Friday, August 31, 2007

Straddling Two Worlds

There are times when I feel so separate from this place, these people, the world I see all around me. I feel like a floating soul. Not really of this world or in it. I feel different, somehow separated for reasons I can't quite think of. I feel like people look at me while I'm walking down the street or just sitting somewhere out of the way. What are they looking at? What do they see? Or is this staring just in my head? I feel like people look at me but at the same time I feel like no one sees me. I'm not memorable, nothing special, easy to overlook.

I want to leave a mark, but not leave behind damage. My baggage grows as I go through life and I don't want it to crush anything as I venture forward. If I am not really a part of this world, can I really leave a mark? It would probably be easier to go through life unseen by others, trying to be sure not to do anything to rock the boat. But in the end, easy doesn't really matter much if your life has no meaning.

It's the end of the summer, the end of vacation (well, almost) and I have these new adventures before me waiting so close to be started. And with all these changes I can't help but look behind me at what I've been through (non-medically speaking here) and think ahead to what kind of future I want to create for myself. I'm trying so hard not to really plan far in advance because things can change at the drop of a hat and expectations can unintentionally lead to closed doors. I don't want to close doors before I've even opened them. I don't want to be so fixated on a point somewhere in the future, a point I just want to get to, and miss out on things that cross my path.

I keep thinking ahead to what I'll do...then, after this or that is done. I'm thinking about next summer without really thinking about the whole school year between now and then. I'm trying to decide now where I want to live next year without knowing what may change, or how I may change, in the upcoming year. I feel like life is flying at me all of a sudden filled with opportunities and after living such a long time with so few options and choices, I want to have a chance to taste it all. I want to live where my heart is pulling me and I don't want to waste time between now and then. All these options, all these doors, and I end up either getting stuck on heading towards just one so fast that I lose sight of everything else or I stand there thinking about all the options so long that I never head towards any of them. And I don't know which way is better - gut-reaction or careful consideration. Both have their pros and cons, but if I spend time considering which way of deciding is better, I'll see even more time pass me by.

I guess the thing (or one of them anyway) is that I've spent such a long time on the sidelines of life and suddenly I'm entering the world, staring around at everything and not sure how to really join the "real" world but at the same time wanting to be a part of it all at once. But I still feel so much like a spectator, just an onlooker rather than an active participant in the world. When I imagine my life in any of the places I can see myself living, I see myself as a kind of ghost, a shadow, an onlooker just observing everyone else going about living their lives. And part of me is happy doing that. But part of me yearns and aches to be a part of it, but I don't know how. How do you suddenly know how to live a kind of life you've never been able to live before? How can I expect to take that leap and instinctively know what to do without tripping or faltering at times?

And part of it has to do with these different worlds I inhabit - "medical" and "real", not that the "medical" world is any less real than the "real" world, but it's more...surreal and just...different. These worlds are so different and I have been living mostly in the "medical" world for the past 10 years and especially in the past 3 or so years. Now I feel like I'm trying to straddle the two worlds, attempting to take some steps into the "real" world but not quite knowing how well I can balance with one foot still in the "medical" world (and sometimes more than just a foot). And how do I explain my past 10 years of existence mainly in the "medical" world to people in the "real" world? They can hear what I say, maybe sympathize with all I've been through, perhaps give me (unwanted) pity, but in the end they have no idea how it feels to look back at 10 years of life and feel like they were a blur and that they were years where, for me, the world stood still and I just watched as everyone around me kept living their lives and i was mostly just concerned with living, making it from day to day.

It's strange thinking about it all like this, imagining myself with one foot in the "medical" box and one foot in the "real world" box and trying to move forward like that. I do believe I can do it, that I can find the balance somewhere in there and manage to not go tumbling down to the ground, tripping over the two boxes, and end up with both feet back in the "medical" world. But it takes so much more effort and planning to try to achieve that balance. Strict bedtimes, strict schedules of infusions and medications (which are hard to sneak in while at work - pills, not infusions), trying to settle into a new home and have the energy to unpack and decorate without taking away from the energy needed for the more essential things, trying hard to eat as well as possible. It's exhausting just thinking of all the planning that has to go into trying to live this "normal" life and in the end, all the planning in the world can't stop a crash from coming. I feel in some ways like I'm the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. I'm this person who has all this medical baggage trying to squeeze through the door into that "real" world and it seems like some of my medical baggage is keeping me stuck in the doorway, unable to fully enter that "real" world.

Just some rambling thoughts on my "new" life. Maybe there's something in them, maybe there isn't. But that's the great thing about writing - even if you write and write and write and nothing good comes out, you can still keep writing and writing until you get to where you need to get.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Graduation! Oh, the Places You'll Go!

(For my big graduation update, see my Caringbridge page.)

Oh, the Places You'll Go!
by Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!