Daily Delights

For weeks M and I have been anxiously awaiting the ripening of our cherries. We are both new to the several fruit trees that we inherited when we moved into our current house, so we were not sure when the time was right. Pick them too soon and they are small and sour, but pick them too late and risk zero salvageable fruit thanks to the constant squirrel and bird assaults. A sudden, fierce summer storm blew through and severed most of the healthy cherries from the tree. As often happens in life, nature took care of herself without our intervention. We simply collected the cherries that had fallen to the ground and a few that were left clinging to the tree. This solidified my preferred method of gardening and growing: let nature do her thang as she knows better than I because she’s been doing this for eons. It’s a small but sweet crop.

This not only brought me unbridled delight, it also served as a sorely needed universe lesson. A few weeks ago I wrote about seeing everything through the red lens of cancer. This experience showed me that seeing things in red is not necessarily a bad thing. Red is also vibrant and powerful. Red is summer cherries ripening in the tree. Red are my cheeks as my low energy supply is happily depleted from gardening and supporting life as it blossoms. Red is forever painted on my thigh in hopes of reminding me of not only my strength but the collective strength of womxn, the divine feminine, and humanity in general. Red might just be my color after all.

Kindly,

Maegan

Advertisements

This is a working title

Every day I try to find the delights in being alive in this body, in my very human experience. But there are some days in which I grow weary of the search for gratitude and positivity.

The dizzying dichotomies are overwhelming. I get tired of sleeping all day. I feel exhausted walking from one end of a room to another. Some days I cannot bear to swallow so many fucking pills. Some days I want to take my anti nausea pills all day and not be conscious because I can’t stand the world in such a raw form. Lights are too bright, sounds are too loud, smells make me literally want to run away. This often chains me to the bed which has been both comforting and utterly confining.

But then my cat will pop up with his toy in tow for me to throw. Or a butterfly will land in my line of sight. Or I’ll unexpectedly receive a sweet note in the mail. Simple, wonderful things will happen, and after my first reaction of fighting the joy, my gratitude and positivity will inevitably resume.

Is that what they call “sitting with it”? If so, I can sit with the best of them.

Maegan

Through the Cancer Lens

It’s been a month since I’ve posted, for those of you keeping up. Since then, I’ve been collecting my thoughts and find myself with a lot to say. Since then, I had major surgery and one round of chemo. Since then, I have not been able to view my life without the cancer lens. All thoughts first are filtered through the cancer lens which is red in my imagination. Shocking, unmistakable, indelible. Like should I make long-term plans? Am I going to die? What do I actually believe happens after we die? Should I be soaking in every breeze on a warm day? Should I subject my body to more chemo? How does one “live with cancer”? I don’t think I know the answer to that yet, to any of these.

Cause, y’all, it’s awful. Not as awful or soul-wrenching as you see in movies. Well, not yet at least. Chemo is cumulative so it will make me much weaker, ralph more, eat less, and have that perma-metallic taste in my mouth. Oh and the mouth sores. And the hair falling out on my pillow, the couch, in the shower, in moments I do not want to be reminded of my illness. I can’t tell if it’s more taxing on my body or my spirit. Eight more months of chemo. One more major surgery, just like the one I had in April. How does one continue on knowing that’s the prognosis? So far, I just kind of do. I’m not back to work yet. I’ve been passing the time with puzzles that frustrate me, serial killer documentaries that I probably should not be watching before bed time, and ignoring a lot of things. Ignoring the constant nausea. Ignoring the multitude of vitamins that are healing but also one of the hardest parts of my day: swallowing thousands of IUs or whatever they’re called a day. Three times a day. Ignoring the growing pile of thank you cards that I have yet to send. Oh, lord, don’t even get me started on the vegan, no sugar diet which I was prescribed.

I hate to complain, friends. I have so much light and hope that my support system keeps instilling in me when it has left my eyes and spirit. My first round of chemo was not as bad as I’ve seen with family members, loved ones, friends, etc. I have a surgeon and a treatment team that I trust implicitly with my life and my future. I’m learning to plan around my chemo symptoms. I’m learning that if I don’t drink three liters of water a day, I’m going to feel like absolute shit the next day. I’m learning that there is so much goodness and grace in this world and in people. But everything I’m learning is soaked in the red cancer filter. Will I learn to remove that lens with time?

Here’s to learning to live with cancer and all the other maladies and trauma humans live with every day. Aren’t humans wonderfully resilient? I hope to be as resilient as I know humankind can be.

Thanks for letting me share my stream of consciousness.

Kindly,

Maegan

Ovarian Cancer Part Deux

So the cancer is back. I went for a doctors appointment today and was immediately admitted to the hospital for surgery this morning. They will be removing my lone ovary left after the last time I had cancer in 2015, my uterus, some lymph nodes, the tumors, and possibly a kidney.

