Monday, August 29, 2011

Feelin' The Rain

Wow, I did not expect to be away from the blogging world for such a long time! I posted on my melanoma blog about being under the weather, but I never did update this one. I am back & ready to start writing.

As Mr. Marley suggests, some people feel the rain....I have been feelin' some massive amounts of rain. I don't want to go into the details--some parts of my life I do keep private--but I have allowed myself time to regain strength. Sometimes that is all we need when we are being tested: Time. Now that I have allowed myself that, it is time to get back to what I do!

Adventures to share with you soon...

Friday, August 12, 2011

When I Grow Up...

Lately I have found myself questioning what I want to be when I grow up. In college, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Then life got crazy and I realized that although I like the idea of teaching, I would not want to be confined in a way that teachers are these days. I admire wonderful teachers, in fact, I would say there are not enough of them; however, I know that it is not the career for me. 

Then I toyed with the idea of attending nursing school. I love being with people, I love knowing that what I do--no matter how small--can make life better for a person...even if it is only for a few minutes. Then I started thinking about my hate for needles, blood, and yuckiness...Nursing is not for me either.

So, what is for me? I love working with the public. I am truly a people person. I enjoy writing--to the point of being unable to sleep until I get certain thoughts written down. I am the girl who reads a book and bookmarks numerous pages that I later go back to ponder. I have a way of making people talk. I am a fairly good listener. I love to hear stories about other people. People fascinate me...Reporter? Oh, I don't know.

I had a few suggestions from my friends about what I should be when I grow up. Want to hear them?

- A dinosaur 
   (I would much rather be the famous giraffe from Toys-R-Us.)

-A Princess
    (What girl doesn't want to be a princess every now and then?)

Image found here

-A "bazillionare's wife"
        (Could I survive shopping, eating, working out, and attending charity functions for being my reasons for waking up in the morning? OK....I could probably make it work.....) 

Image found here


A Writer
   (Could I do it? I just don't know.)

Image found here

I won't know unless I try.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Life Just Ain't Fair Sometimes

 (Image found on pinterest.)

I should be celebrating my good news--No Evidence of Melanoma--but instead I find myself battling with life. Not just my own life, but the lives of those around me I care for. It seems like every day we are hearing about dirty scan results, blood work that changes lives, folks who lose their battles with cancer, jobs lost, houses that burn to the ground, etc. A sweet friend lost her father to cancer this week only months after losing her mother to cancer. Another college friend, a YOUNG new mother, joined us in the Cancer Society this week. My heart aches for my sweet friends and family. 2011 has been very unkind.

I realize things could always be worse--always--and some would argue that we are incredibly blessed. WE ARE. But, we are all struggling right now. just ain't fair sometimes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grab Your Book!

It is National Book Lovers Day! Did you all find a few minutes to read your latest book? I did! I finished a very interesting book called The Double Blind. It was not only an interesting read, it also had one of the most fabulous endings. My older sister had loaned me the book, so I automatically had to text her and say, "WOW!" I won't give you anymore details than that! 

Books tend to be my teachers. I can read 500 pages of a book and learn more than I did in a semester of college. Unfortunately, no boss will hire me based on all of the books I have read....Minor detail, right?

Back to my love of reading, think about when you hear a song. Isn't there always one particular lyric that just hits home to you? That is what books do for me. I am thinking back on Elizabeth Gilbert's  Eat Pray Love. The book, if you could get through the various boring parts, taught a lot of lessons. Maybe "taught" is the wrong word. Books tend to make you think....They force you to ask yourself the question,s "What would I do? How does that make me feel? Can I relate to that, Remember when?" 

Thinking back on past relationships, I have been my own worst enemy. That is why this passage in Gilbert's book hit home for me: "I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism."Gilbert hit the nail right on the head for me.... I sometimes see the best in people and when their actions go against their good qualities, I become annoyed. I wonder why they are doing such things when I know what they are really like. Silly me...

Now I have grown...I have experienced a god awful relationship, and I have experienced falling in love with someone who knows me so well that sometimes it, quite frankly, pisses me off. I have reached the point in my life where, like Gilbert says in Eat Pray Love, "I think I deserve something beautiful."

My life is not perfect. Not every day is sunny and sometimes I can be a hateful pain in the ass. Some days I am so bitter about the last 7 months of my life that I become furious with myself..I don't hate myself for feeling the way I do, but I strongly dislike allowing myself to feel such self pity. I make such an effort to find the good in each day that it aggravates me when I struggle with my anger. (I know, sometimes I am too hard on myself. I know, I know...) While Googling quotes from Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, I came across this. I am unsure of when/where she said/wrote it but it seems like something that needs to be included in this post. 

