of Unfulfilled Potential

I was told so often as a young adult how much “potential” I had. I was pushed into the advanced classes in High School. I took master degree courses my first year at the University because I didn’t want to be bored. At age 20 I met with members of our Nation’s congress and the Israeli Knesset. At age 21 I actually sat in the President’s chair in the Oval Office as part of a special tour of the White House given for “Up and Coming Young Politicians”. I was the only one with the courage to take the seat when it was offered. I commented as I sat down, “It’s about time a woman sat here”. That was almost 30 years ago and still no woman has taken the chair.

I was meant to do something BIG with my life. I was meant to do something big, find a big partner to share it with, have wonderful children who would be healthy and happy and well brought up. That is what seemed to be expected of me. We should be getting ready now to meet our grown kids at our beach house in Bethany for a long weekend where their Dad would tell them how proud he was of them and how much he still adored his brilliant, beautiful wife after all these years.

Instead I live alone with my dog. Two failed marriages behind me. No particular successes to share. I have no kids, no beach house, and barely enough money to pay my bills. I work for a not for profit organization that does invaluable work that America pays lip service to but where most of our workers barely make above poverty level.

I don’t know when it happened, where it went downhill, when I stopped being one of the best and the brightest and just became another tale of unfulfilled potential. I wonder if I could go back to that one moment, that turning point, would I make a different decision. If I got a chance for a do over would I take a different turn that would have me writing the great American novel while raising wonderful children with a loving, supportive man who thinks the world of me?

Was it falling in love with the wrong man and then holding on too long? Was it making the wrong career moves? Geographical moves?

No matter, for there are no do overs. I’m a survivor but I don’t know how much more survivor I have in me. I have tried desperately to rise up from ever y set back. I have mourned the deaths of those I loved and carry them with me daily. I have done my best to move on from a 20 year relationship that felt  liked it was ruined in an instant. I told myself, as all my belongings went up in flames, that they were just things, not relationships, and relationships are all that really matters. I have survived breast cancer, I have cried my way through the shingles and the other ravages of aging and through it all I can’t help thinking, where did all that often spoken of potential go?

Was it ever really there? How did I fail to harness it? Is it too late at this age to dig deep and find some flailing potential to build on?

What Can Beat No Chemo?

I’m still reeling from news yesterday that chemotherapy is not indicated in my particular case.  I don’t remember ever receiving better news.  I was prepared for the worst, so much so that I didn’t know how to react to such great news.  I couldn’t quite grasp it at first.  I wondered if they’d gotten my sample mixed up at the lab.  The doctor had to ensure me that the results were mine.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how perspective changes everything.  Six months ago I in the midst of a deep depression and couldn’t seem to pull myself out of it.  Now, the things that were concerning me hardly seem important.  I’m alive and I don’t have to have chemo.  I feel lucky which is a feeling I’ve never really experienced before.  On the contrary, I’ve always felt like a little black could was hanging over my head.  Today I feel almost grateful for new outlook that having cancer has given me.

At this point I can’t think of any news greater than “You don’t have to have Chemotherapy”.  What can beat that?

Best meal I ever had at the Inn at Little Washington?  That night I was catered to by more restaurant staff than I ever knew existed, experienced delectable food, celebrated my birthday with my husband and closest friends.  A great memory…but it doesn’t come close.

Best sex I ever had?  Incredible and also delectable but I do not kiss and tell so I’ll say no more about it except although it was exhilarating and took my breath away it doesn’t come close to the joy I’m experiencing now.

The only thing that ranks up there with finding out I don’t have to have chemo is the birth of my god-daughters.  That’s the amount of joy I feel again today.  A rebirth of sorts.  A new way to look at life.  I hope I’m able to harness this feeling and channel it toward enjoying life and not let depression take hold of me again.

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