Husband just went to bed, but I’m full of energy right now. So, I thought, there’s no time like the present to start digging into the website and get the content flowing. But, because I’m so deeply inside my own head at all times, instead of pulling out the chromebook and typing, I dug in deeper.
My brain never stops, I’m positive that is why I’m up right now typing this when the wise and smart people around me are comfortable in their beds. I’m afraid of routine – another subject entirely. But, it’s all a part of me. Routine means boring. Routine means there is no room for spontaneity. But “sick” AK has taken this too far. I feel afraid of any routine at this point, no matter how rational or normal. A routine bedtime? Hell, sleeping in a bed? I’m in no way condoning this way of life. Yes, I can find an acceptable reason to smoke whenever I please, but this is no life. Some routine is a VERY good thing. I’ve been to the dark side; I’ve seen the darkest timeline.
It took the following line of thinking before I could open the computer that was less than 2 feet away. Not even in the other room. Trust me, I definitely could have come up with a lazy excuse not to get it from the other room. But, I only had to move ONE arm to get the computer.
Instead of acting, like a normal human would do. Slightly depressed, introvert me thought about this.
I should write, I did commit to doing it everyday. But, I suck at commitment. This would only be life thing 2 billion that you said you’d do, but didn’t. I then, briefly, followed the next line of thinking that every anxious and self-conscious person will instantly recognize. Listing, in order, all the major life things I’ve thought about, wanted to do, planned to do, etc. but I NEVER actually did. Quickly realized this was not a hole I was willing to fall down into tonight. Way too emotionally draining for this moment.
I couldn’t completely abandon the worthless feelings so instead I started to think about what is actually causing this. Why don’t I carry through with things, almost anything, honestly. I’m amazing at talking a good game. My passion always shines through, which is what sells it, I think. But, I’m also amazing at coming up with really good excuses as to why I didn’t accomplish that goal. Why didn’t I fulfill my goal of finishing my vocal performance degree? The excuses go on forever. I didn’t want to teach. I lost some of my passion for it. Came to my senses; need to get a “real” degree. All of that’s a little true, which is why the outward lies are easiest. But, really, it was a hell of a lot harder than I thought it would be. Music came so easily to me that I never really had to try. Then, suddenly, I was around other good people who were so talented AND tried really hard. I wasn’t ready to step up to that level. Maybe that does mean I wasn’t passionate enough to stop merely coasting. All of school was the same way. I did well enough. I was smart enough. But, I never really tried, at all. I have always had such big dreams, but when actually faced with making them happen, I’m completely happy being the B student. Shows someone who I know what’s going on, I do absorb things, but it also allows me to not change my lifestyle in any real way.
This train of thought quickly led me to thinking about non-education related things that I have also failed at. There are so many things that I like the idea of but I’m just unwilling to act. I can plan up a storm. I know, exactly, what should be done, when, and how. I research, design, everything. I see the value, I know the value, but I just don’t do it. Every single challenge comes down to that final moment and I. Just. Don’t. Act. From small trivial things to huge, overarching, life-altering decisions.
I’m so afraid that I’m just following that loop again, right now. I want to change my life. I’m ready to change my life. I’m done being the sick girl. I’m done being the shy, introverted girl that’s passed over and, easily, forgotten. The girl that can talk a big game, but will always, in the end, fail to follow through – but with a great story. I can, literally, excuse anything. Always.
Is that all this cancer, transplant, and now, graft v host just another excuse? Could I be working, back at work, in-office, full-time? Do my legs really hurt this badly? Are my eyes flaring up just so this excuse can last longer? Could I be doing more, right now, to help my family? To be a normal human? Is that what I’m really afraid of? Having to be normal and having to do things like actually work again? Not get paid to sit on your butt, sleeping all the time, “recovering”? Normal people don’t get years off of work for an ongoing illness. So, why do I get to claim this? I just never feel sick enough OR well enough to function in society. I could always be doing more, I think. I know I’m not 100%, but is my 100% too high. Should I just suck it up and function at whatever level I’m at right now. I’m making things worse for everyone in my life by being sick, for this long. I couldn’t possibly be choosing this, right?
That, right there, is a pretty good life revelation, if I’ve ever seen one. But, not unexpectedly, that still wasn’t enough for me to get out of my head and pull out that computer.
So, the thought train continued down it’s long and winding tracks. Finally arriving at this gem, which, I think, sums me up perfectly. I am a B+ – and I mean this in all ways.
I’ve always been obsessed with school. The world of education is where I feel happy and at home. I love a big stack of books on a chilly fall day. But, I’m now realizing, I think I feel so comfortable there because I’m a B+. Yes, I’m exceedingly lucky for the educational opportunities that I’ve had. Don’t get me wrong. I was born with a strong auditory memory. When I hear something, I pretty much remember it. That, plus being a good test taker really have allowed me to coast. I’ve never tried particularly hard. Sure, I’ve crammed for a test, I always did just enough to get by. Sure an A was within reach, but that would require actual time and change. I could always excuse the B+. It’s above average, still, and I always lean toward harder courses. My parents could be proud of me. This way of thinking, though, is how I’ve handled everything in my life and why, when something finally does get too hard to simply coast I would find a graceful, and seemingly unrelated, way to exit stage left, and fast. Music – yes. Classes or career path – Absolutely. Everything? Yes, everything.
