Wednesday, March 29, 2006

All That Is Necessary For The Triumph Of Evil...

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.
-Edmund Burke

This quote has been wandering through my head for the past day so I have decided to create some resolution for that. I've been rather absorbed with several issues, including the writing of a set of posts about my post-cancer-diagnosis body. However, during one of my breaks to come up for air, I realized that a rather dear sister-friend of mine was experiencing something that she did not deserve to go through alone. It seems that a certain blogger (who shall not be given the benefit of a link from me at this point) had decided to focus her energies on attempting to coerce my sister-friend into kowtowing to her needs.

It's rather sad, really. Upon my initial visit to the blogger, whom I've decided to refer to as TheNeedyOne, it seemed absolutely brimming over with promise. Like me, she is a mami blogger, a woman of color and she and I happen to have similar views on certain institutions. However, the hypocrisy that I also found there left me simply shaking my head at it all. Incredibly, it seems that behind all of the machismo and bravado, there was only one basic emotion behind it all and that was envy. You see, my sister-friend has a very well-developed blog where almost every post she writes draws in a very impressive mix of readers who are quite eager to flesh out the topics my friend introduces.

Enter TheNeedyOne. She's also a blogger but for many reasons, her work doesn't garner the same level of interest as my sister-friend's does. Anyway, she happened to be mentioned by another blogger who has ties to the sacred space created by my sister-friend. Evidently, she (TheNeedyOne) did not approve of the fact that this blogger did not view some of her assertions with the deference she seems to be accustomed to in some sphere of her life. However, I think one would have to be the sort of person who, as Dickens said, "could build a church...by squinting at a sheet of paper" in order to consider TheNeedyOne's next actions as healthy or even logical.

Instead of stating her grievances and negotiating for a solution that would be satisfactory to all of the parties involved, she chose to play the role of petty dictator. She attempted to force my sister-friend to change the entire nature of this blog that was functioning rather well the way it already was. As a result, she ultimately got what she gave off. That is, treatment that was considered rather unsatisfactory to those who received it. I do wonder, how did her behavior get so reinforced prior to this situation as to make it the sole means (of expressing herself) she was able to exhibit when all of this occurred? Unfortunately, because of our differences in communication styles, I doubt that we could even discuss the answer to that question in a way that I would find worth my time.

What's with the sense of entitlement that so many physically healthy people feel? Mother Teresa of Calcutta spoke of poverty as being beautiful in a way and this always aggravated me when I was relatively healthy and enjoying the benefits of my solidly middle-class existence. I'd seen how the possibility of drifting back into poverty was a motivator like no other for those adults around me who had seemingly "lifted themselves up by their bootstraps" from their childhood of subsistence-only living (spent in some "ghetto", "barrio", "tenement" or "housing project") to achieve a Black/Native/Latino/Asian form of the "American Dream". So, how could poverty be a beautiful thing? Well, so far as I've come to see, it's not the poverty itself that is beautiful inasmuch as it is what the poverty can bring with it and that is something that I was only able to see once I was further along on my personal journey.

And that sometimes-companion to poverty is appreciation. It's true that not everyone who experiences poverty of some type will come to appreciate something about life. There are certainly an abundance of folks who will remain bitter and indignant despite the fact that their experiences with oppression only amount to minor inconveniences when measured against the grand scheme of things that people on this planet have faced. However, outside of this group, there are those who use the situations they go through as a means of finding the bittersweet, an opportunity to explore those financially unrewarding but ultimately exquisite delights that are available to every individual with some modicum of sapience.

I think that this ability to see the beauty inherent in everything is what ultimately separates these two potentially powerful women (TheNeedyOne and my sister-friend); One has it and the other, as far as I can see, does not. So, where does this leave all those involved? Well, instead of allowing TheNeedyOne and her cohort TheRiverDenial to co-opt the spaces that my sister-friend has worked so hard to craft, they are simply free to create their own spaces where they can determine what topics will be made a priority. Sometimes, the best we can do is to leave someone to follow their dreams and create their own reality because to do otherwise would require us to forego the pursuit of our own dreams and that is something that no stranger (i.e. those outside of our support systems) has any right to expect us to do. If someone wants to view this as proof that your views and theirs have some sort of adversarial relationship, then that is their issue to work out if it is to be worked out at all. In reality, they may thrive on proving to themselves that there is a dichotomous relationship between them and everyone else. So why take away what seems to make them happy by giving them what they claim will make them happy?

