Guilty as Charged

guilt

I feel guilty that I haven’t written a blog post in 3 months. I’ve written a few posts about random things but haven’t felt like I could publish them because quite honestly, they were me venting and expressing myself. Unfortunately, however, expression of feelings isn’t always what you want the entire world to see.

I feel guilty so much lately. About a whole array of things, I’ve begun to realize how much this one feeling affects my life every day.

I feel guilty that I got to live through my terminal diagnosis when others don’t get to

I feel guilty when I don’t see my friends and family often enough

I feel guilty when I complain about my job

I feel guilty when I don’t work out

I feel guilty when I think of all the people that helped me

I feel guilty when I don’t get home to Phoebe in time

I feel guilty when I’m being lazy and just don’t want to play fetch anymore

I feel guilty when I don’t call my friends that don’t live close by

I feel guilty when I want to go to bed early

I feel guilty when I have a drink during the workweek

I feel guilty when I spend money on things I shouldn’t

I feel guilty when I don’t do yoga regularly

I feel guilty when I don’t clean my house or help unload the dishwasher

I feel guilty when I think negatively of people in my head

I feel guilty when I drop off Smile Cards knowing I didn’t write any this month

I feel guilty when I don’t make a donation to a nonprofit/charity

I feel guilty that I don’t like my career and I complain about it to Mike

I feel guilty when I feel sorry for myself

I feel guilty that I stopped going to see my therapist

I feel guilty when I take medication to help me sleep

I feel guilty when I give Mike shit about little things

I feel guilty when I’m not in a good mood

I feel guilty for writing this post

Mostly, I’ve begun to feel guilty for feeling guilty all the time. I feel guilty when I don’t feel like I’m being the best version of me. I feel guilty that it’s the first time I’ve written a post and it’s not inspirational in the slightest. I feel guilty that it’s about me venting. I feel guilty that in the past six months, I have become cancer-free, not received one thing of chemo, gotten engaged, picked out a wedding dress, been to Italy, gone back to NYC twice, held beautiful babies, played with my dog, spent time with those that I love, live in a house and city that I adore and have my best friend to go to bed with every night—and I still somehow feel lost. I still feel like there’s something missing. I still have a hard time falling asleep at night without the medication I had been on for two years. I still whine and become sad on Sunday nights knowing I have an entire work week ahead of me. I still bitch about minute details of life when I know that there’s so many bigger problems out there. I still eat buffalo chicken nachos on the weekends even though I know they’re not good for me. I still drink beers while watching the Pats game because I like to. I still give Mike attitude at the end of the day when I’m grumpy for reasons that have nothing to do with him. I still honk at people when I’m driving to work. I still spend way too much time on the computer and my phone. I would’ve guessed that after two years of many moments of hell, I would be able to let things go easier, be more carefree, be kinder, gentler, fully in the moment.

I view the feeling of being given a second chance at life two-faced. I feel such gratitude and beauty from knowing that my eyes have been opened to how short life is and how I need to not take anything for granted and enjoy each moment and each day. But the other side of the face has created this enormous feeling of guilt when I’m not achieving the daily level of happiness and gratitude that my brain tells me I should be obtaining.

My therapist, the one that I stopped going to because I didn’t think I needed to go anymore (maybe I should rethink that decision, I know), had continuously told me for two years that I needed to have more compassion for myself. That I needed to stop being so hard on myself and stop judging every action that I take. She had said that I needed to allow myself to feel feelings that I have and try hard not to overthink everything. And while I can say I try to show myself compassion, it’s so god damn hard! It’s easier to criticize my actions and try to perfect what I’m doing wrong. It’s not healthy and I know this but I can’t seem to get out of my way sometimes.