This means I will never have my own child. I will never hold a baby in my arms after getting to know its every move for nine months. I will never get to smell the top of their baby head. I’ll never get to know if they would have had my eyes, legs, or my penchant for stubbornness. I will never be able to NOT have a gender reveal party and insist that the baby clothes and accessories are not gendered. I will never get to carry on the Mary’s, biologically anyways. I’ve recently been wondering if I wanted to birth a child and now that it’s not going to be an option after 10:30 AM this morning, I think I took my child bearing years for granted. I don’t have time to grieve for the babies I could have had. What could have been. It’s not going to be.

I’ll have to endure chemo when this is all over. I’ll lose my hair, lots of weight, and my ability to not ralph up all food ever. I’m hoping that is all I will lose in this process.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Send me all the good vibes, mojo, magic, etc. you can spare cause ya girl needs it the most right now.

Warmly,

Maegan

Overcoming My Negative Self-Talk

The weather has just been glorious in Colorado Springs for the past week. So when M and I went to brunch, I wanted to show off some of my new warm-weather clothes that I had only been wearing around the house with sweat pants (I coined the term “sweat pant chic” in college cause ya girl lived in sweats, even in the sweltering Oklahoma summers).

As I put this outfit together and tried it on, my heart sank to my stomach. I did not look like the traditional idea of American beauty. I loved the outfit but couldn’t get over the feeling of a breeze on my tummy and my back. I felt so exposed. Physically and emotionally. It felt too wild for little ol’ me to wear, especially after months and months of sweaters, boots, and cold weather gear. But as soon as I recognized this feeling, I just said, “Fuck it.” Fuck the idea that thin women are healthier. Fuck the idea that people in large bodies should not wear crop tops. Fuck the idea that women deserve to be cat-called, sexually assaulted, etc. because of revealing clothes like these. Fuck the negative self-talk which is my same narrative, old story. But this time, I fought it. After chanting my mantra to myself, “our weight is not our worth”, I felt ready to take on brunch with my tummy and huge cancer scar showing, traditional beauty standards be damned!

I did so well through brunch even when a couple with dogs started talking to us about Atticus (cause he’s just so damn cute and polite in public). I was so proud of myself until an old friend appeared with her girlfriend and the cutest puppy in tow, all of whom were so stylish and chic. Even their dog had a fashionable harness/leash situation. I was not prepared to let people I know see my outfit/exposed body. I was not prepared to stand up and expose myself to people I care about. I was awkward through the whole interaction, and it’s solely because I was thinking about how my body looked to my friends. I remember that my body immediately went into the I’m not taking up much space posture. You know the one, shoulders rounded, back hunched, eyes down, don’t look at me. It took me several minutes afterwards to regain my composure, to again be comfortable with taking up space, and to rescue my “fuck off, I look damn good” attitude.

There’s something deeply satisfying about the “fuck off” attitude in the face of self doubt. Have you tried it instead of falling into the dark pit of negative self-talk? It’s working wonders for me not giving a shit about what other people think of me and my body.

Daily Delights

I have wanted a Roomba for about four years now but have been dissuaded by the exorbitant price tag. As a pet owner of more than two, our house needs a good sweep almost every day to keep up with the hair and the little particles. So when this vacuum cleaning robot went on sale for $99 for one day only, I jumped on it. Malcolm, who gravitates toward all things technology/robotic/mechanical, loves it and follows this little guy around the house. If Deebot is there, Malcolm won’t be far behind with a huge smile on his face. That’s what he was doing when I snapped this shot. It brings me joyous delight when he refers to it as “Beebop” “Deebo” or “Beebo”, especially when he drops something on the floor and suddenly yells “Beebop!” Though I don’t love it as much as Malcolm does, I am forever walking around the house barefoot thanking Deebot for keeping the vexing clumps of hair and debris off the floors. The animals love it even less (you can see Taluah and Jackson in the back eyeing it suspiciously here), but this little guy is here to stay!

Daily Delights

There are some mornings when coffee doesn’t cut it. Coffee doesn’t automatically make me want to clean, go to work, or do anything really. But it helps with the get up and go. On this particular morning, we had a day of housework ahead of us. Instead of making an additional pot of coffee, we decided to go for a walk. It was such a refreshing change to our weekend morning routine. And it gave me energy to check off things on our to do list. Admittedly, we did not finish our to dos but we did make a sizable dent that helped me continue to clean throughout the early part of this week. How simple a twenty minute walk with the dog is but it made a huge difference and set my mood for the rest of the weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Maegan

Update on My Intuitive Eating Sojourn

Alright y’all, it’s time to check in about my intuitive eating experience so far. Spoiler alert: it’s so overwhelmingly positive. And weird. And messy. All at the same time.

