everything is different

August 24, 2015

I used to be Gwen F***ing Edwards.

Nothing I couldn’t accomplish with hard work and determination.

My friend SKA once told me that if there were ever some sort of apocalyptic scenario in which civilization needed to be rebuilt, he would choose me to start said civilization with because he believed I could do anything.  Not only could I do anything, but I could do it with joy in my heart and a joke on my tongue.

I had big dreams.  I would seek them, conquer them and then dream bigger.

I look in the mirror today and I see no trace of that woman.

Everything is different.

The goals were:

Write a Pulitzer Prize winning play.

Adopt as many children that needed good homes as I could support.

Hike the AT and the PCT.

Sing on the Grand ‘Ol Opry.

Build a home in the woods with a boy who loved me so much he wanted to spend his whole life with me.

Etc.

The goals have become:

Write down a handful of family antecdotes so my nieces can remember me.

Hold the babies my beloved friends and family are having while I’m strong enough.

Get out of bed.  Take a walk.

Sing silly songs with my nieces.

Pass comfortably in my own home, embracing that it is better to leave while no one is in love with me and left with the burden of heartache.

Etc.

These lowered self expectations aren’t the only differences.

My body is different.  My once soft, weighted breasts are now floating, unmoving mounds that I seem to accept less and less every day, feeling like these are just two more reasons why I find myself partnerless.  My once flat tummy is plagued with a post-menopausal bump.  A bump that I find beautiful on women who have one as a result of giving birth to their children, but on me only serves as a reminder that my womb was prematurely ripped from my body.  (And no amount of yoga or clean eating reduces the size of cursed bump, by the way.)  My once gorgeous, long, blonde hair that turned heads at bars has fallen out three times now.  I see girls jogging around town and I find myself filled with envy over thier swaying ponytails, the soft heavy locks they brush everyday, the braids that fall down their backs, the feeling they must get as they toss the silky ends over their shoulders when flirting… knowing I’ll never have that feeling again.

The shape of my life is different.  I once was someone involved in as many things as I possibly could be.  I looked forward to 15 hour work days.  I ran 4-6 miles 5 days a week.  I loved pushing myself harder than I thought I could go; challenging myself everyday to live fuller, create more, love harder.  Now I mostly crave couch time so I don’t get too tired.  Drinking my tea.  Reading on my porch swing. Watching from the sidelines as my friends and siblings fully come into their own, sculpting their dreams into realities, while I release my own dreams…. allowing them to float away so that I may remain content.

And there’s no Omie.

There’s just no Omie.  So I never actually feel home.

Ugh.  Boo-hoo.  What an effing pity party I’ve just thrown for myself.

My point is, really, that now I’m just gwen.  And that’s okay.  There’s something wonderful about letting go of everything that doesn’t allow for peace to permeate; something beautiful about accepting that everything in this life is temporary.

But Gwen F***ing Edwards grapples with accepting just gwen.

I recently had a wonderfully difficult and honest conversation with an amazing group of human beings. (Fayetteville, I love you.  Thank you for being home to so many amazing human beings that embrace and care for me.)

At the heart of the conversation surfaced the thought: isn’t it the point to get to this place?

Yes, absolutely, what is lost must be grieved.  But since life is transient, since the whole of human existance will continue with or without a single individual, since nothing we do as humans is truly lasting… isn’t the hope to transcend all earthly goals and to exist in the place where you find joy in each mundane moment?   Where all that matters is the love you can be each second?

So what the goals have become… holding my friends’ children, singing with my nieces, silently watching sunsets with only the presence of God, being present in each moment without worry or a list of pressure-filled tasks… are actually more valuable and ambitious than what the goals were.

Is this the next level of living life fully with risk and abandon?

End cancer: the sequel, chapter 7.

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