I'd never been an especially cheerful person growing up. My parents' divorce had really shaken up my world when I was ten years old. I had a very difficult time in elementary school being the only black girl in the gifted program in a predominantly white school. The other kids and I couldn't relate to one another, I think. I was always kinda sickly. If my brothers caught any sort of virus or childhood illness, I was sure to get it the worst.
My teenaged years weren't great but they were certainly better than a lot of people had, I'm sure. Hey, throughout it all, I still had food to eat, a roof over my head, and clothes to wear. Those facts alone make most of my problems seem like the grumbling of an American with no idea how people live in some parts of the world. So, overall I consider myself fairly lucky and definitely blessed beyond what I deserve. It hasn't always been easy to see it that way though, like three years ago when I was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma.
Even though it was months between when the doctors spotted the thing and when they were able to give me a firm diagnosis, my life turned into a whirlwind with absolutely no prior notice. I've always suffered from depression and I'd even been hospitalized for it twice but that was before the cancer. What do you think happens when someone basically tells you "Uh, you have this really big tumor in your chest and we're going to perform a bunch of life-threatening surgeries but we have no reason to believe that we'll ever be able to cure you"?
I don't even remember how I managed to get through those days. I can only attribute it to God's holy spirit. I mean, isn't news like that just the excuse that a formerly-suicidal girl needs to send her over the edge? I think that God sent The German into my life because He knew what I was going to be facing. The German and I both witnessed a grandparent deal with and eventually succumb to cancer.
I was dating CaliGuy when I was diagnosed with Lupus. We'd been together for a little over a year and things were going fairly well. Even though the lupus diagnosis didn't change my life nearly as much as the cancer did, it turned out to be more than CaliGuy could handle. He'd never dealt with issues like that. To this day, I don't think he's a bad guy but he just wasn't the sort of person who was cut out to deal with someone who had those sorts of needs.
CaliGuy was a poet too. One year, for the anniversary of our relationship, he gave me this book that he had bound with all of the poetry that he'd ever written to and about me. It was a really amazing gift. Yet, he was never ready to commit. I think he wanted to believe that he would be ready if he found the right girl but that wasn't the problem. I probably wouldn't have ever left him if he hadn't broken up with me. That's not something I'm proud to admit anymore because I don't believe you get any merit badges in heaven for putting yourself through hell unnecessarily but I have to be honest about it to give you an idea of the level of loyalty I had to this guy.
CaliGuy and I still keep in touch. He always calls me on my birthday which I truly appreciate. He's in a really difficult relationship with an older woman now. We talk about it sometimes. Am I a horrible person for hoping that he sees how he made me feel when we were together? I wonder if he ever thinks about that.