I wrote this a few nights ago in the depths of what a friend described as ‘night yips’. I believe it’s a pretty accurate representation of a low moment in my cancer treatment…one I tried to brute force my way through with humor:
So it’s almost 3 am and I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about dying. I’m not sad, or scared or depressed.
I’m mostly embarrassed.
The whole cancer thing does come with a side order of thinking about dying, because no matter what your prognosis, as far as I know no metastatic cancer is 100% curable. So sooner or later you end up considering your own end. And because that sucks, if you’re anything like me you end up thinking about your life instead and come to the immediate conclusion that you are an incredible dickhead.
No autocorrect, I do not mean dixhead.
I don’t know about you but my brain seems to want to take a scenic tour through all the times I’ve been selfish, or stupid, or thoughtless or cowardly. I haven’t uncovered a lot of malice but selfishness and thoughtlessness take very little dressing up do a really good impression of malice so I’m covered there too.
It’s absolutely cringeworthy. I am actually red in the face right now remembering some of it. It’s not like this is all old stuff either, some of it’s fresh enough to sprinkle some hot fresh guilt in over the shame and embarrassment.
Did I mention the embarrassment? It’s like being wrapped in an itchy blanket made out of your own failings. It is a substandard warming device.
So, in a mental effort towards not feeling like a shitheel tomorrow, I try to remember the times I’ve been brave (rare but not non existent. And I mean actually brave in terms of choosing to be brave instead of cancer brave where you get no choice), or I’ve been kind or smart or funny or anything else I actually aspire to be. Those times are there but my brain sort of slides around them. Sometimes I can hold one for a few moments and I think ‘dang, that right there was when I actually was the person I pretend I am’ as opposed to the bad stuff where I’m being the person I’m scared I *actually* am.
And as three am proper rolls around, it occurs to me that while I wish the good stuff I’ve done cancelled out the bad it doesn’t work like that. Good me doesn’t get to dispose of bad me, they’re just two fat blokes stuck in a doorway clawing at each other while the rest of my psyche looks on in horrified silence.
In this metaphor the rest of my mind is eating something delicious, becuase if I have to freak out at three am then at least some part of me gets to have some icecream.
So what’s the point of all this? I don’t think there is one, I’m just rambling around in my shame blanket (once again; poor heating device, itchy, would not buy again). Although, crap when I look back this is really really long…
Shit there should be a point. Quick make one up….
Actually here’s one: at some point you’re going to end up at some ungodly hour of the morning, alone because you don’t want to wake anyone else up, because God knows the only person you can wake up really needs a good night’s sleep no matter what they tell you about waking them up if this three am thing happens, and you’re going to think about your life and you are going to fucking wish there were more times you can remember where you were actually the person you pretend to yourself that you are.
That’s the point. Because I promise you three am is coming.
And as I wonder about the wisdom of posting this online, the cat has come to remind me that it’s now closer to four am, and really that’s practically breakfast time.