I’m glad I caught myself not going to therapy after we picked up to head across the country to Boise. Now I’m having phone sessions with my longtime therapist and it’s the better plan. Especially since both she and my primary care nurse practitioner have told me it’s perfectly natural to have PTSD after having cancer.
What’s silly, though, is I do this thing where I’m like, “Oh, my cancer was so small. Oh, PTSD? Pshhh. What about soldiers? What about people who’ve REALLY experienced some shit?” As I am 100% sure you already know: this is not fair to do to myself.
As I keep saying, we’re in a weird time, not every single moment has to be an actively teachable one, we could use to be gentler with ourselves, we would never speak to friends the way we speak to ourselves. Simmer down now.
“Your day at work sucked because YOU suck,” never would I ever say to even someone I actively dislike.
I didn’t get this post out two days ago. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with me. Or that I’m shirking all the beautiful privilege I have while others wither in squalor and I actively make their lives worse by…oh, I can’t even finish the sentence. Because it’s just silly.
I’ve taken a good break from Facebook (newsfeed at least) and I feel better. I recently unfriended and blocked this guy I used to know because, to put it simply, I want to be around kind people. He had criticized something I posted about being exhausted by pop music, saying it was the height of first world problems. He wasn’t wrong. But my adrenals were already overworked because of PTSD. And then I felt guilty for having PTSD. Jeez.
But even the well-meaning memes alone can take you down! I saw this Buddhist one the other day about manifesting and how you’re actively creating your reality (sure) and that very thought you have is bringing you more of that thing (you know the gist). I’m fucking sorry, but I don’t need the extra new age guilt, as my therapist calls it. I’m going to be thinking about some cancer I had last year and how to prevent future cancers and I refuse to buy into that little meme’s message that I’m bringing more of it into my life. So, screw you, meme.
I’m for manifesting — don’t get me wrong. I just don’t need the shit end of that manifesting stick when I’m in the midst of working through some crap. And other poopoo and stick metaphors.
The thing, too, is I’m pretty fine. Good even. I have great tools for cutting the cycle of association and anxiety when it comes. Cutting the anxiety is the first thing. Breathing it out of my body. I can then come back to the associative thoughts later if I really want (like, “Oh, what if I’m wheezing while exercising because I have lung cancer, not because my allergies are horrible — are my allergies normally this bad?” Those kinds of associative thoughts. Fun).
So! I’ve been getting out into nature, playing music, napping, watching as much Rupaul’s Drag Race as I can, dreaming and scheming about what kind of garden we might have, and thinking about some lovely places to visit. Oh, and I’ve been exploring the "beach goth” music genre on Spotify. Beach goth, where you been all my life? The answer is…inside my heart.
Here's one of my favorites so far: Summer Salt.
I'm also pretty obsessed with this song by The Growlers and the feeling it evokes of aching to get out of a city that no longer speaks to you. We saw them at Treefort here in Boise last month. They were my introduction to beach goth being a thing.
I was thinking the other day how I'm doing some of the same things to self-soothe I did when I was a teenager, like lighting candles and writing in my journal while listening to (beach) goth music. Because I got this.
And again, I just want to reiterate that I'm well. I think talking about it really helps. Lady Gaga and Prince William inspired me heartily a few days ago with this video of them discussing the feels.
And all that, my friends, is presently where I'm at. I write this to you from my backyard, with the warmth of the high desert sun on my back. I'm gonna eat something and get an iced coffee (but not a giant one -- made that mistake yesterday). And I'm going to let this post end without any real satisfying closure. Because in this case, that seems like the right plan.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
• More details about my writing here.