Nº. 2 of  335

Boooo Cancer. You suck!

I'm going to kick your ass.

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No makeup equals… what, exactly?

I was debating whether or not to write something about this whole “no makeup selfie for breast cancer awareness” thing that is happening. Obviously I chose to write something. My reason for doing so is twofold. First though, let me start off by saying that the good intentions of everyone involved in taking a picture of themselves without makeup has not been lost on me. I get what they are trying to do. And apparently a good deal of money has been raised. For what? I’m not sure? Research? Outreach? Education? I don’t think it’s any of those, but okay. 

These trends seem to pop up from time to time. They are always well intentioned. I get that. But what do they really do? The goal, supposedly, is to raise awareness of breast cancer. You’ve all heard me say this before but I’ll just go ahead and say it again. I’m pretty sure we are all aware that breast cancer exists. Heck, why stop there? Now I see there are guys posting pictures of themselves with socks on their *ahem* man bits to raise awareness for testicular cancer. Both very serious diseases, the seriousness of which gets kind of pushed to the side when you see a person with a sock on their you-know-what or a million selfies popping up all over the place. Do those things bring the focus to cancer? Do they make you think about cancer and the fact that it is an epidemic? Do they educate you? Or do they just make you laugh and think oh how funny? Cancer is not funny. Trust me. It’s not. 

The phrase “raise awareness” makes me weary. I inevitably sigh when I hear it and make a face that is probably not so nice. How about if with every selfie that people are posting they list some of the things you can do to check for cancer? Or how about they talk about knowing your body? Or your family history? Or anything?! Nine times out of ten I don’t see a single thing that is in any way informative when these “awareness” trends pop up. Education is the best weapon we have right now in dealing with this disease. Not going makeup free. And while I’m on the subject, what the heck is that all about any way? Is it supposed to be brave to post a picture of yourself with no makeup? What have we come to that we only present a version of ourselves that is made up or “perfect”? Almost every girl I know looks GORGEOUS without makeup. Once I met up with a friend for coffee and she apologized for not having any makeup on which caught me off guard, as did the fact that I had NO idea she had freckles on her face!! They were beautiful and so was she. I mean truly stunning without makeup. 

Sadly, I feel the only discussion that is being raised as a result of women and girls going makeup free is how people look without makeup. I’ve looked at some of the comments being left on various selfies popping up and it’s not a conversation about cancer, it’s a conversation that is reassuring the person who posted the picture that they still look great without makeup. That’s not the dialogue we need to have happening if the goal is truly to get people informed about how they can really stay on top of things. Let’s start a conversation about breast exams. Knowing our bodies so we can monitor any changes that might come up which could prove to be harmful. 

I think if there’s going to be a no makeup selfie trend happening it should be to “raise awareness” for how beautiful girls and women really are without a bunch of cosmetics piled on their faces. We are all so unique and special. It’s a shame to feel like you have to hide yourself in order to walk out the door. You’re beautiful just as you are! And as for raising awareness for breast cancer… how about we just focus on education? Real education and getting the word out about what you can do to stay on top of your health. Or how about posting selfies of yourself at a doctors office when you go for a checkup? Something that shows action! It’s going to take more than not wearing makeup to really make a difference. That is not to say that it’s not great to want to help out somehow, but the best way anyone can help is by getting the facts and taking action. We are all aware cancer exists. The question is: do you know what to do about it? 

Well whadda ya know? I added a wee link up top to all of the fun stuff I’ve been working on lately. Mainly my collage work but some other projects as well, including all of the plates and bowls that I hand painted for a restaurant here in town! Have a little looksie if you feel like it! Hope you’re all having a great day! 

