It’s like getting ready to have a baby. Everything about the experience is unknown until it isn’t, so you spend your minutes, hours, and days just preparing for who even knows what…you just know there’s gonna be something new coming into your life, and you trust that you’ll figure it out.

In the meantime though, you’re folding haggard towels and fluffing pillows that are past their prime, and completing other menial tasks that somehow give order to the mayhem that is trying to rule your every thought. I think I have nested the shit out of everything I have the patience for here in these humble surroundings we call home, so I’m just gonna sit back and focus on breathing in every possible aspect of life that is just there waiting patiently for me to notice.

I have exactly 17 candles lit and glowing at me, and the flickers and flames fill me with tranquility. Something reminiscent of growing up around campfires maybe. I think campfires always work and that maybe we intuit that knowingness on a guttural level; thus we keep having them, no matter the generation.

I’ve not really thought about that before, but you can just be, without having to be anything or anyone at all. You can choose your degree of participation from 0 to 100 and there is no possible way that every single one of us can’t find our perfect number along that spectrum. And you don’t have to be the same number each time either. Just trust the flame. Get lost in the flicker. The rest will work itself out.

Walking my way through this cancer thing is comparable to when I was beginning to learn ASL as a 26 year old I-just-have-to-commit-to-something community college student. Somehow I chose a profession where my most comfortable place was always a 0. Anyone who knows the pre-40’s version of me knows that I much preferred being the wallpaper as opposed to anything that had to try and display confidence in any way.

It makes absolutely no sense that I chose the worst possible career for myself…except that it actually ended up growing me from a 0 to a much higher level of comfort with life in general. There are myriad reasons why, but the most important is that I grew because of my discomfort, not because I avoided it. And I love those battle scars. They remind me who I really am and what I am capable of.

I like the analogy I just made. I like how it feels, and I like how it helps to raise my comfort level from a 0 to at least a 9 right now. It’s likely even higher than that, but 9 is my favorite number so it seems a fitting place to set as a benchmark.

Shout out to my candles tonight, and the bottle of Malbec I procured that makes me feel like my daddy is sitting here with me. That was his wine of choice the last couple times I was gifted with a little splatter of time to spend with him. I choose Malbec more times than not now, just to feel my soul dance in his honor.

Funny how facing your mortality for real makes you really just step back and think. I’m a solid 99 in that space. I love how tears are winning me over now too. They are so essential to honesty; vulnerability; life. I’ve never been afraid of the tears of others; in fact, I find them comforting and so humanly beautiful. In the last couple of days I have actually grown in my acceptance of said tears when it is my eyes from which they fall.

I believe this to be true though…we all know that tears don’t originate in the eyes. Tears are a byproduct of our souls just blowing up with emotion and probably so many other things that we don’t understand. The most beautiful and telling and honest and vulnerable and deserving conduit through which to share the very best of ourselves is through our eyes. Our souls are screaming to come out; our eyes are trying to protect us. Sometimes our eyes are a 2 and sometimes they’re a 27, and sometimes, just sometimes…they’re an 89…and that is where the magic happens.

I’m gonna try real hard to make this journey an 89. I think allowing myself any less would be complacent in being the both the version of myself I love the most, and the fighter I know how to be.

And it would be disrespectful to every one of you who is on this journey with me. None of us chose this, but we’re all going to be better because of it.

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