|photo by Sarah Elizabeth|
This is how my heart works--abundantly, truthfully, and without hesitation. If you have been in my home, if I have eaten with you, if I have laughed at something you’ve said, chances are that I am madly in love with you.
This falling into love sometimes has been inconvenient. It sometimes has been safe and true and sweet and good. It sometimes has been raucous and kinky. It sometimes has been unavoidable and heartbreaking.
It never has been a waste of time.
I fell in love again recently.
I didn’t stop loving anyone else in order to love more. There was nothing tawdry, or illicit, or unforgivable in it--that is not how I love or how I live. My heart simply got bigger. I don’t know if falling in love was something I needed to feel one more time before I die, or if falling in love was a way for me to feel something else besides cancer. Perhaps when one is getting ready to die, one just starts falling in love as much as possible. Or, perhaps it was about allowing myself to imagine, however briefly, that a different life, one without cancer, could have been, should have been mine.
Maybe it was all of these things. Maybe it was none of them. Maybe my heart just recognized itself.
I will not spend the end of my life mired in regret or sadness over what might have been. I have been too well loved for that kind of silliness. I, however, will live grasping, reaching, holding onto, and soaking my ass in love--big love, small love, passionate love, platonic love, gentle love, righteous love. I am going to die in love and also so deeply loved! This is the legacy I have built and this is what I will leave behind. And you might as well get on board, because you sure as hell can't stop me. I get to love whomever I want.
Loving like this makes me lighter. Loving like this cures cancer. Loving like this will not have been a waste of time.
I read once that when you are dying, life flashes before your eyes. This must only happen when one dies suddenly and quite by accident. I’ve been navigating my own death since I was 26. I will be 35 in May. The hospital visits, the tests, the treatments, the fear, the hope, the resignation. These have not flashed by quickly, and they have taken up a lot of my living.
I don’t get to have a lifetime to experience A LOT of things. And lately I find that what little I have experienced isn’t flashing before my eyes, but wrapping its sweet self around me and telling me, “You have been loved. You are not alone. You are so very lucky.”
I remember everything. My entire life is right in front of me, turning slowly, and wanting to know if it looks fat in these jeans.
I remember everything. I remember my bullies. I remember my crushes. I remember being picked up. I remember being laid down. You each have a place, however great or small, in those memories. My list of loves is truly endless.
The Sikhs believe all men should be lions and all women princesses. I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t agree more, because I believe it to be true. And this combination of bravery and beauty that we all possess, it is intoxicating.
I am going to die and it is going to be ok. It really is going to be ok. I have been in love with quiet men and with lions. Big women and small women have held me. Children have been in my arms.
This hasn’t been a waste of time.
I wasn’t trying on life just to see how it would fit. I was wearing it like a three-piece-suit, with a top hat and a cane full of glitter. I was relishing it, in full view and behind closed doors. I was figuring it out. I was succeeding at it, even when it felt as though I was failing.
I spent time in rooms with people I loved and with people I hated.
I was happy. I was afraid. I was in mother-fucking love.
I read. I worked. I ate. I fucked. I laughed. I lied. I even stole something once.
I took shortcuts. I judged. I gossiped.
I didn’t tell people when they hurt me. I simply disappeared from their lives because it was the easier thing to do.
I was lazy and I watched entirely too much television.
I held a lot of babies. I drank tea in Joey’s kitchen. Sera and Cameron made me beautiful. Kira made me laugh. Paula loved me like a daughter. Abbey and Big Daddy fed me. Sarah Alice taught me about boys and how to drive. Abby, Christine, Clayton, and Emma played with me. Pammy showed me how to be sexy. Ingrid, in her crazy way, taught me the importance of grace. My Staunton Angels never gave up. And I was young and adored and treated like a queen in Puerto Rico.
I took chances. I was forgiving. I was kind.
I had a puppy.
I was held, and cared for, and forgiven.
I snorted water up my nose in the shower. I got sunburned. I got splinters.
I was in shock and awe. I knew magic. I got drunk.
And Christopher made my breakfast nearly every morning for eleven years.
This most certainly has not been a waste of time.
I want to be a girl again next time. Because being a girl is the most wonderful and delightful thing. I want to be stronger next time; better next time; smarter next time. I want bigger tits next time.
I think I’ll run for president next time. My campaign platform: “Be nice to each other. Stop smoking. Eat more pie.”
I am thankful for so many things.
Jesse Miller’s smoke rings
Leslie Banta clouds
My true, dear, good friends… the forever kind… my diamonds
My princesses, my lions
My mother reading to me
My father forcing me to watch science fiction movies
My sisters putting up a good fight
My brother’s quiet love
Books, music, food, fairies, unicorns…
Eliot Marrow Ward
Look for me. Everywhere. Because that is where I will be. I will send you butterflies, blue ones.
Until, of course, I find a nice fat baby who has room for a soul that needs to grow up again, eat ice cream again, fall in love again, and again, and again, and again…
I hope she is tall. I hope she is gentle. I hope she is kind.
I hope she plays the piano.
This has not been a waste of time. It has been lovely because of you. And it is because of you that I have found peace. I have heard angels. I have seen the sky sparkling with diamonds.
And I am so fucking in love with you I can hardly stand it.
[Love X Infinity]2