I feel so frustrated that at this time in my life where everything seems to be going right, I somehow don’t feel euphoria, I don’t feel like I’m living this dream life. But I had dreamed of this life, since February 20, 2014, I dreamed of this summer, I dreamed of being engaged and planning my wedding, I dreamed of going back to work, I dreamed of having a French bulldog, I dreamed of going to Italy, I dreamed of having drinks with my friends at dinner and sipping on a Pumpkin Head beer while I watched the Patriots from the comfort of my house. And now I have that all. I have a Frenchie. I went to Italy. I got engaged. I bought my wedding dress. I’ve enjoyed drinks and food. I workout multiple times a week and can feel my muscle mass returning. I have a job. Yet, I still feel so confused and because of that, I feel like the most ungrateful brat that’s ever existed. I feel awful that I’m even putting these words out in the universe, that I’m letting people really see how I’m feeling. Now don’t get me wrong, my weekend in New York City getting engaged was everything I’ve ever dreamed about, our trip to Italy was literally the best two weeks of my entire life, I kiss and cuddle Phoebe every single day and tell her how much I love her, I feel at home, safe and secure when Mike is with me and continues to tell me that things are going to be okay.

I feel guilty for these negative feelings and emotions when so much is going right. I feel guilty because people that I know and love are going through horrible breakups and divorces, are dealing with health problem of their own, caring for a loved one that’s battling cancer, out of work and struggling to pay for childcare, grieving a loss of a loved one and so many more examples of real problems, real issues. Me not knowing what I want to do with my career and trying to achieve an unattainable goal of happy, content and successful life can barely be considered a real problem, however, to me, it feels like this insurmountable problem. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a mountain and I can’t see the top, I have no idea how high this peak is or how long it will take me to reach the top. And because of that, I feel frantic. I feel like a deer in the headlights, whipping my head around wildly looking for the right way to go but unable to find any sort of tree marker because I don’t even know if the top of this mountain is attainable with my abilities.

So, for today, I sit here at my computer with a “De-stress” and “stay calm” essential oils next to me hoping that I can figure out a goal, figure out a direction, figure out what I want, figure out what will make me happy, figure out what will make me feel content and fulfilled but most of all, I hope that I can learn how to not feel guilty, not feel ashamed that I feel the way I do. My hope is that by writing this piece, if you ever feel guilty for similar things that I do, that you feel less alone.

I’m hoping that my future blog posts will be more upbeat– to be truthful, I think that’s why I haven’t written in so long. I felt like my readers don’t want to hear about my little, and neurotic problems, nor do they want to read a post about my amazing Christmas weekend in NYC. I  have felt a sense of, you guessed it, guilt, if I begin to write about things that don’t fit into the box of “inspirational.” I began the Inspiration Initiative to express my feelings and to document my journey through a difficult time and I did that. I stayed true to my feelings, and I never felt guilty when I complained or vented because it felt “fair” to write my negative emotions regarding a cancer diagnosis. I knew nobody was going to judge me for that. But talking about that I’m frustrated by my career confusion or how much fun Mike and I have been having lately on the weekends, or the flip flop feeling in my stomach I get when I think about my body image, how much I love my dog, or what delicious meal I’m cooking that night, I know I can get judged for these type of content topics more than I could have been before. But I think it’s time for me to begin writing again more frequently. It’s time that I close the cancer book and start a new book that’s simply this: My Life. The ups, the downs, the in-the-middles, and all the moments in between. My cancer journey will still be part of it on days because the reality is that that diagnosis changed me, those experiences scarred me– some scars are ugly and some are beautiful, but they all remind me of the time period. But I’ve begun a new book and I hope it gets brighter by the second, and I’d love if you come along with me. It’s not going to be the same stories as you’re used to, but they’re still my stories.

If you got to the end of this ranting and redundant post, thanks. And, I’m impressed. I know this wasn’t beautifully written, I know this wasn’t inspirational, I know this wasn’t my best work but it made me feel better. For a few different reasons it made me feel better but at least for one, it erased the guilt I felt about not writing a blog post in a while.

