Thanksgiving in June

Thank you, Dear Readers, for reaching out to me with a wonderful list of book titles, podcasts, YouTube suggestions, movie recommendations, and songs. You truly lifted my spirits! Although I can’t say that I feel 100% recharged, I do feel as though I am free to find beauty in the world around me again.

I mean, come on, look at these irises! They were a complete surprise to me. I had no idea that they were even growing around our front porch until Luna led me to them.

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I still do not have an immune system, so gardening is not an option for me. BUT I can enjoy observing what’s already growing here (I can also dead-head—while wearing gloves—which may be an experience that finds its way into a fiction project).

Speaking of fiction, I have been writing and submitting again. My novel, Greenwood (once known as Weather Witch), is now in the capable hands of Entangled Publishing. Hopefully, this time, it will exceed expectations, be on par with the trends of the literary market and find its way into a shareable format.

It would be a dream come true to see it published.

If that doesn’t happen, it’ll go back to hiding in my desk drawer…or excerpts will find their way to this blog. I always meant for Of Pieridae & Perras to include my fiction. Maybe it’s time to start sharing it….

Thank you, again, for sending me so much positivity. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Your support has given me—and continues to give me—strength. Please continue to send light and love.

 

With Love,

Laura

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Springing Ahead

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With the time change this past weekend, I began to think about the future. Usually, when I think about it, my mind becomes fear-filled. I’m not quite sure what happened, but this time, I started day-dreaming about the possibility of happier times. I thought I’d share some of the day-dreams that made me smile:

  • For those of you who don’t know, we’ve been house-hunting! Eventually, we will find the perfect house to turn into our own home. So, step one, find and get the house. Step two, hit day 365 post-transplant, obtain Boston’s approval, and bring Alderaan to his new home. Step three, once Aldie has adjusted to the change, we will adopt a (rather large, cuddly) canine that is feline-friendly.
  • Get Boston’s approval to play in the dirt because, although I do not have a green thumb (it’s more like the thumb-of-impending-plant-doom-and-death), I would like to garden. I want to plant giant sunflowers and hollyhocks. I want to raise string beans and snow peas. I am curious about growing Hops.
  • I am excited for the dietary changes that September will bring. I can’t wait to add honey to my tea! I miss honey—just like I miss Goat and Feta Cheeses. Some caramel popcorn would be nice, too.

I am well-aware that you cannot live in the future. We must live in the present. And, yet, in this present moment, I am tired of living in fear of another relapse and/or developing some secondary cancer. This isn’t my first rodeo with cancer, so I know that these fears will never entirely go away. I can, however, choose to ignore these dismal thoughts (unless it becomes apparent that there actually is something wrong with me). Instead, I can summon courage and stubbornness, boldly filling my mind with springtime sunshine, daisies, and the chirp of robins.

We were supposed to go to Boston this coming Wednesday for a check-up, but as many of you probably already know, we’ll be getting a Nor’easter instead. So, we’ll be playing it safe and staying home. I know I don’t really get a say in this, but I refuse to die in a car crash on my way to a cancer/transplant appointment. I mean, how ironic would that be?  So, no. No Boston this week, but I will call later today and reschedule the appointment. Please send light and love.

 

With Love,

Laura

Still an Elf

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There is something truly magical about Halloween—and I am not referring to ghouls, goblins or foaming, green potions. I am, simply, lauding the fact that Halloween is the one night of the year that we are each invited to stretch our sorely underutilized imaginations and be whatever it is that we want to be.

We can save the world as firefighters or superheroes.

We can be our polar opposites and don the masks of villains.

Or, we can reconnect with the parts of ourselves that we thought were gone, lost when the world turned cold and ugly.

For me, the last few Halloweens have felt a bit like taking a ferry ride on a windy day. I couldn’t find my sea legs; I couldn’t find a costume that really felt like home. I tried ascribing my uneasiness to the fact that I was branching out—replacing my usual elvish and princess costumes with devil horns and sparkly tops. And, yes, the high heels fit, but it didn’t feel right, it didn’t feel like me.

One of the hardest parts of cancer survivorship to grasp—and live with—is the way in which it impacts your sense of self, your sense of worth. Even after your hair grows back and the scars begin to pale, it’s hard to see beauty in the mirror. It’s hard to see anything, really, beyond the ghost of bandages and hospital gowns. The eyes that stare back at you cannot see the teenage version of you that dressed up as Arwen from Lord of the Rings. Those eyes no longer belong to the little girl that, for nearly every Halloween, was some version of a princess.

It was with this thought in mind—that I could never be a princess, never be an elf again—that I prepared for this Halloween weekend. I needed a costume, preferably a cheap costume, and yet no matter how many times I searched Pinterest, nothing was really speaking to me.

And, just as the panic was starting to settle in to stay, I found one of my elf ears.

The ear was sitting atop my old desk, inconspicuous among a stack of well-worn books and pens, as if I had simply taken it off and forgotten to put it away. I knew, even as I picked the ear up, that I couldn’t be Arwen. I was missing an ear and, even if Arwen’s silvery dress still fit, there was no way I could step into that role. Arwen was beautiful. She glowed. And what did I look like? What did I do? I had circles under my eyes from not sleeping well and scars from procedures that Arwen’s character would have never even heard of.

No, I couldn’t be Arwen.

But I could be an elf…missing an ear…if I donned a head bandage splattered with faux blood.

It’s silly-sounding, I know, but there was peace in parting my hair and pinning it up like an elf’s. There was something grounding about watching my face transform in the mirror, glowing gold and silver with make-up. There was something empowering about putting on my one ear and covering the other—the missing one—with gauze.

I’m still an elf.

Maybe I can’t be Arwen anymore. Maybe I am tired now and have seen too many ugly things—but I can be the elf that went to battle. I can be banged up and bloodied, and I can still be beautiful.

Because, dear readers, that’s the magic of Halloween. We can be anything we want to be—including ourselves.