Moving Forward, Like A Shark

Right now, as I’m writing this, I am well and truly exhausted. It’s taken me a couple days to get my brain working again. Been nothing but oatmeal and maple syrup ever since Saturday night, when the With Love, Marilyn show closed. It’s been years since I took on the duties of stage manager. I don’t think I was fully prepared for the herculean task. And yet, somehow, I got through it.

Doesn’t help that directing the film shoot for Lady Belladonna: The Movie had kicked my ass earlier in the week and I’d only a couple days to “recover” before diving headfirst into the Marilyn stage show. I guess I keep forgetting I’m not 25 anymore. Or 40, for that matter.

Me and my Borderlands Film Festival partners, Dave Witt and Dr Michael Evans, out on the town with the sensational Erin Sullivan, star of With Love, Marilyn.

Still, despite the deep exhaustion, the lingering headache and the unexpected muscle cramps, I’m glad I did it. One last huzzah before addressing the growing issue of my dark passenger. I’ve got a week to prepare for my trip to Phoenix for one last consultation with the cancer specialists. After that, I’ll be in preparations for a full scale assault on that bitch. The treatments will be extensive and disruptive to my schedule, but I’ve put it off long enough. Time to bite the bullet and give in to the inevitable.

Even so, I can’t help feeling that I’m in a good place. I’m not wallowing in self pity or railing against the universe because of my misfortune. In fact, I feel pretty okay, despite the fog and the aches. I feel positive and accomplished and, oddly enough, unburdened. I feel like everything is going to be alright. One way or another, it’s all going to be just fine. I’ll either beat this thing, or I won’t, but either way, I have a lot for which to be grateful.

Now, lest you think I’ve given in to delusion on my rickety raft journey down the river known as Denial, I am very aware of what’s going on around me. I’m not disconnected, but neither do I feel that everything is awful. Yes, the political landscape is bleak and society seems to be spinning out of control. Everything is topsy-turvy and aggression is the new norm. It’s hard to know who to trust anymore and even harder to figure out what’s “right” or “wrong” in a constantly shifting paradigm of Truth.

But things have always been tough. Do you think the Middle Ages were easy? Hardly. Do you think the last three centuries were a cake walk? Nuh uh. They sucked for a lot of people. Change has that affect on large populations. Those in power are constantly being challenged and those not in power are constantly paying the price for the missteps of the powerful. We can learn a lot from history, if we just pay attention. But we must never stop moving forward.

I look at the current state of affairs as growing pains in a world that has, within a few short years, become globally self-aware. I also count myself lucky that I got to be around during such a metamorphic time in history – to watch as the world went from analog to digital, growing smaller as the universe began to expand. So much information, so little time to absorb it all. It’s forced evolution and, despite the inevitable bumps along the way, there is nothing awful about that.

One of my earliest memories. I was there and the universe has grown exponentially since.

If ever there was a need for perspective, it would be now. Always remember, there are good things in your life. Even if its something as simple as a pet who adores and depends upon you. Your boss is a bitch and you can’t stand the people you work with? Wish you could change your job, but you’re not qualified to do anything else? You think your boyfriend is cheating on you and there’s a weird growth right in the middle of your forehead? Your hamster still loves you. Never forget that.

I find myself uniquely qualified to say these things because of my situation. I firmly believe cancer won’t be the worst thing that happens to me in this lifetime. Hell, I’ve got more backstory than an Anne Rice vampire. Tragedy? Oh, baby. Disappointment? Plenty. Regrets? Some. It’s all relative. There are people I miss terribly. Many are dead. Most are estranged. I don’t take it personally. I just keep moving forward. Like a shark. If I stop, I’ll drown.

My answer is to compartmentalize. Not everything sucks all the time. Think about it. If something sucks, I focus my attention on something that doesn’t suck. Like gardening. Or writing. Or sex. I don’t dwell on that other stuff. It doesn’t control my life. It doesn’t control me. I get through it, then I reward myself by sitting and playing with my bunny, or feeding the fish in my pond. I crack wise with my husband and cook wonderful meals. Soon the suckage fades into the background, where it belongs. I think about the things that are really good in my life and my perspective shifts.

And, finally, I surround myself with good people. I highly recommend that. My favorites are creative, talented and passionate people. I love them for their energies and expend my own energies to help them achieve their goals. That gives me an immense sense of accomplishment and pleasure. It’s hard to keep a negative perspective when helping others.

Nurture friendships that are positive and grounding, even if they do prove finite. It’s the moments we live for, not the regrets. Or, if you’re an introvert, simply stay away from toxic situations. It’s okay to be alone. It’s not okay to let others make you feel bad because you’re alone. Some people do alone much better than they do social. I’ve been that person.

Right now, I feel loved and respected. That’s what I focus on. It’s what allows me to feel exhausted and fuzzy and still pretty okay. I know I’m not everybody’s cuppa grog, but that’s okay, too. There are always going to be haters, but their power over me is completely my choice. If I don’t, they won’t. It’s as simple as that.

For now, I’m just gonna concentrate on getting better and revel in my accomplishments and the accomplishments of others. The next few months will be a trial, but when it’s all over, I’ll be on to something else. Just like a shark. And that’s just the way I like it.

My fantastic cast and crew of Lady Belladonna: The Movie. Without these wonderful creatives, I would be lost.


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