I haven't done Illustration Friday in ages. This week's topic is Frozen and this illustration is a metaphor for my life right now. Even though I am frozen in fear and uncertainty, I know that come spring, I will be reborn to a new beginning. The battle against cancer is a hard one, but if you have faith, anything can happen.
Tuesday was the annual first rain of the season in Southern California and true to form, it exceeded expectations. Since it hasn't rained since last April, you can imagine the accumulation of oil on the freeways and the mess caused when the rain comes. There were record number of auto accidents and the commute home was triple the time it normally takes. People who live here don't realize that it takes longer for a car to stop on wet surfaces, and are totally surprised when they crash into the car in front of them, going sixty miles per hour. All the while texting their agent or personal trainer.
I personally like the change, especially when I don't have to drive anywhere that day. Of course I almost fell on my ass about ten times, because everything is slippery when you are rain deprived. Not to mention how exciting it is to observe storm watch on every television channel, every ten minutes, and the the big question - we will have mud slides or not? (Luckily we didn't this time.) The rain and cooler weather do remind you that we can actually have a season here from time to time instead of the relentless sunshine and heat. Plus it gives people something to talk about, not to mention the fact that so many people can legitimately wear boots. After two days of suffering, the weather is going to 90˚ on Thursday. Go figure.
Today was a beautiful day in Santa Monica and I took full advantage of it by going to the Farmer's Market with a friend and her two boys, one of them being the love of my life, my Godson. Today I enjoyed the sun, the ocean, and friendly people. I know in the past, I have experienced days like this, only to be annoyed and miserable because of something that wasn't going my way. Depression was always such a dominant part of my body chemistry, a veil that covered me from head to toe, it couldn't possibly let something as frivolous as sunshine in. Now that I have a real reason to be depressed, I tend to be less hard on myself and more accepting of who I am. I realize now that I am never going to win the lottery, live an easy life, nor have the life I thought I deserved. Happiness now comes to me in small ways. The three dollar sunflowers, the little presents people have been kind enough to give me, a little boy's excitement when he goes into the pet store, and the quietness of walking along the beach in the early hours. Life is not as complicated as I once thought, but then it isn't as easy either. The words of wisdom that say it all: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I can't believe we are already six days into October, and summer is just a fading memory. I have always been aware of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month because of the influx of all things pink, but this year I can't help but have bittersweet feelings about all the media hype. I have participated in many Races for the Cure and have the ribbons to prove it, but never have I been attached to the cause in a way that I felt that I could make a difference.
Now, because I have no other choice, I am aware of the disease first hand, and it's not a place I want to be at this time. I have just had my third round of chemotherapy and even though I have not been nauseated or have thrown up once, I can still feel the toll it is taking on my body. I have been stronger than most, but I know I have a long road ahead and nothing about it is easy. I have learned how to live in the moment as never before and I must admit is a lot more peaceful than worrying about things I have no control over. I wasted so much of my life living in the past and worrying about the future, and only now do I see how crippling it was. Now I can finally be selfish and not do what I don't want to do and start doing things my way instead of trying to please everyone else. I wasted so much time worrying about if others liked me, that I forgot to be a friend to myself. I think I needed me more than anyone.