Shared sacred spaces are a wonderful idea but there is no reason why all must be assimilated into the Borg. Having a voice on the internet is not a zero-sum situation. There is room for an infinite number of views to create their own space without diminishing the intrinsic value of any other voice that wants to be heard. I would love to help anyone develop their own space but I REFUSE to allow my space to be defiled by those who seek, not to deconstruct, but to destroy all that I seek to create in order to temporarily satisfy their need to "come, look, and conquer". I only hope that my sister-friend will take the same stance and reclaim that which is hers and hers alone by virtue of her hard work.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

My Body With Cancer: The Introduction

Yesterday I looked at my body in the mirror after getting out of the shower. I was a little eager to do so because I've lost a couple of pounds and I was really happy about that. Maybe you're thinking that's not really a big deal but it is for me. Because I require surgery every couple of years or so, it's important that I keep my weight down so that I don't add to the risks involved in already delicate and dangerous procedures. In the past six months I managed to put on a few pounds mostly due to my stomach problems. In order to keep my stomach from totally erupting when I take some of my medications, I have to eat a lot of food. I try to make sure it's healthy food but I'm not always mindful of this. Incidentally, to anyone who takes narcotics and still has trouble stomaching them despite being on Prilosec or Nexium: Try eating an apple when you take your narcotics. I've found them to be the most perfect food for helping keep your stomach calm. Note: Please don't take this advice if you're on chemotherapy and have been told not to eat fresh fruit or vegetables.

Well, I suppose I should get back on topic. When I looked in the mirror I also saw that one of my scars has gotten bigger. It made me want to cry. I used to love my back. It was absolutely gorgeous. Before the cancer, I had no scars on my body at all, none. I would always get compliments on my gorgeous skin. However, the assault on my body started with my first surgery and has been ongoing ever since then. I thought this would be a really short message but as I started to write I found that I actually had a lot to say, so I've decided to break it up into several posts.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mortimer, We're Back In The Game!

It's been a rough couple of weeks. I've been going through thangs! My initial absence was caused by my own hard-headedness. According to my doctors, I'm not supposed to lift anything heavier than a cat because of all the slicin' and dicin' I've had done on my chest these past few years. Well, what mother do you know that can avoid having to lift things? Don't get me wrong, if someone said that there was only one last gentleman alive on the earth, I'd still be sure that I've got him right here with me. However, I just don't want to live my life having to ask others for everything. It's bad enough that seeking assistance is sometimes unavoidable. So, the result is that I usually ignore the "heavier than a cat" directions.

The truth is, my daughter is a tweenie and I still pick her up and carry her to her bedroom if she falls asleep on the couch. I know, she's old enough to get up and walk herself but it makes me happy to hold her and have her give me sleepy sugar-kisses as I put her in bed. The German says I should stop doing it but I never listen to him.

Well, perhaps I should pay more attention to what I've been told. I've been babysitting my cousin's daughter, LaPetiteSouris, since her mother started working. Well, I don't really consider it babysitting since she's family and it's great fun having her over to keep VanGoghGirl company. She and VanGoghGirl look so much alike that they could be sisters. Things were going quite well. I watched her a couple of times one week and during that time, I carried both her and VanGoghGirl around, sometimes on my back, sometimes tossing them onto the air mattress we put in the living room for her to sleep on when her mom is working late. Well, at some point I really hurt myself. Carrying VanGoghGirl around does strain my back and arm but it's usually not that bad. I think the combination of both girls is what did me in.

So, while the drugs relieved the throbbing pain, I really wasn't able to get much done besides my personal hygiene and putting my daughter's hair in a ponytail for school--that's the one thing that The German simply hasn't been able to master. As if that little injury wasn't bothersome enough, I suddenly started a migraine episode. I try to sleep through them as much as possible but I still had it even when I woke back up. That kept me away a few more days after my arm and chest were feeling better.

I'm happy to say that I'm feeling much better now. I can't wait to catch up on my blog. There are a ton of subjects I've been meaning to write about. I just hate when I've been away from writing for more than a day or two. It always seems so hard to start back up. Where do I begin? Well, I'll probably get started in a few hours. For now, I'm going to try and get my forty winks in before it's time to get VanGoghGirl ready for school.

Thank you so much for all those who left those encouraging messages under my last post. I hope that you reap the benefits of showing kindness to others when you encounter your own hard times.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Out of Order

I have so much to write about but haven't been able to do so for a few days. My left arm is a bit out of commission right now. I'm always trying to test my physical limitations and it seems that I over-worked my left side and I'm paying for it now. The choice is either take all the meds that I'd need in order to avoid the pain right now or be alert enough to make much sense. As you can probably tell, I've been choosing the medication most of the time lately. I'm hoping that today I'll be able to function with less drugs since I've given this side a while to rest. Somewhere during this week, I lost an entire day. Blech!! I hate having "medicine-head". I just slept for over half the day and now I'm probably going to be all jet-lagged again. I'm beginning to think that I'm just naturally nocturnal. Oh well. I'm going back to sleep now.