I’ll be back.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

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How Quickly Time Goes

On Tuesday night, I watched the 10 year anniversary recap of The Hills. A show that I religiously watched with my girlfriends throughout high school and college. I remember when the series ended like it was yesterday. Tomorrow begins a weekend-long Bachelorette party for one of my best friends before her wedding in one month. The following month Mike and I go to Italy and I picked out my wedding dress two weekends ago. It dawned on me as I was watching ‘The Hills, 10 year tell-all’ that life is going by so quickly! 10 years ago sounds like an eternity but it wasn’t eternity, it doesn’t feel long ago in the slightest. I think of my girlfriends from college like sisters, and then I realize it’s been 5 years since I lived in the same city as the majority of them. It’s funny how life can seem to go slow on a day by day basis but actually moves at a rapid pace. That’s why it’s important to take in each moment and really try to appreciate it. Easier said than done, but I always feel a bit happier and more content when I think about the beauty of the moment—whether the moment is big or small. Let each moment soak into your being—the good, bad, exciting, happy, sad, inspirational, confusing—soak ‘em all in because they’ll be gone before you know it.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

 

p.s. speaking of time flying by, Phoebe turns 11 months on Tuesday and I just can’t believe it. Look at how big & beautiful this pup is getting!

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All You Need Is Love…and Friendship

I haven’t written a blog post in a week. I’ve started them, but haven’t been able to finish. I’ve wanted to write one but haven’t been able to find the right words for how I’ve been feeling. Because quite honestly, I’ve been feeling just about everything but inspirational. I still don’t know if I have the “right” words to say but I do know that it’s healthy for me to get out how I’m feeling and that’s what I shall do. Because my hope is that one day, I’ll read this back and it’ll be just a reminder of what I went through and how far I’ve come. And I gotta be honest, I can’t wait for that day. So March 26, 2016 (two years from remission)— get at me.
Last week, I received an email from Dr. Mandi (one of my two absolutely fabulous doctors). I had asked for some sort of outline of the next two years so I could get a better understanding of what was really ahead of me. So I got it, just like I had requested, and it scared the absolute hell out of me. Two years of treatment spelled out in front of me. Two years of a lot of procedures, appointments and chemotherapy. Two years of my life not being my normal life, not being the one I want to live. And being not even two months “in,” it pushed me over a cliff of anxiety, sadness and anger. This past week was hard… both physically and mentally. My body is achey. My head is still pounding from a spinal tap I got 10 days ago. I’m tired, really tired. But worse than the physical annoyances, I’ve been mentally struggling to stay above water. I felt so many emotions and none of them were positive. I felt sad, lonely, overwhelmed, confused, and honestly, pretty pissed off. Pissed off that so many important things in my life have been pushed back or paused. Pissed off that my whole life I’ve always tried to make healthy choices for myself and this still happened. Pissed off that things like taking a shower is a production. I found myself being jealous of complete strangers for reasons like they have long hair or are jogging or walking a dog. I was finding myself having to talk myself out of bed in the morning. And so when Dr. Mandi’s email came and I read, line by line, how intense the next two years will be, it scared me, because I felt like I can’t handle two years of weeks like this.
All in all, I was having a big pttty party for myself and I knew it. But I couldn’t snap myself out of it.
But then Thursday night came and for the first time in days, I went to bed with a big smile on my face. Not because I felt physically any different than the rest of the week, and not because I magically was feeling more positive. Thursday was different because it was the start of a weekend with three of my best friends… one who lives in Boston, one who lives in Chicago and one who lives in North Carolina. And the excitement of spending an entire weekend with my girlfriends was just the medicine I needed. Our time together was different than a typical girls weekend, consisting mostly of ‘lounging’ and relaxing but simply being together took my mind off of everything else and made me happy. So the power of friendship prevailed over anxiety, anger and sadness. Prevailed just when I needed it to. Just when I couldn’t pick myself up on my own. Friends and laughter and love picked me up and gave me something to look forward to and be thankful for and to simply enjoy. Because snuggling on the couch, watching trashy tv, eating candy and making each other giggle is one of the most enjoyable pastimes a girl could ever ask for.
Now my girlfriends have all gone home and it’ll be just me again this week but I feel different than I did on Thursday morning. I feel different because I’ve been reminded that these next two years won’t all be like last week. Some will be, yes. But there will also be a lot of days that are happy and fun and enjoyable. And those are the days that I’m going to think about and look forward to when I begin to put on my pitty party hat again.
So CHEERS to fabulous girlfriends!
XOXO,
Jessy
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p.s. this Sunday I’m thankful for 1. my girlfriends (duhhh), 2. Uncle Fred (my adorable stuffed bear), and 3. the weather finally starting to warm up (but lets face it, I could use another 20 degrees warmer).

