So

Nothing about this is beyond the realm of understanding. It’s never been about irrationality. Good to have it for as long as is possible, then, no more. Death.

I can’t control anything but who I am and where I direct my attention. Time to mourn, and move forward. Survival is stronger than greif.

Perilous. The road is filled with tears. But redemption also.

It’s Here

I think it’s already making its way through us, this virus. We can’t test fast enough. We’re not keeping up with it. Everyone I know is getting sick. Extended social circles are feeling the effects. We have underestimated the foe, and the only math that matters is the percentage that do not survive infection. What circumstances cause vulnerability? How does one effectively survive, or become redundantly immune? I think all animals on earth face calamities such as this. Rampant infection, plague, or environmental selection.

But really though it’s not like the world is ending. It’s totally not. We’re all going to get sick for a while and some will die, just like the flu. It’s just another catastrophe our species will endure. The many that survive will be relatively immune to the virus, and the virus will lose in the end. I may yet get it, or I may have already just had it… who knows? I’m thinking that we won’t eat bat shit anymore or however this virus came to be. We should avoid that, to prevent future problems.

COVID-19

I, along with countless others, share a general sense of unease at the arrival of this novel coronavirus on the world stage. At the time that I write this post, over 88,000 have contracted it with 3,000 dead. 102 confirmed cases in the United States with 6 dead.

That doesn’t seem at all like pandemic territory, considering the flu has killed 16,000 this season alone. But…

COVID-19 did all that in a little over three months, not an entire season like the flu had. COVID-19 kills 2% of those infected, which is a higher rate than the flu. The global PR machine has been working overtime to spin calm and complacency, but is there any reason to be?

What I see is a rapidly expanding bubble, touching more people than the governments of the world can account for. The bubble infects some that can be explained or traced, and then others who we have no idea how they contracted the virus. These “community” infections are most troubling because they represent an unhinged aspect to the spread which could accelerate into the aforementioned pandemic territory.

I don’t fear for myself, but I do fear for others. I’m unlikely to die from COVID-19, but my parents are in jeopardy due to their age. The novel coronavirus is being downplayed in a way that is largely CYA and less about informing the public of the very real possibility of a much bigger, life-altering event that would reshape how our daily activities are conducted.

What gets me is that we have now made this arbitrary potential pandemic a political issue, like it’s somehow reflective of our absurd politics and not the result of a new infectious pathogen randomly appearing on the global stage. This is not Donald Trump’s fault, nor is it the fault of the Democratic Party. We all need to pull our heads out of our asses and look straight ahead.

Lean times might be coming soon, and we are fools for believing that the divisive rhetoric of the past conflicts will serve any propose in the epidemic to come. Right now would be the best time to pool resources, keep people informed and work logically to halt the spread of this virus as best we can. People will die because our discourse can’t be honest or rational enough to tell us the truth about the crisis looming on the horizon. We will not be pacified and deluded, only to be taken by surprise when the shit hits the fan. Wake the fuck up and start telling it like it is. We deserve your honesty; our lives are at stake.

So people: no need to horde face masks and hand sanitizer. No need to blame your political rivals. We only survive if we are smart and aware together. We will prevail if we work collectively to stay informed and safe. Sadly, this will not be the case, and our petty politics will intrude upon the truth with thousands of lives as the final consequence.

The Feels

What is the right way to be? Is it who I’m needed to be, or is it just “me?” In the past, I have become who I believed I was supposed to be, for the person that I partnered with I have learned that making oneself fit into a cookie cutter often leaves bits chopped off, or gaps.

Being disconnected from the way K did a few days ago was painful, because it felt like it was also a condemnation of the quality of which I love. As if to say: she felt she’d be better off without my presence in her life, despite her intention to protect me from a perceived future calamity. Said calamity is a growing possibility, but admittedly, not yet set in stone. What I do know, and she came to discover, is we only have the time we have. How we spend that time is ultimately ours to decide. I do not still feel hurt by this, mind you, because she did miss my presence in her life and did not like the feeling of my absence. This turn of circumstance has allowed me to be much more rapidly introspective about the whole thing.

