The C Word

Cancer.

It is a word we hear all of the time. Everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer. It comes in multiple forms, multiple stages. It affects people of all ages, genders, ethnicities- it does not discriminate. It claims the lives of so many. Yet, it is a word that you can easily become desensitized to.

I have always been aware of how scary cancer is. People in my stratosphere have lost their battles with it, but I was lucky enough to be removed from it. My family has dealt with a lot of obstacles, but cancer seemed to keep its distance from us.

Then, in August of last year, my Granny was diagnosed with cancer And all of a sudden the weight of cancer, the scariness and sadness of it all, finally hit me with full force. My Facebook loving, poetry writing, 69 year old grandma-who I never worried about, who was never sick, who I just assumed would be around forever- had cancer. And 2 weeks after her diagnosis,she was dead. She passed away in her sleep while I laid 3 feet away from her.

And then cancer become a constant on my mind. Everyday when I thought of  my Granny, I thought of cancer. I thought of this fucking disease that I naively thought my family had dodged.

But like all wounds, time slowly heals. And you start to think of the hurt a bit less. And hours turn into days. And you realize that life will go on, but life won’t be the same.

Life is a roller coaster though, and every high is met with a low. My low? Finding out last month that my 49 year old father has stage 4 colon cancer.

It is one thing to lose a grandparent, but the pain and sadness you feel when losing a parent is in a whole other world. And let me tell you, this new world I am living on is crushing me.

My dad and I have had a difficult relationship. The first 18 years we shared were rough. He was not in a good place, and his ability to be a healthy, loving parent were inhibited. But, once I grew up and went to college, I was able to see my dad for what he was and accept that. No longer was I holding him up to unrealistic expectations of how a dad “should” be. Instead, I took what I had and made the best of it. And it worked. And he and I were able to be ok. And I slowly stopped fixating on the things we missed out on, and focused on the great things we would get to experience as the years went on. But now, I have been robbed of that opportunity. I think of all of the experiences that my Granny is going to miss out on and have to add my dad to that list, too.

I am so sad. A sadness I never knew I could feel. A sadness that eats away at my core. He is sick and is scared and is ruined and there is nothing I can do to fix it. All I can do is call him, make him a sandwich, and tell him I love him. But that is not enough.

As I pushed him in a wheelchair this past weekend, I wished the roles were reversed. I wished it was me and not him. I wished I could take it all away. And this isn’t because I am noble or selfless.

I wished I was the sick one because I don’t know how I am ever going to be ok after he is gone.

 

My little turtle shell

April 30. The second Saturday in a row in which I have stayed in bed for the entirety of the day.

Heavenly? Sure.

Or maybe it is a result of exhaustion, depression, boredom, loneliness, shitty weather, etc. I am trying not to analyze my sense of “do nothing-ness.”

I had no plans last night. No plans for today. Being 23 and in a city like Chicago, this hermit-like itinerary definitely goes against the grain. I probably should be going out and dancing and living my life. But the life I like to live involves me being in pajamas at 2:27 PM on a weekend, with no true obligations on the horizon.

Yesterday, I compared myself to a turtle with only room for me in my shell. A co-worker then said, “well, you could always get a bigger shell.” But I don’t want to. I have gone out. I have tried Tinder, Bumble, being set up by friends. No one has knocked my socks off, and I apparently haven’t been the bee’s knees either. Hence the reason why I sit here, alone. And the longer that I sit here alone, the more comfortable I become being a party of one. And the more comfortable I become as a party of one, the harder it becomes for me to see my life filled with love and a family. Sad? Maybe. Truthful? Absolutely. I have always envied couples who have been married for 50+ years, lamenting over the idea of high school sweethearts turned to life partners and how I will never have that. But as I get older, and as I have seen the man I called “Papa” claim to be heartbroken over the death of his wife of 50 years, ex-communicate himself from our family, and marry a woman 2 months after my Granny died of cancer, I am realizing maybe these people weren’t ever in love. Maybe they married out of necessity. Maybe they married because it was convenient.

