Monday, October 29, 2012

Taking the plunge

I guess that yesterday was the day I made the decision not to keep a separate, private diary.  Everyone I know, and I mean everyone, has encouraged me to write about my experience.  I began to realize that if I do not say what I want to say in this venue, this very public venue that my own mother reads, I will have to maintain another, real and truthful journal in a parallel universe.  I don't have too much energy, and (whine whine) I do not want to keep two journals in parallel universes.  I want to keep one.  So, for better or worse one it will be and I will have to say the private things as well.

The upshot of this is I immediately felt bad yesterday, my go-to emotion, that I might have offended the very people who care enough to ask about me.  The last thing I am interested in right now is alienating people, or making people feel like they don't know what to say to me or how to say it.  I am ok with being asked how I am!  I will also ask how you are, especially this week all my east coast peeps.

What I was/am attempting to process is the tendency to hide out at home, and why.  I think that it is probably natural to want to limit interaction, but I have to be careful.  I am already an introvert, who has always said no more than yes to going out and socializing anyway.  My husband, luckily, has friends who like to go out, and he has outlets for his severe case of extrovertedness, not the least of which is working in two high schools with teenagers.

Anyway, I have been realizing for a long time writing this blog that being matter-of-fact and occasionally funny is not saying enough about having breast cancer.

The HMS Bounty went down off of the North Carolina coast last night or this morning.  Possibly two crew members are still missing.  I used to crew, mostly cook, on tall ships, and have such a sick and sad sensation right now.  Sailors know, there but for the grace of whoever...  In 1986, the evening I arrived at my first such job, washing dishes on a schooner, I arrived for dinner at my captains' house (grammatically correct, people, this couple shared the captainship).  They were stunned and sad to have just received news that the Pride of Baltimore had sunk, and with it several crew members known to them and what would soon become my own small community.  I will never forget that moment.  It has always stuck with me.  I often think, one minute life is one thing, and the next it is something altogether different, unexpected, unplanned.  For the loved ones of the lost on the Pride, for the group tht survived in a lifeboat (no small trauma), and now for the Bounty crew and loved ones, life will never be the same.  There is an interesting amount of metaphors for being at sea, and finding onself being treated for cancer.  The feeling of not knowing what's next, no matter how well prepared for it you think you are; the feeling of being in the act of something with set rules and a usually predictable outcome, except for when it isn't; and the feeling of being thrown into that messy unpredicability, like it or not.  I have been out of the sailing world since about 1992.  I have kept a couple of ties to people from that time and I know they are grieving this recent loss.  I am hoping Hurricane Sandy doesn't bring more than this.  As far away as it is from my house on the Columbia, it feels kind of close to the bone today.


  1. We'll see if this (post) works -- I sent you a card today after my last unsuccessful attempt to post. Thank you for going public! This is a bold move, and a sensible one, given the energy factor. While I have long known your writing skills, I've seldom read more than (well done!) book reviews and cards by you. While I wish that the circumstances prompting you to blog were different, I am glad to read more of your thoughts and to learn your perspective on your current journey. Huzzah! -- Audrey

  2. I immediately thought of you when I heard the news about the schooner sinking. I have not heard whether the one crew who was picked out of the water survived. I am sad to think that the other crew in the water probably has not survived. It is you who connects me to a tall ship.