Now, however, I find myself being “clingy.” I got let go of once, I’d like to ensure that it doesn’t happen again due to some sort of neglect on my part. Am I not hearing her? Am I not there for her like I ought to be? Am I telling her how I feel about her enough? So, naturally, this is a sort of panic reaction. I’m noticing it, I’m doing something to regulate the urgency of this unproductive prerogative. I do need to establish that the lines of communication should be wide open, because we only succeed together in total honesty.

I hurt her too a few months ago, when I she felt stifled her sharing about what she was going through with her cancer treatments. This has had a lasting effect, and now there is a barrier of hesitancy between us that distresses me. I understand why she feels this way too… I’m still grappling with how to be in my role in our relationship, given the torment of her every waking moment. I long to “do” something but sometimes the only thing the “do” is be there, talk, laugh and try and move the time along. Share something, have a distraction to engage in. Most importantly though, is proximity, and physical comfort. This is the thing I can’t do, which makes for the source of my emotions. It’s a tough role to mark our first 6 months together, but I’m working my way through this just as she is.

This rant has a point. That is: we are humans trying to survive a particularly stressful circumstance. I struggle, she struggles, I help her up sometimes and other times she’ll help me. Partnerships are built on being equals when you can be, and allies when you need to be. The brand of love I bring is the unconditional variety, which makes me both vulnerable and naive. I long to be loved back the same way, because having someone that close who will protect you when times get tough is the core of surviving this world. Allies are essential to success and establishment of identity. Whether its friends or partners, we need people to reflect back to us who we are, and what space we occupy in the world.

K is my partner, and even if she wanted to brave this thing alone, she still has me, and I’m going to the edge with her if need be. I’m loyal to her cause and I’m desperate to have her in my life for as long as I can. Losing her artificially was toxic, and losing her for real is still a possibility. I would like to do what I can to help her through this particularly dark time. I’m counting on having her, but I know I could lose her. I will take every precious chance to be in her orbit, however distantly. For who she is, for what she believes in and how fiercely she fights… I believe she will emerge from this hardened.

Who am I? I’m still me. I only have a switch that goes from LOVE to OFF and right now that bad boy is stuck open. I only know one way to be a partner, and that’s in admiration of the one who chose me, and a respect to myself to keep that person she loves still vital, healthy and not crushing myself into a cookie cutter mold.  Staying honest to myself helps me stay strong and aware of issues when they emerge (being mentally ill: issues always emerge). I can only control who I am, and who I am is a work in progress.

Clasped

I love like a prayer, whispered as though being heard exclusively, desperately by the ears of someone who understands.

Feeling within an ache and a tumult; like storm waves lashing coastal rocks. I roil, but soon, the tide will flow out and the wasted shore will be laid bare.

More than anything, to be back in the sunlight of her favor. To hear the tone of her voice and her laughter like dandelion kisses on my cheeks. I remember her sweetly like pollen in the breeze. I long to be back, for however long I can be, until her light goes out. If indeed it ever does.

To face the darkness of the world without her is lingering in an eclipse without end. She lives yet she is gone, hidden from casting her radiance wide upon my world. A flourish of that magic that inspired my soul to give itself to her.

The bleak shadow of the darkened moon bleeds into the astral blackness of the chasm that divides us. Cast me down, into that void… reaching for the dwindling horizon. I’m drowning. I’m vanishing.

Chemo K

My girlfriend has a cancerous tumor on her spine, and she is well into a month plus of heavy chemo. The toxic sludge she has to ingest wrecks every part of her body, and is pushing her right to the brink of death. For me, I know there is no way to shield her from the pain, or the symptoms… but I can be compassionate, loving and humorous at relevant intervals. This is what I can do from far away. Empathy, compassion and understanding are my tools. She is now also receiving radiation treatments to help destroy the tumors, with an accompanying set of additional side effects. My heart breaks for her, but there is little I can do to make her day-to-day life less agonizing.