When I first cracked open Tribole and Resch’s Intuitive Eating Workbook, I had no idea what to expect. I am often skeptical of “workbooks” because I tend to find them trite, inauthentic, and purely theoretical with no obvious real world application. This began with that exact tone. The first exercise is the “handwriting metaphor exercise”. Are you rolling your eyes cause I am for sure. Thankfully I did not have to wait long to get to the juicy stuff. The authors designed an assessment to allow you to objectively reflect on one’s beliefs and habits around food, diets, and internal body cues. This is the point at which I realized some of the inherent messages I’ve received and how I’ve interpreted them in daily practice around food.

Some beliefs I didn’t even realize I held, like “I trust my body to tell me when/what/how much to eat”. When I really thought about it, I became very anxious at the thought of allowing my body to dictate the time, type, and amount of food. I imagined that I would get my hooks into some “bad” food and never be able to stop. To my great surprise, that is the opposite of what is actually happening a month into this journey. And might I add that the introduction to diet culture, the research, the data that actually shows that people who diet regularly tend to weigh more than their counterparts who do not diet. Um…what? It’s true, friends. It’s also true that a diet is the only product on the market that is held blameless when it fails — instead, the blame is put on us. MIND BLOWN. Just that bit of information shook off some of the weight of diet culture (pun intended) that I’ve been carrying around since I was a child. 

I’ve been practicing the very thing that baffled me at the onset: giving over what I thought of as control to the start of trusting my body to tell me what it needs. Folx, this shit actually works. Today was the first day that I thought maybe I actually CAN trust my body to tell me what, when, and how much to eat. At first I felt very unsure of my footing. Take out my ever present voice telling me I shouldn’t eat carbs, I shouldn’t eat sugar, I shouldn’t eat fast food, I shouldn’t eat past 8 PM, etc. for perpetuity, and I can trust my body for the first time in my life. I did not gorge myself on donuts or cookies, or fries. When I would normally eat two half stale cookies during meetings and trainings (because that’s the socially acceptable number according to these rules I didn’t even know I had) I glanced at the cookies and decided not to get one. I was also offered some of my favorite chocolate ever, Hello Dove’s, and I turned that down too. In such a natural, my body doesn’t want that right now, way. It was a liberating experience to honor my hunger and ignore the thoughts that said “you get only two cookies, so make them count”. When I didn’t limit myself to two cookies, I realized that I didn’t even want them. I don’t even like those damn Wal-Mart hard cookies. But when I told myself I can’t have that, or I can only have a certain amount, I would always choose the self imposed limit. Every time. Because I gave myself unconditional permission to eat whatever my body wants, whenever my body wants it, I turned down the opportunity to eat something that never really satisfied me. I knew I could reach for a cookie later if I wanted. So I didn’t want it.

Some may read that and think, OMG I want to do that plan so I can curb my need for x (insert “bad” food here), but dear reader, I would tell you that it’s not about restriction or limits or control. It’s about digging into our pasts, shoveling out the toxic diet culture inner voice and cultivating cues our bodies are giving us every day, several times a day. A cookie did not sound good, so I did not eat it. How simple yet profound is that?  

I’ll keep you updated!

Maegan

Daily Delights

The weather in Colorado Springs has just been gorgeous for the past few days, so we’ve spent a lot of time outside, obviously. Malcolm just bought clippers to give Attie an at home shave, which cost at home prices. Winning! We’ve tried to shave him once before in Malcolm’s tiny apartment with some old shears. That was a long, fairly awful experience. He just has so. much. hair. This time we were outside enjoying the sunshine when we decided to try again. This time was a pleasure. Atticus laid his body weight on me while Malcolm shaved. Attie was so comfy that he almost fell asleep in my arms. It was delightfully adorable and made my heart melt. Ugh. That dog. Oh and one of the best parts about it? We saved some moolah! Can’t get better than that. I did get an intense sunburn on my back and shoulders, but it was worth it.

Maegan

Daily Delights

This weekend was the first weekend warm enough to spend time outside. In desperate need of Vitamin D, M and I turned our flower beds/garden, did some much needed pruning, and relocating some iris bulbs. We brought all of the animals and potted plants outside for some sunshine as well. They were out there until the sun began to set. After watering them inside, I put my plant babies back in their homes. When I did that, I noticed that each plant had visibly stretched out. I could almost feel the relief of the plants to finally get some sun so they can make food. When I checked them today, I was exuberant when I noticed newly emerged buds on healthy stems. They are also a more vibrant shade of green. This plant lady thing is a lot of fun when you don’t have plants dying on you left and right 🙂

I hope you can find a small delight to relish today!

Maegan