Saturday, January 3, 2015

Reverse Resolutions

After a long, joyful holiday season, we are finally home and I am slowly coming back to myself. Re-emerging back into our daily grind and preparing to go back to school. I found the holiday season to be a bit magical. As I posted here on Christmas day, I had this special feeling that all things seemed possible. This remarkable feeling made coming back to reality a little difficult. Coming home meant scheduling a new set of scans for the coming weeks and reminding myself of what has become our normal. The past few weeks were the longest period of time since this began when cancer didn't play the leading role in my mind. This lasting feeling was so so so wonderful, I cannot describe to you how much so. 

Alas, I crashed pretty hard when we arrived home. Back to reality. Back to the grind. I really hated to see 2014 go. I know it may be hard to imagine, but 2014 was a really beautiful year. Many people think and say things to us like, "you've had a tough year" or even"you've had a terrible year." And then they give you that look. You know, that look! That pitiful look. Eyebrows squished together really tight, almost to the point where you just don't know whether they're gonna cry or crap. Or both. Well, I'm here to tell you. We survived 2014. Not only that, we thrived. We laughed. Traveled. Created. GOT MARRIED! Our day to day may be hard and doctor appointment days are the worse, but it was beautiful beyond words and I am thankful. I hate to see it pass. I would hold on to it forever if I could. God, I wish I could stop time. That would be my superhero power. But like Jon tells me all the time: "Robyn, you gotta let life happen." Breathe in. Breathe out. It's a new year...

...and because it's a new year, I wanted to take a little time to ignore all those weight loss commercials and write out a few of my own goals for 2015. I call these reverse resolutions - or the opposite of the more popular, conventional declarations people make in the name of self improvement each year. I think it's really important for all of us to cut ourselves some slack. That is, unless you are a smoker, in which case you should stick to that resolution. Stop reading this blog right now and do everything you can to QUIT QUIT QUIT. And if you are a smoker slash my friend and are now reading my blog, you should surely know how I feel about smoking (I hate it with every fiber of my being) and though I'm too polite to say this in person - your smoking hurts my feelings, my loved ones, your loved ones, my future babies, your future babies, the birds, the fish, the sky, the trees, the planet, everything. I love you and stop it. 

Anyhow, I digress. Here are my reverse resolutions: 

1.) Robyn, it's OK to eat food. I mean it! A drive-thru hamburger. A big ole burrito with cheese, sour cream and everything else you can imagine. Ice Cream. Chocolate. Why, even a McRib sandwich if you want to!!! It. Is. Ok. Stop beating yourself up about every bite of food. I mean, don't eat that stuff every day. Throw in lots and lots of kale and quinoa and greens and carrots and fruit and whey. Go for a lot of walks. Maybe even throw in some yoga. But if you eat dairy, gluten, or God forbid will be OK. So, what if what's her face hasn't had a delicious, bubbly coca cola in over a decade? Sigh. Maybe that's why she's so bitchy! Drink a coke and chill the F out! Unless you are highly allergic to one of these things, you will NOT die. I repeat, you will NOT die. I agree, these things are not great for you in large amounts and moderation is everything. But if you even try to tell me these things cause cancer...I will go ballistic on you! If that's the case, every obese person in America and their babies would be dead dead dead.  So, Robyn, don't go wild and gain 500 pounds this year - I'd really appreciate if you didn't do that. But face the fact that you will never be Miley Cyrus thin with a thigh gap like the Grand Canyon, so just get over it. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy those waffle fries! That street vendor hot dog! An occasional bucket of KFC or that delicious DQ oreo blizzard. Don't freak out. You are going to be just fine! 

No explanation needed.

2.) Robyn, it's OK to stay in bed all day. We don't want to go making a habit out of this one either, but a day in bed is sometimes just what you need. Taking a day (or two) in bed and not changing out of your pajamas is completely acceptable, and even necessary. And it's a lot of fun! We can binge watch an entire series in bed within just a few days. This time is sacred and rejuvenates the body and soul. Oftentimes, it's like the bed is my charger and I need to stay there for a long stretch of time before I can face the world again. Laying in bed is not a waste of time - we have just been programmed to believe staying in bed is evil. In bed, you can read, educate yourself, study TV shows and movies, pray, meditate, listen to the rain, nap, and best of all: snuggle. So, don't feel guilty about this precious time. Savor it and soak up every minute of stretched out, Jeopardy marathon bliss! 

A nap after radiation.

3.) Robyn, it's OK to treat yo' self. We all know you are not on your way to being a millionaire. Sorry. Saving money is really important and so is paying back your student loans, (cringe!) but, it's okay to treat yourself to something special every now and then. That $20 sweater from Target looks really cute on you, so go ahead and splurge! Remember, anything for $20 would be like a penny to Oprah. It's all in perspective. Go ahead. Treat yo' self! Tom and Donna say it best. Watch below, and no Ben, it is not insane!