"There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts" (Elizabeth Gilbert).

Because of my situation, I have been granted so many opportunities. Life with cancer could have been a miserable depressing experience. Yes, some days are horrible. Then there are experiences I never would have received without being diagnosed with melanoma. I have met some of the most amazing people all over the world! The scary diagnosis that turned my life upside down is actually the experience that has made me reexamine my life. It has made me question where I want to go, who I want to be. In Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes, "So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect & clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly." My life is one mess. Seriously. They could write a TV series based on the last year of my life. But, I think I am becoming the girl I have wanted to be. I think my life, like Gilbert's, is resembling me. I feel like I have a purpose...

(Gilbert does say though, "I am a better person when I have less on my plate." Boy, I agree there. I know that stress makes me irritable and unkind at times. It is a fault of mine.)

What have your books taught you lately?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Me Time

(Image from Pinterest.)

Every now and then I find it healthy to take a break from the craziness that is my life. Because of the hectic lifestyle I have been living, I have been unable to even think of such a thing. That is going to change now. This past year has beat me down emotionally and physically. To say I am being tested is an understatement. Sometimes I feel like I am being smothered by the constant pressure to just get from one day to the next. Other days I feel like life is just the way it should be. What a roller coaster. 

It takes courage to get from one life experience to the next. I refuse to just float through life. I will get through every battle life throws at me because I make the extra effort to get through it. Self pity is not my least it is not my thing for extended amounts of time. I will rise above it.  This makes me think of a book I recently read. In Moon Shell Beach, Nancy Thayer writes, "It was like leaving the safety of the shore and swimming into the ocean, hoping it wouldn't take you under, hoping for that phenomenal lift and ride the waves gave, that breathtaking experience nothing else could provide. To throw yourself in wholeheartedly, surrendering to the waves, was always a bit of a risk" (168).

I think it is time for me to take another risk.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Advice From a Frog

"I really do believe that all of you are at the beginning of a wonderful journey.
As you start traveling down the road of life, remember this:
There are never enough comfort stops.
The places you're going to are never on the map.
And once you get that map out, you won't be able to refold it
no matter how smart you are.

So forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can,
pull over and have a picnic with a pig.
And if you can help it,
never fly as cargo."

Well said, Kermit, well said.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cyber Bullying

I promise you, I did not make this separate blog page simply to bitch about things that cross my mind. I had fully planned on writing a post about my weekend spent with the boyfriend and my sister in Roanoke. However, something was brought to my attention tonight and I need to write about it.

Do you remember the days when Facebook required a college email address in order to create an account? Do you remember when Facebook was fun and provided an easy way to keep in touch? Lately there has been a new favorite hobby for people: Cyber Bullying. We have heard about it for a while now. I am pretty sure most of us can name at least 3 celebrities who have filmed a commercial warning people about the dangers of cyber bullying, etc. Unfortunately it seems to be getting worse. There are various Facebook pages regarding different areas on our little peninsula outing people for certain sexual adventures. Because Facebook only requires people to have an email address, it is simple for anyone to make a page...regardless of what the page is about. I became aware of these pages after a great number of my friends friend requested them.

Here's how it works: You put in the name of the Facebook page (Example-A particular town Cheaters), you can inbox the owner of the site and have them write about someone. Then the site owner writes the name of the person plus whatever adventure they want the internet world to know about. Basically it says, First & Last name slept with First & Last name while dating First & Last name at Name of Location, Name of STD, and a variety of adjectives describing the people involved.

Why does this bother me? They are not talking about me. It is none of my business. Isn't that how we should feel? We all like to turn a blind eye to such inappropriate behavior, right? (Even though it does not stop us from gossiping about it....) What happens when the ten year old girl reads the information that is being said about her? How is she supposed to face her peers at school come September? Talk about the reputation she will have! If we all sit back and say, "I just want to see what the gossip is" and not alert anyone about the seriousness of this, will we be OK when this little girl commits suicide because of the bullying she is receiving? Don't people watch the news? Growing up is difficult enough (coming from a girl who had gum put in her hair  & my pictures destroyed by a girl who didn't like me because her boyfriend asked me to prom....) Why should we sit back and allow for some immature asshole to ruin reputations and self esteems?