Last time I checked on your blog your hair was just growing back. I remember you saying that it was coming in a different color and now I finally found your blog again and I see your hair is so long! I'm so glad you're doing well! asked by mellarq

Well welcome back, vitalumvitaliss! So nice to hear from you! It seems crazy to think about the fact that I was bald, and then to think how short my hair was for awhile. I feel lucky in that my hair has grown back in just as thick as it was before. At first when it started growing back I had a MAJOR case of the chemo curls which were later said to resemble a “nana perm”, hahaha! The curls eventually loosened up and my kinda straight/kinda wavy hair came back. I gotta tell you… I couldn’t be happier. I know my hair isn’t that long, but it feels like the longest hair in the world to me! 

Thanks so much for saying hello! Hope you have a nice day! 

I don’t know about you but I could use a little musical interlude right about now. How about the Shadows of Knight? Sounds good to me! This one is good for shaking off things you can’t seem to shake on your own! 

The Bystander Effect

Today I had something pretty upsetting happen. In hindsight what I did might have proven to be stupid, if not fatal, but I did it and that’s that. I was on the subway headed to an appointment uptown. As usual, I was listening to music and trying to tune out the crazy around me. If you’ve ever been on a train in NYC you know that most of the time you just keep your eyes down and get on with things. There can be a lot of weirdos on the trains. Now, I was sitting at the very back of the car I was in. All of a sudden every single person on the train stampeded to the back. And I mean everyone. I could not figure out what was going on, only that everyone was panicked and trying to get away from something. I figured somebody had probably thrown up or something gross like that, so I took my earphones out to see what the commotion was all about. As it turned out, two guys, maybe in their twenties, were beating the every loving shit out of some kid. Well, he looked like he was maybe 18 or something. He looked young. I couldn’t believe it. I could hear the punches as they came down on this kid. Each one louder than the next and each one making everyone on the train gasp in horror. 

Before I realized what I was doing I stood up and said “isn’t anybody going to break this up?” No one responded. I guess this next part might have been pretty dumb but I was on some kind of weird auto-pilot. I pushed through the crowd of people and headed into the fight. I heard someone mutter “she’s going the wrong way” as I passed by them. I didn’t care. Somebody was hurt. Someone was attacking another human being, beating them senseless. The poor kids face was all bloodied from the attack. He looked like he was scared out of his mind. There were two guys beating him up but one was definitely the ringleader. He was mean and more angry than I have ever seen someone in my life. 

Everything happened very quickly. I started screaming “STOP IT!! STOP IT!!” at the top of my lungs but that didn’t work so I basically draped myself on the kid to keep him from getting punched or kicked any more. I just kept yelling “stop it stop it!” as the two other guys tried to come at him again. By some miracle, and I mean MIRACLE, this was all happening as we pulled up to the next train station. When I say it all happened fast I mean FAST. The doors opened and I literally dragged the kid by the arm out of the train and on to the platform. I told him to run for his life and go find a cop. He was crying and said that they guys were still coming after him so I stood on the platform and tried to cause a scene to scare the other two guys into staying on the train. 

The crazy thing is that people walked right by me and didn’t say a word. Not a single thing. They didn’t try to help the kid even when he was on the platform and trying to get away from the two bad guys. I felt strange, like I had done something wrong. Or like I was bad for causing a scene. I know that sounds weird. The train left the station with the two guys on it, and I stood on the platform in a daze as the next two trains pulled up and then departed. And then suddenly the strangest thing happened. I heard the most beautiful sound echoing around me. It was the sound of an opera. I looked around and there was a normal looking younger guy on the platform who had suddenly burst into song. He had the most incredible voice I had ever heard. I stared at him and listened to his song until the next train rolled in, and then I got on and sat quietly as it drifted along into the tunnel. 

Luckily my appointment uptown was with my therapist! It was really bizarre. I was fine until I got there and then I just started crying and crying and I couldn’t stop. I’m still crying now and I don’t really know why. I understand now that what I did could have ended badly. I could have been hit, stabbed, shot, or who knows what. I get it. And I that the knowledge or fear of what could happen is what made my fellow passengers freeze. I guess I should have thought it out a little bit more myself but I just did the first thing I could think of to stop it. I have never seen someone so angry before. I’ve never really even seen a fight like that up close. And not one that was SO aggressive. I truly believe that the one guy would have beaten that kid until he passed out. He was that angry. About what? I have no idea. 