I am eager to get back to Mobile and see her in person, so I can be a physically useful person in her immediate proximity. How can I relieve the biggest burden, the pain, if I am not there to actually carry the load? I’m going to put my tax return to good use and let Uncle Sam pay my way to the deep South next month and get a few days of relief in line for her. Plus, all her friends and family have come out of the woodwork now that she has a diagnosis and many are offering help of some sort. I’m glad she has that support network to rely on.

My therapy session was focused on my role in this new predicament. I feel both glad for the love I feel, and afraid of all the potential negative outcomes. I have anxiety, yes, but it does not own my processes. Worry is healthy, and a response that I feel is somewhat appropriate to reflect the gravity of the subject matter. I love someone who is going to come very close to death, and that’s a scary thing.

I know I need to be there, and I will be for a time. K is unbelievably strong. Her strength helps me keep my mind on the positive, and the inevitable victory she will achieve over this unwanted intruder. I hope I can help her somehow… I don’t really think I do much but distract her. That is relief, at least.

Have a good week everyone.

 

Hi

I’m checking in for the first time in a while. I have been sliding down into a depressed state for many weeks now, and I am starting to use my coping tools to help me find a way back up. I have already begun this turn to some degree but coming back here and writing my thoughts out is a big part of how I process.

My depression is lubricated by the circumstance of K having cancer and engaging in a knock-down, drag-out brawl to liberate herself from it. It’s a very real possibility that she will not be here at the end of this struggle, and that chills me in a cold-knife-to-the-intestines kinda way. I do try to keep my optimism and attitude positive but I won’t hide that I’m scared. I gave her every part of myself that I had to give, and she could be gone. More than just that though, I feel detached from myself like I’m watching my reality through a screen and I have the joystick in my hands. I don’t feel like there is much I can do to influence anything… I feel ineffectual somehow. Irrelevant maybe is the better word. I have lost a sense of what I am good for, what I am doing and why I am doing it. Is anything I do making a real difference? Are people benefitting from the energy I give? Am I even giving enough in the first place? There is a voice of nagging negativity and dubiety plaguing me from afar. Work has felt like a black hole since we lost our office. I’ve had a very hard time establishing a routine since there is no physical location to drive to. I end up somewhere between serious and relaxed, composed and decomposing. I need to get out of this house and I have been contemplating ways I could have a remote location where I do work. I’m actively problem solving my circumstances. Lastly, I just feel that neurochemical imbalance… slow, sad, unexcited, bored, anxious. It’s an all the time stagnant haze which my flashlight only further illuminates rather than provides me with any clarity on the path forward.

Though these thoughts and feelings do haunt me, they are a small fraction of the pervading good that I feel in my life. Many positive things are happening in my world that are cause to be hopeful: I have a wonderful woman in my life who knows me and loves me for who I am; she is with me every day whether physically present or not. I have a loving family that is willing to work on improving their  communication skills. I just traded in my 15 year old Dodge for a new Nissan truck! I have a job where being mentally ill isn’t something I need to hide, it’s something that qualifies me to do the work that I do. We just bought a new house for my mom and dad and I, in a very beautiful area just up the freeway from Sacramento. Life has never been as good as it is about to be.

I have these dialectical thought processes: I take the good and the bad and respect both while not siding conclusively with either aspect. I often proceed with things having considered both the positive and negative aspects of said things (or, I try to). I can love/hate with the best of them. I think this keeps me from being too stubborn, or too closed minded. I like having things to add to either column, and since the balance favors the less objectionable option, I have the ability to be moved on issues where most would be unwilling to acquiesce. It also helps me not get too lost in my depression, because I can still see the good too. I know there is sadness, and sometimes it is the only thing I feel… but I also know that the sadness will pass on to something else if I help it do so. A distraction, or a game, a good conversation, a hug if you can get one for sure but we don’t always have someone to hug. There are things I can do for myself to help me get out of this place and that’s what I’m going to be pushing for in the days ahead.

I need to get this body moving again and continue my better eating habits. I have a plan of action to help restore my vital energy and eccentric spunk I’m so often known for. I am coming back, one doofy comment at a time.