4.) Robyn, it's OK to be scared. Now, there's a feeling that is no stranger to you. I grew up scared. My mother was (is) very clingy so she was always afraid my next step was death. Lord knows I love her, but she made me scared of the weather, sharks, and the old man that sat on the corner. She also made me pretty tough, but I still get really scared. Scared to walk to my car at night and scared to speak in public. But scan results and doctor appointments and uncertainty scares me the most. Robyn, it's ok to be scared. It means you are a real live human being and because of that...

5.) Robyn, it's OK to cry. And boy are you good at it! You are famous for crying! You cried every single day in a six week acting program, even on the days your weren't in class. You cried throughout your first college undergrad class. I mean through the entire class. Two and a half hours, non-stop. Not subtle tears either. Boo Hooing. You cry through any church sermon. Doesn't matter the denomination or topic. You cry and cry and cry. At commercials, books, movies, songs, birthdays, holidays, board meetings, casual get-togethers, and more. You cry when Jon gives you that sweet, tender look with his beautiful, glorious eyes. Those are happy tears. You also cry not so happy tears when someone looks at you the wrong way or with disappointment. You cry through happiness, sadness, anger, ecstasy, horror, etc. And now, I'm declaring it cool. It's ok to cry! Even in public. People say hiding your tears is brave. I say, screw that! If someone is mean to you and hurts your feelings, cry all over their ugly face and let them know your tears are bold and beautiful! If you are walking down the street and a certain reflection of sunlight beaming through a cloud strikes you as hauntingly beautiful...go ahead: cry! An acting teacher once told my class he wouldn't put up with "pretty tears." He wanted to see the raw, gut wrenching painful crocodile tears behind the mask we put on each day. So, Robyn, go for it. It's your life and you can cry if you want to. 

6.) Robyn, it's OK to not wear makeup. Or to wear makeup. Either way, you are pretty just the same and it's 2015 and you're a feminist and come on...really? 

You without makeup.

7.) Robyn, it's OK to forgive yourself. And let go. I'm having a really hard time with this one right now. I am really hard on myself and, for some reason, I think I can take on the world. Robyn, you are not Wonder Woman and that's okay because that uniform looks really uncomfortable. I wish I had more money to take care of my mother and aunt back home. I always promised I would take care of them. My mama is doing really well right now. She looks so beautiful in the photo below. I curled her hair and, to me, she looks like Laura Dern. Her cheekbones are so pretty and the smile on her face is lovely. My wonderful, tender, gorgeous, perfect Aunt Joyce, however, is not doing very well. While I was home, I asked for her forgiveness. To forgive me for not being able to take care of her the way I promised I would. The way she took care of me when I was a little girl. She looked at me with a kind smile and we both cried. This life can be cruel and sometimes we run out of time here. It runs right through our fingers before we can make a drastic change and, Robyn, you have to become okay with that. And let go of some of those big dreams you had. They are yours and they are precious and all your do-good ideas come from a tender place. But they cannot all come true. But, if you are ever feeling down about the things you cannot change, look into the faces of these beautiful, strong women (who will probably kill you for posting pictures of them on the internet) and know that you are the tender, kind, funny, quirky, intelligent, empathetic, compassionate woman you are today because of them and how they raised you. 

Beautiful Mother.

Beautiful Aunt.

8.) Robyn, it's OK to question religion. Respect the spiritual journey you are on. Understand when others do not understand you, because they have not been through the things you have been through. Know that your Creator loves you no matter what and is totally OK with you taking time to figure things out for yourself. 

9.) Robyn, it's OK to find beauty in pain. Sigh. Another tough one. You can Facebook stalk people for days and see their brand new cars and homes and babies, but their life will not be yours. One thing we can all agree on is you've had a lot of pain in your life. It's OK to find purpose in that pain. Deep down, you know you're a good writer and potentially a good filmmaker, and I know you would secretly trade that ability in a heart beat to have a more mundane job, babies, and absolutely 100% no cancer, but you do not possess this ability. It's OK to be creative. It's OK to be good at it. It's OK to enjoy it. 

The world is a crazy, beautiful, ugly complicated place, and it keeps moving on from crisis to strangeness to beauty to weirdness to tragedy. The caravan keeps moving on, and the job of the longform writer or filmmaker or radio broadcaster is to stop - is to pause - and when the caravan goes away, that's when this stuff comes. - David Remnick

10.) Finally, Robyn, it's OK to be hopeful. Because miracles do happen, they already have, and why not?


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