Instead of Friend Requesting these horrible pages, shouldn't we report them to Facebook? Shouldn't we TRY to stop the unnecessary bullying? Wouldn't we want someone to protect our children from such behavior?  Report them.

I have.

...I know one thing, I am glad I am not a teenager anymore. I would take gum in my hair any day over the craziness that goes on in the school systems now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Falling Home

"He said it was okay to be chasing the rainbow's end, 
as long as I always remembered where the rainbow started."

When I left for college, I swore I would never move back to this small peninsula with its slow moving traffic, and even slower acceptance of things they don't believe are just right. I stood my ground, too. I graduated from college, lived a crazy life in Richmond, then headed south to Roanoke, Virginia, to live with my guy. I was never tied to a place. If B (otherwise known as Mr. Spots on the melanoma blog) had said, "Hey Chels, let's move to Florida!" I would have jumped online, found a job and a place to live, and told my family to visit often. In a way, I was a bit of a gypsy in terms of my ability to move without reason.

Then because life is just a bitch sometimes, I got diagnosed melanoma and emotionally, financially, and physically I needed to be home with my family. I thought I would automatically hate it. I had been away for almost 7 years. I still had one extremely close girlfriend here, but honestly, I was not in contact with many of the people who still lived here. As a girl who is used to a fairly busy social life, I expected to be lonely and bored. And I was...for the first week. 

The great (and worst) thing about a small town is that no matter how long you are away, you can come home and rebuild friendships with people. You may not have even known them personally when you lived here, but you knew of them. It is almost impossible to meet a true stranger here. Around the time I started associating with people from my past, I began reading this book by Karen White. It is about a woman who, after a near tragic event, heads back to her hometown. The main character is named Cassie, and on her father's death bed, he tells her, "You can go to the moon, Cassandra Lee Madison, but this place, these people, will always run in your blood. You can't get away from it, so you might as well come home." The more I think about that one line, the more I realize it is true. This place, for all of its faults, jumped right in to support me and my family when word got around about my health issues. There were prayers, phone calls, cards, and visits. They did not care that they did not know me personally. They knew my family, I was considered to be "one of them." They felt no need to be selfish with their love and support. We have been so blessed and grateful.

Now that I am here, I have questioned if I should stay. Some would argue it makes more sense financially to live with my family while I get back on my feet. Others would argue that I need to get back to my old life, and my faithful boyfriend, in Roanoke. In the book, Cassie says, "I won't be blackmailed into staying here. And I'm not going to think about any of that now---but I do know that whatever decision I make, it will be made of my own free will." Sounds familiar. Everyone has an opinion, I realize that. I also realize that everyone thinks their opinion is the best. Unfortunately for them, I tend to be stubborn. If I make a decision based solely on what other people think I should do, I will be resentful. And let me warn you, when I am feeling resentful, I am not an easy person to be around. 

I know my decision. It was not an easy one to make. In Falling Home White writes, "Sometimes you have to reach deep down in your heart and decide what road you're going to take. And all choices involve some sort of sacrifice. But in the end, you know whether or not you made the right decision." I know that the decision I am making is going to cost me. I realize there are times when I will question myself. I also know that short term sacrifices benefit in the long run. 

Maybe, like Cassie, I just needed a major life crisis to fall back where I belong... least for now.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not Just Melanoma

Since I have decided the chance of ever getting Kathy Lee Gifford's job is unlikely, I figured I would start doing what I truly enjoy: Writing. When I was diagnosed with melanoma (read blog here) I began using the blog as my online diary. It tracks every appointment, every interesting news article, every fear, and every minor bitch session. Not only is it a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy, it introduced me to people all around the world who can relate to my situation. 

Although melanoma makes up a great deal of my thoughts, I have decided that I need to get back to living my life as a 24 year old female. Although I have no intention of ending my other blog, I see no reason why I should not begin another that is not entirely focused on my journey with the evil black beast, melanoma. 

I forgot how much I love to write. Who says I have to simply write about melanoma? Well, no one. But, I do not want to mix up my crazy life (read--crazy opinions about life) into a blog that has been so personal. Instead, I will use this blog to write about what ever pops in my head. I tend to read a lot, and I always wish I could discuss certain parts of books with people. Although my boyfriend listens, I am sure he could not care less about a line in Elizabeth Gilbert's book that really makes me ponder life. 

So, I have no true idea what direction this blog will take. 

But, isn't that the exciting part?