Day 22

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Today is the twenty second day of being here at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, floor 7D. Today I cried. Today, like almost every other day, I woke up to doctors coming in my room to examine me and ask me questions. It really wasn’t unlike most other days but for some reason today I hit a wall. I hit a wall of “I want my life back.” I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to have a thousand people pop their heads in “my” room. I don’t want to be in this room. I don’t want one more hospital or frozen meal. I don’t want to poked at and given shots. I don’t want my vitals taken. I don’t want write down how much I’m peeing. I don’t want my fingertips to feel numb. I don’t. I don’t. I don’t. 

I am closer than I have been to going home but I’m feeling farther away from it today. I need to remember all the good things that I have my life and that’s exactly what I’m going to do with this blog. Number one good thing in my life? The people. I am so fortunate to have the most amazing support group and they have helped me get through these twenty two days better than I ever would’ve expected myself to.

I’m lucky that every morning I’ve had a card to open with my breakfast, filled with loving and meaningful words that brighten my spirit and help me feel rejuvenated. This has something that truly has made such a difference in making each day better and I know that not every patient is as lucky. For that, I am so thankful.  

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I’m lucky to not only work for a fabulous company currently that has been so incredibly supportive during this hard time and have sent me gifts, well-wishes and most importantly VISITORS but I’m lucky that that I also have worked for another unbelievably thoughtful company in the past who although I no longer work there took the time to create the most beautiful gift. An origami mobile filled with words of inspiration and encouragement from coworkers. It’s bright, beautiful and unique –I can’t wait until it’s hanging in my home.  

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I’m lucky that everybody wants me to have soft lips….

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I’m lucky that I met the most amazing group of girlfriends in college. Friends that will last my entire lifetime. Friends that make me laugh harder and smile bigger than just about anything. Friends that, although scattered literally across the continental U.S. somehow were able to work together to all pitch in and surprise me with the most beautiful bracelet I’ve ever seen. A bracelet that is engraved and corresponds with the longitude and latitude coordinates of where we all met– Tampa. This gift literally took my breath away because how could it not? How blessed am I to have people this thoughtful in my life? So to my Tampa Betches, you girls have and will always have my heart. 

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I’m lucky that I have the two best friends by my side through this whole thing. Who are more like sisters to me than friends. They’re both always here. Both always have been and always will be. And there’s nothing better than that. 

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I’m lucky that people have, simply put, spoiled me. Spoiled me with the softest blankets to ever touch a BWH bed, the fluffiest stuffed animals in all the land, copious amounts of candy, reading material to last me a year, endless tools to make me the craftiest Somervillian of all time, and most importantly my own personalized bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce.

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I’m lucky that I have the most supportive family I could ever dream of. A sister that’s my best friend and talks to me every day and sees me every chance she gets. A brother-in-law that makes even hard situations a funny one. A little brother that has traveled back from NYC too many times to see me and be with me. Grandparents that text with me everyday (yup, that’s right. Every single one of my grandparents text!) Parents that have been to this hospital almost every single day to give me hugs and kisses and the love that I need more anything else right now. And of course, a niece that sends me stupid adorable pics of herself every day that make me happier than I can even describe. 

(I’ll take any chance I get to show off how adorable this baby is. seriously. she needs to become a baby model— get on that Courtney.) 

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I’m lucky that this guy has slept next to me…in a cot. Every. Single. Night. All 22 days. He didn’t need to do that, but he does it because it makes me feel safe and happy. He does it because he loves me, a lot. And that makes me the luckiest girl in the entire world. 

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So I started writing this blog a little down in the dumps and now, now I feel better. Because how can I not? I have SO much to be thankful for and to feel lucky about. 

I’m off to paint. 

XOXO,

Jessy 

p.s. Here’s the last thing I feel lucky for…I feel lucky that I didn’t choose this 1980’s Metal Band Rockstar Wig. 

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