I am sure true love exists for some, but those people are far and few in between. As for the rest, I truly believe that they partner up because it is hard to be alone. It is jarring and cold and vacant. I get why people would want to latch on to someone else. But as I sit here, by myself, I realize that I would rather it be this way than have someone in bed next to me whom my gut warns against.

So I will live my life as just one. And maybe, just maybe I’ll eventually get my socks knocked off, but believe me when I say I’ll never force it. My turtle shell for one is far too cozy.

5 years

It has been over 2 months since I last blogged… woah. I guess my writing absence has been due to the fact that I am tired (I picked up a morning nanny job a little over a month ago which means I am up at 4:50 AM and don’t get home until about 6:30 PM, Monday-Friday), but also due to the fact that I felt a little dried up when it comes to what I wanted to talk about. I started this blog in 2011 when I was a freshman in college. It was a nice way for my family (specifically my mom and Granny) to stay tuned in to what I was doing. Then it evolved into a way for me to process my feelings and admit to the world who I really am with the safety of hiding behind a computer screen. This blog has seen me through homesickness, friendships, loss of friends, stress, body image issues, love, heartbreak, family woes, moving, growing up, death, and what it means to be alive in this day and age. It has become an escape and a release.

Now, 5 years later, I am 23 years old. In some ways I am still who I was when I first started the blog. I am still over anxious. I still have friends that are amazing (and that I sometimes feel undeserving of). I am still worried that I will never meet “the one.”

In some ways I am different. I have gotten a pretty good grip on my depression and no longer feel like the world is crashing down all around me on the daily. I don’t obsess over my weight incessantly. And, I have lost my number one blog fan (Granny) and have been changed in the way that only a huge loss can cause.

Ultimately though, 5 years later and I am ok. Everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows but I am content. My life is good, and in some ways it is what I dreamed it would be as a scared freshman at MU. I still am in utter disbelief that I am already 23, but if I have learned anything in the past year, it is that your life can change in a minute. So I am trying to embrace the now. That doesn’t mean I don’t think about who and where I will be in the next 5 years. I have dreams, I have wishes, and I have moral obligations. The combination of them could lead me anywhere.

What I do know is that the people I love and who love me will forever remain the same, and that constant is all I could hope for at 23. So, if you love me- thank you. You’ll never truly understand how much you have filled my heart.

And if you read this because you care about me, thank you. I think the world would be a much better place if we all showed a little interest in one another’s well-being.

Here’s to hoping for 5 more years,

 

xoxo.

 

 

 

 

 

30 more years

I just read in the newest edition of Glamour that women suffer from the “U” syndrome. This means that our happiness slowly dips in our 20s and continues to plummet through our 40s (making up the bottom curve of a “U”) and then hits an upswing in your 50s. This scared the shit out of me. As someone who has struggled with finding constant happiness and consistently answers “happy” to the question, what do you want to be when you grow up?, I don’t think waiting another 30 years for happiness is going to work for me.

I get it though. Happiness is so fucking hard. Today was a perfect example of that. I was having a good Monday. My coffee was sweet enough, I was wearing a cute outfit, and had a gift from a thoughtful co-worker waiting in front of my office door when I walked into work. That all changed though after my boss made a snide comment to me in our weekly staff meeting. Most people can shrug off the negativity, but I can’t. One of my biggest flaws is my sensitivity. Her comment made me so worked up that another co-worker asked me if I was ok; I was that physically distraught because someone said something mean to me. And this is why I know I too am a sufferer of the aforementioned “U” syndrome. Because I can be having a great day and encounter one shitty little thing and BOOM, day ruined and happiness depleted to 0%. And then I go to bed and hope that tomorrow will be different. But it never is. Because people are shitty. And life puts you in shitty situations constantly. So, how does one uber sensitive person get over that? How can I not let it affect my life? How can I prevent it from keeping happiness a distant dream for another few decades?

I hate that there are so many sucky people. I hate that I have probably been said sucky person on countless occasions. And I hate that one of my greatest strengths (caring so very much) is also one of my biggest downfalls. The world would be a much better place if we all cared a bit too much, if we all wore our hearts on our sleeves, if we remembered that souls are delicate things, but the chances of everyone becoming hyper-aware to other’s emotions is slim to none. So I am seriously at a loss,

In a world full of crummy situations and rude human beings, how does one sensitive soul find utter happiness in everyday life?