I started digging a little deeper and remembered a conversation with my dad about a month ago. I always just assumed I was type A, personality quiz-wise. It’s my planning and research skills, for my huge dreams with each and every step planned in advance, to my intense need to succeed, to be recognized as special, my competitive nature, never being satisfied with the right now – always wanting that next promotion, always what’s next. Next. Next.
Hell, it’s that assumption that has opened me up to yoga, mindfulness, and positivity (my choose happy philosophy – that I plan to write more about if all goes well with actually doing!). This assumption made me say that I recognize both my strengths and weaknesses. Coming to the realization that I need the strengthen my mind/body connection, I need meditation to maintain any sense of balance. I think it stems from realizing how much I’ve changed in the last few years. I feel like a shell of my former self. It feels like nothing is the same. This is amazing, but also tough. Just a different life, entirely.
But, it was on a phone call with dad where I simply laughed something off “because I’m type-A.” He stopped the flow completely and said matter-of-factly “no you’re not!”. I didn’t say it on the phone, but this was, honestly the first time in my whole life that this thought even crossed my mind. Could I possibly, really, actually NOT be type-A? Sure, I recognized my failings, and this was almost every part of me, cuts deep. I knew that I wasn’t a successful Type-A.
Is this simply changing my way of thinking? Looking at it positively instead of in the negative? I’ve always felt was the only way to look at anything. Anything that involved routine I failed at, this was not being good enough, strong enough, whatever to follow through on something. Just do it. You could have done this if you hadn’t been so lazy. How many parts of my life had I already messed up because I hadn’t followed through with something? I was a failing Type-A. It fit my way of thinking, that I was/am a failure.
SimplyPsychology.org defines a type-A personality as: A temperament characterized by excessive ambition, aggression, competitiveness, drive, impatience, need for control, focus on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency. It is commonly associated with risk of coronary disease and other stress-related ailments.
First, the definition really makes me question why I’ve always had such a positive association with the Type-A personality. Gross, right? Who wants to be that person? You can’t be the first, without also accepting the second half. (Hmm…second amendment, much? J/k. Not THAT kind of post. 🙂 )
Then, Type-B as: People with Type B personality tend to be more tolerant of others, are more relaxed than Type A individuals, more reflective, experience lower levels of anxiety and display a higher level of imagination and creativity.
Finally, C: The Type C personality has difficulty expressing emotion and tends to suppress emotions, particularly negative ones such as anger. This means such individual also display ‘pathological niceness,’ conflict avoidance, high social desirability, over compliance and patience.
There is absolutely, positively nothing that I can say about Type-C. In this moment, I am dumb-founded. I have never heard such a definition and, frankly did not know that this was even a thing. Sorry that I missed the memo. This is so me that it hurts – well I’m not at all patient. Instead of patient, I am all the qualities of Type-A. This is the “Dougherty-thing” joke so many of my family members share. I’m stumped. This changes the entire post, completely. I was so ready to contrast types-A and B. How I am type-A without the drive. Looking at it in a nicer light is the B+ philosophy. Instead of failing everything – I am a type. I have the passion, ambition, perfection but also a B level of tolerance, openness, reflection. But, really, all along, have I just been a Type-C? Could this be real life? I need to do more research on the matter (trust me, I know, there are MUCH better things to be focusing my time on in a world nearing war, with cures to be discovered, lives to be changed), but I do think this may help me move forward with my life.
Regardless of the personality type boxes that we pretend exist, I do know one thing. I believe that I have that “unique set of skills” that, could possibly, change a world, or my world, or the world. I just need to move away from fear and start living and doing. That is how I can get myself and my passion out there. If it all just stays in my head it helps no one and, certainly, doesn’t serve me at all. Just keeps me awake at night and desperate for some anxiety meds.
I’ve been on the #strugglebus for years concerning my health. But, I do declare, that 2018 is my year of change. I’m not letting myself stay in the small world of “I’m sick”. I’m putting myself out there and I am determined to learn to truly believe that I am worth your time, the Internet’s time. Not to be afraid to be honest, truthful. If my openness helps even ONE human, isn’t that enough?
So, yes, there are things I’m doing well but also things I need to evaluate and change. I need to learn to be sick AND… Not just sick. I want to be the writer. The friend. The Whatever.
Recognition is a big step, sure, but I’m really committed, in this moment, to act. If I wait, I’ll have an excuse. For me, I think, it’s about accountability. I never tell people my huge, over-arching life plans because then I can’t publicly fail. Because I would. I know that. It would be me wimping out on night 1 of a fucking 3 night basketball camp located 20 minutes from home. I called my mom crying and demanded to be picked up. That failure still stings and, I feel, has defined so much of my life since that day.
