Do I deserve this?
I'm not talking about cancer in our life.
I'm actually talking about happiness.
We've had a period of time, a good chunk of time, where things have been really, really wonderful. Don't misunderstand me, I am so thankful for this period. But as wonderful things happen or as happiness becomes more of a norm, I can't help but ask whether or not I deserve it.
This may sound completely crazy, or totally normal for those of you with similar mental instabilities, but I can easily fall into the role of victim. For whatever reason, I can easily accept the idea that I deserve horrible things. I know this is essentially a form of self mutilation, but I am being completely honest. I know, deep down, nobody deserves cancer. Nobody deserves a spouse with cancer. Nobody deserves that pain. But, I can easily go to that place of thinking that maybe I have done something to deserve it. Maybe I'm being punished.
What I have a harder time accepting is happiness in my life. I think many others feel the same. Suddenly, you look around and things are good. Great in fact. I'm writing during the day, attending class, collaborating with Jon on projects we've always wanted to do, and rehearsing a play at night. And you instantly become nervous. Anxious. Constantly looking over your shoulder or checking corners - wondering when that horrible, terrible no good bad news is going to pop out and attack. I'm a scream queen living in the endless suspense of a slasher flick right before the killer pops out with a kitchen knife. You just know it's coming, but you don't know when.
The past few weeks have been rather delightful. For the first time in a long time, I am beginning to set long term career goals for myself. And that's scary. I have numerous projects in the works - a feature screenplay, two short films, a television pilot, etc - and I have started to dream a little bit bigger. My school held a television festival this past weekend. I got to sit in and pick a Senior VP of television programming's brain and listen to the talented, smart, funny writers of one of my favorite tv shows, The Mindy Project. Before I could stop myself, I started thinking of ways to get a job on a tv show, figuring out how to snag an agent, and seeing myself living the life of a successful writer.
As these thoughts were running rampant in my mind, I choked when I remembered cancer. Jon is doing very well, but I fear the moment cancer may rear it's ugly head in our lives. It's a gigantic hurtle for two twenty somethings to face. I called Jon in the middle of Atlanta traffic. I was experiencing a terrible panic attack on my way to an event. "I'm not good enough. I don't deserve this. I can't think of such frivolous things as writing. What about cancer? What if I'm not ready? What is going to happen? Oh no."
At my age, there's never enough time. Maybe this is how people of all ages feel. I hope it gets better. But when my ambitious self kicks in, I just feel like I'm running out of time and I forget to simply be. I want to have a baby, I want a nice house, I want to spend time with Jon, I want to make sure his goals are achieved, I want to finish school, I want to get a good job, I want to direct a feature film, I want to be a writer's assistant and work my way up, etc, etc, etc.
We live from scan to scan. We have scan results on Thursday and although Jon is feeling and looking great, we're nervous as to what news we receive. Is all well? Can he stay on this medicine? Can we keep this happiness trend going? Or will our world turn upside down? Will he need a clinical trial? A second opinion? Radiation? Chemo? How fast does this have to happen? And on and on.
The truth is, there is no answer to end these issues. All I can do is pray. Breathe. And if at all possible, let go. Yes. Let go. Let go of cancer free. Let go of 100% remission and no more scans. Let go of getting all As. Let go of having a great job that I love, a good salary, and health insurance. Let go of that nice house. Let go of needing a healthy newborn baby right this very minute. Let go of living in Hollywood as a writer's assistant. Let go of being an accomplished director at the age of 27. Just let go. And see what happens. Not only that, but trust that whatever happens will be okay.
That's really hard to do.