 

 

 

 

 

Sam I Am

Just because I don’t have abs or have never been out of the country or have had one serious boyfriend or am not in a fancy apartment or am some speaker of 6 languages doesn’t mean that I am not enough.

Ever since moving to Chicago, a place that is more diverse than any place I ever lived in before, I have felt like maybe all those times someone told me I was special were a lie. That I was a big fish in a tiny pond. Fuck that. That is not fair to the places I have lived, and it surely isn’t fair to me.

I have gone on a few Tinder dates (because I seriously do not think relationships happen organically anymore) and I have encountered men who make me feel like I am losing the life race. After talking about my friends on a date, one man had the balls to tell me that I was “losing” because I wasn’t engaged and my life must be sad being the third wheel to my girlfriends.

Yeah, it does suck sometime, but I would rather be ALONE than with an asshole like that. I get so caught up in how my life is supposed to be based on comparisons to the lives of others. But their path isn’t my path. I am still figuring out my life, and I am tired of feeling like I am behind because I am not doing what everyone else is doing. Yes, I have no clue what my life holds and I get scared and sad, but that should never make me feel unworthy. Because I am not. And neither is anyone else.

Life is hard enough as is, so why should I make it harder by shitting all over myself? I am saying a huge “screw you” to anyone who tries to make me feel lesser. I am who I am and that isn’t going to change, nor should it.

 

 

 

bye 2015

I am supposed to be finishing my graduate school app right now, but instead I am re-living parts of my life through the selection of certain songs because I am Hannah, and no matter how old I get, I will always be a Grade A procrastinator.

Isn’t it amazing how many memories can come flooding back to you with the play of one 3 minute song. How we can suddenly relive very vivid memories by listening to a simple chorus? It’s magical and raw and wonderful.

In some ways I want to do everything I can to relive 2015 and in some ways I want to erase it from my memory. The whole “every action garners an equal and opposite reaction” thing rang true this year. I graduated college! I got a job that was perfect for me! I moved to Chicago! But my Granny unexpectedly died. And my whole family’s structure instantly crumbled to a pile of rubble that I don’t think can ever be rebuilt. And I constantly feel like my head is spinning.

2015 was definitely not mundane, and if I could have one wish for what 2016 brings, I ask for stability. I have done the whole roller coaster thing and now just want an easy ride. I know life doesn’t tend to work like that, but I pray that maybe this year will be calmer. I hope to become more familiar and comfortable with my new city and job while continuing on this journey to become the best me that I can be. I could wish for true love or a pile of money or a six pack, but I really just want a happy normalcy.

I have spent the past 22 years constantly running, and it would be a welcome change to just sit back and enjoy my early 20s. I have realized just how fast the years can pass by, and I want to actively cherish every moment I am a part of.

 

 

 

I’m not your next Carrie Bradshaw

I’ve hit the 2 month mark of living in the city.

I’ve only taken public transportation once. I have yet to see the bean. And I have not fallen madly in love with a Cubs player. Am I failing at being a Windy City citizen? Probably.

I have realized that I have taken counter space for granted my entire life, and next time I go home, I will cook all of the things just because I have room to do so.

I have realized that people here aren’t as receptive to squeals about how cute their dogs are when they’re on a walk.

I have realized by the amount of groceries I get in one trip that I probably scream country bumpkin instead of the other chic grocery store customers that will only buy wine, brie, nice crackers, and a pineapple and call it a day.

I have considered using the website “MeetUp” to make friends since smiling at strangers is getting me nowhere.

I have realized that I am nowhere near as stylish as I thought I was.

I have realized that I need to spend more time on hobbies that aren’t “snacking in bed.”

I have realized just how expensive this city is.

I have realized that I might need reasons other than adult human interaction to commit to graduate school.

I have realized that I am willing to fit a litter box in my tiny apartment just to have something to love.

 

And finally, I have realized that I miss people who know me/get me, that this whole adult shit is hard, and maybe Sex and the City put unrealistic expectations of city living in my head.

Oy vey.