I don’t know what the point of all of this is. This blog has just always been my safe place to vent about the things that go on in my life which seem out of my hands or over my head. I am not naive. I know there is cruelty in the world. It is just a terrible thing to witness firsthand. I hope, wherever that boy is, that he is alright. I hope he has some loving family to take care of him tonight and that he stays out of trouble. I hope the guys who beat him up can find a way to let go of that anger but I fear they will not. Most of all I hope wherever you all are that you are safe too, and that someone is looking out for you. 

This is currently playing in my cozy little apartment so I thought I’d share it with all of you. Nothing like a little Glenn Miller to keep you warm when it’s cold outside. 

You are a really inspirational person. I hope you know that! The way you handle your ''situation'' is really amazing. Such a brave girl! Just recently a family member of mine was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I'm always there for my family and I'm extremely supportive but I'm suffering inside. It hurts my soul to know someone i love is fighting to stay alive. I'm really scared and anxious though I never ever show anything. I keep all the pain inside. Any advice on how to fight away my fears? asked by katherinemars315

Well thank you, katherinemars315. I really appreciate your kind words. I do the best that I can with whatever little speed bumps cancer likes to throw my way. Luckily I’ve been feeling good lately so that’s always a blessing. 

It’s hard when someone you know is diagnosed with cancer. All of a sudden everything changes and things get very real very quickly, don’t they? I don’t think you have to worry about trying to hide your fears. In fact, I think it’s healthy to let them show. I know we are often taught to “conquer” our fears, and in some cases that is a good thing, but being afraid for someone you love is natural. I think it’s alright if you tell the person you care about that you really love them and want to be there for them no matter what but that you’re afraid. That’s okay! Cancer is scary! The most important is what you are already doing which is being supportive for the person who is going through all of this. You’re already doing the right thing! Look at you! 

Fear isn’t always bad. Sometimes it comes from a very real place. I think in this case that is what you are dealing with. Just know that you are doing everything you can to be there for this person and that scary or not you will be able to get through this and so will they. 

Sending you both good vibes! xo

Jut recently my mom got diagnosed with cancer and I have no idea what to tell her and you look so happy and full of life in your pictures. Could you give me some words of encouragement I could pass on to her? asked by theyoungparadise

Hello theyoungparadise,

Of course! I’m really sorry to hear about your mom’s diagnosis, but at the same time it is really great that you are already looking at how you can support her. It’s (obviously) hard having cancer. But what I found going through my own particular journey is that it is also very hard for your friends and family. They want so much to be there for you but it’s not always easy to know how

Now, don’t get me wrong, I had some REALLY tough days while I was going through treatment. I certainly cried. I probably got mad at one point or another. Still, there is happiness in living and having wonderful supportive people (like yourself!!) around to help you out. I think the very best thing you can do for your mom is just to be there for her. I know that sounds so oversimplified, but it’s truly the best thing you can do. Sometimes we just need someone to sit quietly with us while we think about what is going on, sometimes we need a good laugh to shake us out of our funk, sometimes we just want to feel “normal” again while going through treatment. So long as you are there for your mom as much as you can be you’ll be doing the right thing! Giving her lots of love and support is truly the best thing you could do for her. So basically, just be you! Because I have a feeling you are awesome and supportive as it is if you’re looking for ways to help her already! 

Please feel free to write anytime if you ever have any questions or just need to talk. And please send your mom all my best wishes and thoughts. I’ll be sending lots of good vibes her way. 

Take care! xo

Not my favorite holiday, but I do love YOU guys! Hope you’re all knee deep in chocolate right now and staying nice and warm, wherever you may be!

Not my favorite holiday, but I do love YOU guys! Hope you’re all knee deep in chocolate right now and staying nice and warm, wherever you may be!

Hmm… feeling a little low today so a little Dory Previn is just right and helps to sooth to my soul. 

Nº. 2 of  335