But, the point is, how has that served me, to this day? To keep everything hidden so there is no way that I really fail? I need to get out of my head (my plans, my failures, my everything). How many google maps bookmarks do I need to tag before I actually go to any of the places listed? How many little free-hand fiction or political or opinion pieces to I need to jot down before I actually take the time to write it all out? Or publish it? Am I making life plans based on belief, but inaccuracies? Am I wrong to actually think about even “chancing” a full change in career – one based on passion instead of expectation?
So, at the very beginning of all this, I thought of the title “Do I Want to be a Blogger?”. At that point it was supposed to be a little redundant, but true? The commitment? Being THAT open (which is the only way I can ever write, everything I do always comes back around. Is this narcissism? Maybe, but truth first, always. Damn, millennials). Then, just before the whole Type-C debacle, I started realizing that the title stopped making sense. But, we’re back around, I think.
To me, this question means, do I want to be on a posting schedule? Do I want to be open with the world (unless no one ever reads this, which is fine, too. Cathartic, I think.)? Can I actually commit to something and actually follow through? Can I be sick AND anything?
I think I can and I think I have to. I do think I’m a different person then I was before. I see things differently. My life is more in perspective. Small wins are still wins. Sometimes just stop and smell the fucking roses. I want to change my life, change everything, but am I really THAT different of a person. Sure, I’m beating leukemia, amazing. But, I haven’t had to try all that hard to stay alive these past two years. Really. I’m alive because I’m the luckiest human and have the best care team and clinic you could ever ask for. Plus, I’m American and live in a progressive and forward-thinking area. All of these things collided for me – so it wasn’t really on me at all. I’m a product of fortune and circumstance. I’m not saying it hasn’t been hard, the opposite actually, but it’s all relative, I know.
I know it’s time to act but can I really do it? I know I’m capable of much more than I’m doing now, but how much, I really don’t know. So, for know, I’m going to be somewhat open with my goals. This is, for me, about self-care and being understanding with my mind and body.
But, I also commit to write more? Yes. Publish here? Yes. Utilize my small social media outlets to drum up readers and support? I think so. So why not? Right? Seems simple enough. Anyone that’s read this far must also be slightly off-balance in the head so I feel comfortable in saying that I bet you know exactly what I mean. Value? Anxiety? Fear? Either that, or you are somehow related to me. For you, I am sorry! 😉
Again, gently, I will commit to writing most days of the week. I will post a new piece in my “Make a Flash” flash photo and fiction. More to come. I promise. It’s cool. 🙂 But, I will also work to complete other pieces as well as post what is done. I think a slow start is best for me, and the opposite of what the old me would have said and then failed. I resolve to stop over-promising.
So, we’ll see. In my dreams, I have a unique voice and take coupled with intense passion – plus who doesn’t love a “rebirth” story? Cancer, second chance, changing my life? Perfect. In that world, I truly open up and I’m good enough – actually great. I can write. People are interested in my thoughts. That’s the dream.
I’m still trying to determine if it’s a dream worth chasing. Can I change my life? Will I actually do it? Of course I want to say yes, but that’s not what the pattern shows. We’ll see.
So, I leave it here on the table. Not sure what’s going to come of my life, my health, my career, anything, but I owe it to myself to try. I’m going to start living. I don’t know what will end up recorded here. Just hoping it’s something decent, raw, substantive. And, in a perfect world, I would start this new life, mind-bending writing stuff before midnight. You know, healthy routine stuff.
Halsey’s “Bad At Love” – I tried to downplay how pumped I was that she was on SNL with D – he can be very critical of my music choices. But, she fucking killed it. Looked super hot and girl can sing! Hate how rare this feature really is in pop music. That part should be a given, right?
D and I are currently binging Broad City. I always wanted to watch but something, no idea what considering I do nothing, stopped me. But, a quick clip last week at the beginning or end of something we recorded on Comedy Central hooked me. I’m in, big time. Getting close to obsessed level. We’re 3 days in and on season three. D is still working full-time, so this is weeknight-only watching. I’ve googled the ladies thoroughly. The usual – heights, hometowns, blah, blah – but also trying to find the EXACT sweater Abbi is wearing in the “Hurricane Wanda” episode. It’s tribal and geometric and I MUST OWN!!!
I was cyber-bullied for the first time. No crazy story here. But, I guess I can say I’m finally joining the rest of the known world. I mean, who hasn’t, in some way, already? Either way, I had to cancel an appointment VERY last-minute, I admit. However, it was serious and I told her as much in an email. Clearly I am verbose and do not shy away from length and specificity. Frankly, I am still happy and positive, because that is who I am – oh god, part of being Type-C??!!?? However, a lot of pieces in my life seem to be falling down around me in just the past few weeks. All of that on top of my ongoing cancer and recovery battle. I follow her on Insta and she knows that. But, she posted a video with the Rihanna song “Bitch Better Have My Money” at the same time she responded to my email. So, yeah. Whatever, I had completely planned to pay the cancellation fee and any re-book deposit because she’s incredible, but now I’m questioning everything. I thought she was a like-minded lady. She has no clue what’s going on in my life. It just feels so childish and millennial. I hate that. Just be better.