There’s a lot to be said for emotional distance putting things in perspective.
A month ago, we had hit the first day of Bonnaroo. I look back and what the hell was I thinking? I hate being outside. I hate being in large groups of strangers. I hate the sun. I hate bugs. I hate the smell of weed. I love esoteric music, but I can get that from the comfort of my Google Play account in my air conditioned apartment. Instead of kicking myself over it, I have to laugh. It was doomed to fail from the start. Most of it was the sleep deprivation. I totally understand why that’s used as a method of torture. However, I wouldn’t be ready to tell you the nuclear weapon launch codes. I’d have already ripped off your head and started using it as a pillow. The next dude in the door would have his work cut out for him.
Give yourself a little emotional distance. You may not be able to laugh at a situation, but you can get a better perspective. Whatever you’re struggling with, separate yourself as much as you can. Even a quarter of an inch is more than you were able to see before. You’ve got this. Someday, it’ll make a great story.
There are certain moments which put your life, and your problems, in rather harsh perspective.
My first boyfriend ever died yesterday. He had just turned 30 in February. When I saw it on Facebook, I didn’t believe it. I was thinking “Wow, that’s a really cruel joke to play. April Fool’s Day was a week ago.” Then his sister posted confirmation. I was completely stunned. I haven’t seen him since he graduated high school (2002) and I only recently found him on Facebook. We dated for all of 4 months over 15 years ago. He was my first kiss and gave me my first hickey (much to the great dismay of my mother). He also had the most ridiculous reason for dumping me I’ve heard since we started dating. There were rumors constantly flying around that he was gay. In a Catholic high school, that’s a loaded statement. He denied it vehemently and kept a string of girlfriends after me. He was a very talented singer and actor which only fueled the gay rumors. Everyone kept telling me he was gay and questioning why I was dating him. He dumped me, so that ended things swiftly. When I was in college, I heard he came out. It didn’t surprise me. I was happy that he had the courage to lay it out there in his very Catholic household. I would idly see his posts on Facebook. He appeared to have reinvented himself. He started going by his full name and gave a pass to everyone who met him before his college days to call him by his nickname. He’d found a partner. There was nothing indicating anything was wrong. Then just like that, he was gone. I’m planning on going to the memorial service this week even though I doubt his sister will remember me.
I read a quote from, of all people, Teller of Penn & Teller. He was talking about rehearsing in the theater and the thought crossed his mind that someday, he won’t ever walk into that theater again. His heart dropped at the thought. Then he said, think about something like that for your own life. Let your heart drop. Then remember that day isn’t today. So I let my heart drop and reminded myself that today is a day I’m still here. Today is a day everyone I love is still here. Give it a try. I promise it will provide the good shake we sometimes need.
Rest well, Jeff. Rest well.
The end of last week wasn’t exactly stellar. On Boy’s birthday, I found out that my dad had a brain tumor. The cancer had metastasized into his brain. Way to get kicked in the stomach, right? I spent the night alternating between sobbing & feeling completely numb. Boy wisely talked me into showing up to work the next day instead of stewing at home all day. I only cried once at work right before I got a text from my dad. The prognosis is excellent. The tumor can easily be removed, he’ll need minimal radiation treatment, & he’ll be back at it in about 6 weeks. Far from the worst case scenario.
Boy & I had already planned to go to Savannah this weekend & it was definitely the right choice. A little change of scenery, sitting in one of the squares sipping Italian soda, & laughing at each other and everything around it was just what I needed to get out of my own head. We crammed pretty much everything worth doing into about 14 hours. I was totally brain fried at work today, but it was worth it. We played every silly road trip game we could think of, I kept him awake with my Lady Gaga playlist during the last hour on Friday night, and hilarity ensued.
I came back to the parents’ house today and my dad was back to making cancer jokes. He wants to show off the staples in his head to add to his street cred. We’ve been debating the various merits of shaving his head then which ridiculous wigs we could get for him. My rainbow mohawk idea is currently winning. Jokes about how he would be totally safe in the event of a zombie attack because his brain is already rotten. Some people may look at us and think we’re cruel or downright crazy for laughing about it. Hell, what else are we going to do? Bury him already? He’s already survived one round. There’s no reason he won’t come out of this round with better stories and more sick jokes. Some days, we laugh to keep from crying. It always ends better that way.
P.S. We’re headed to Bonnaroo in June. So, so, so stupidly excited!!