"winter's been hard," voices have said to me,
"winter has been hard," i whisper out, echo back.
i drafted up, in my mind, a piece i would i have called snowball effect.
where i lamented the ever-growing, ever-rolling strife i faced.
i'd complain about how january had been a setback:
covid, long, drawn out,
which delayed my treatment.
then my injection,
to be met in time with my period,
i was lethargic; gone, i guess.
i'd have extrapolated further;
the snowball at large:
trauma, recovering still to this day,
covid, the pandemic, homeschooling,
"it feels... unrelenting." i had croaked to my therapist.
"it would be hard not to feel that way," he agrees softly, "when life has been... relentless."
in mid-february, i drafted, in my mind, a piece that would have followed up snowball effect.
it would have been called, spring thaw.
i was going to awe you with a palatable conversation i had with my mother,
we butt heads more often than not, you see,
but she was trying to soothe me, i imagine,
when she murmured there was only one more month,
one more month of winter and then there would be spring, and sun, and warmth.
just one more month.
for valentine's day, gage got me a membership to a local spa and tanning place.
i'd been bringing up lately how i wanted to try tanning,
how i'd read on instagram, on one of the cancer patient accounts i follow,
how someone went tanning just to feel good, to feel warm again.
and oh what a novel idea!
i latched on
and he pulled through for me.
after the first day, after two spa services and my very first time tanning, i'd felt delighted.
the second time i went tanning, i was a little disappointed to see i hadn't taken any color yet.
on my third, i looked down at my glow, delighted,
and then, simultaneously, guilty.
growing up, words heard time and time again,
don't spend too much time in the sun
you're too brown
don't get too dark
sit in the shade
you're so tan! come inside
look how dark you've gotten stay out of the sun!
can't I have anything? i groan inwardly, angrily, to my brain that has repressed the memories of not being white enough.
in the tanning bed, i turn the fans by my face all the way up. the dry heat and the fans takes me away,
i imagine i am on a sail boat,
wind whips my hair back and these are sunglasses on my face,
not silly goggles,
for nine minutes
i am without a care in the world.
i can't bring myself to do.
the cumulative cold has ground my body down, it feels.
i can hear my shuffling feet as i walk, my slow gait,
can feel the lethargy and weight in my body.
this isn't wholly true.
ive been consuming aduiobooks.
more books in this calendar year than probably the last whole decade combined,
and i relish in the stories,
i'm realizing i enjoy historical fiction
but i want women's tales, girl's tales,
where despite all odds and fractures
losing their physical safety, their mental safety,
their able bodies even,
their frameworks of the world around them fall apart,
where they rebuild themselves new identities.
where women are coming out stronger,
but they made it.
huh. wonder why that could be.
"I've been listening to books, so many books, and I love it," i admit breathlessly to my therapist.
"good!" he encourages, and I cry.
"I'm scared," i whisper, "i'm scared that if i get better, then i can't listen to books anymore, because then i need to do, i should be doing, other things, but i don't want to stop listening to books, but i want to feel better, too."
i am broken.
after that, he managed only to point out how backwards my thinking was for a brief second before i began shrieking, cackling madly,
"I KNOW! i know, do you hear me? do you hear how crazy i sound? i can't enjoy books?!" peels and peels of maniacal laughter as i flung my head back and sobbed, screaming at the brokenness going on inside my brain.
fuck cancer, okay.
fuck cancer, fuck chronic illness, fuck trauma, fuck late-stage capitalism and the patriarchy and everything i am so angry and tired of feeling like this.
i've been painting my nails.
i've managed to stop using acrylic glue-ons,
i've grown out my natural nail enough to paint and feel good about.
in my mind, i've drafted blogs for you guys, not about me, not about my haze, because honestly, there's not much to say: that's my problem, is i can't say, because i don't know. but i can tell you about these indie brand polishes that have me admiring my nails, so many gorgeous blends i want to change out the manicure well before it has even begun to chip.
i can tell you about the oils and lotions that have saved my hands and feet this winter, that quench my skin when i step out of the tanning bed and i touch my arms and can feel the heat coming off of me--blessed heat.
"i'd like to be in key west and wear shorts and a tank top and a cardigan all the damn time," i grumble to my best friend through my phone, digging a thousand hoodies and sweaters out of our dryer. it is freezing in the laundry room, an exterior corner of our house.
"you don't even need a cardigan!" she chirps to me, encouragingly.
i love this conversation, where we talk about when i will come down to visit her and fall in love with her slice of paradise, and we giggle that she'll just keep me with her forever.
"i like wearing cardigans," i continue the grumble, "I'm always cold."
"you have good reason," she reminds softly.
i'm just always cold. ice pops, we call my hands. Cake tried to freeze me out the other day, after having handled a cold soda can for her dad, she laid her hands on me in hopes to startle, cause a shriek.
"hah, joke's on you," i snorted, calmly withdrawing my hand, "i'm already freezing."
"aww!" Cake stamps her foot. "i wanted to freeze ya!"
"ahh, freezing," Gage said as if he was relaxing on a sunny beach, "such warmth."
in the summer, i know,
i will bemoan the heat.
i will cry out, "it's not even so much the heat, it's the damn humidity, this whole east coast!"
and i will damn the east coast and spout out about my dreams to move to Oregon, to the Pacific Northwest somewhere, somewhere lush and cool and green and...
...cold, and wet, and rainy, and will give me seasonal depression ten months out of the year.
trapped. it's this constant feeling of being trapped. like a wild bird in a little cage forced to sing.
no one is forcing me to sing. like a little bird, trapped in a cage,
allowed to be.
i look up starlings. they sound pretty.
they are a common black bird.
they're not protected.
they're loud, and considered a nuisance.
i like them.