Being surrounded

I feel like I’m constantly between extremes. Joy and sadness. Strength and fear. Loneliness and comfort.

I went out on Friday with one of my best friends. We hadn’t had a night like that in so long were just laughed. Hard. At everything. It’s like all we both have been going through was just put aside for a couple hours and our normal shenanigans pulled through.

I also had a realization that night that I’m surrounded by friends in Lincoln. Growing up in Omaha, casually running into someone you know is few and far between. In Lincoln, it’s hard to go out without seeing someone you recognize at a minimum.

At dinner, we ended up sitting at the bar next to a family member of a friend. The next people to replace their seats was a former coworker of mine. Another former coworker and friend went out of his way to find me and say ‘hi’. Former students from across the bar make their way to see us, run into friends at the next bar, know the bartender, the list goes on.

Even going on game day, everywhere I went there were ‘surprise’ friends I hadn’t seen in so long. At the game out of 90,000 people, friends were a couple seats down and a couple rows back, and the guy behind me even knew who I was.

Some people, I feel like mostly from small towns, despise this. But I’ve never felt so at home.

I don’t think I will ever forget my first day back at my house after surgery, and having a complete melt down on the floor of my living room. I missed my home, my normalcy, my friends and familiarity. I missed the life i created for myself in lincoln. I’m even crying now about how sad i was and how much I missed it. I don’t know if I’ve ever missed anything so badly in my life.

Technology also plays a huge role in feeling connected. I’ve had so many past friends reconnect, even ones I haven’t talked to since high school. I feel have friends turned family in states that don’t even border Nebraska. I continue to meet new and interesting people. I’ve never felt closer to my real family.

But there’s always going to be something missing that my friends and family can’t fulfill. It’s waking up on these cold mornings with the windows open and being able to cuddle up next to someone else. It’s having a passion for someone else and a unique love that can only be shared with a boyfriend/ husband.

It’s something I just can’t do right now. I learned last year that it’s just a big part of who I am, and I miss it. As much as I feel so loved right now, there will always be that hole.

That’s not to say that first thing after my surgery I’m looking to jump into something. I’m also not saying I absolutely won’t get involved until after surgery.

I guess I’m just extremely leery, for multiple reasons. Let’s be realistic – I have a lot going on and can’t guarantee what my next several years will look like.

I also feel like I’ve had my legs knocked out from under me. All that I learned last year in dating now seems irrelevant, and I have to play by a new set of rules. I like to think I’m an extremely upfront and honest person.

I ran into an oldish flame a couple weeks ago. He asked what’s new since we last saw each other in January. The situation seemed entirely inappropriate to bring it up, so lied and keep my secrets. I feel like I now have this guilty burden I’ve been carrying since. This encounter of course led to texting, which also seems like an innappropriate situation to talk about it. When is the appropriate time to bring it up?

I also have to acknowledge the extremes I’m living in. Would extremely joy be countered with an even greater sadness and fear? I feel like I already carry a lot of pain and don’t want to expose myself to more from an entirely different direction. I can deal with the stress and extreme feelings, but how much can one person take on by getting into a relationship that couldn’t work out? It can be very painful.

I also maintain my standards. I’ve set my expectations high. Having so many people step up and show their support has re-enforced that I deserve the best. For me and for the people who care about me. While I feel like I’ve revisited by chance every guy I had an interest in since last year, I can’t help but tell myself it didn’t work out last time, so don’t try to force it again. There was something about them That didn’t fit, and I shouldn’t compromise my wants just because the situation I’m in. While I’m not actively trying to engage anyone new, that doesn’t mean I should settle for the best I can do right now.

I’ve been exposed a lot the last week or so what happens when people do compromise, and it’s just not worth it in the long run.

I wrote a post near this time last year that declared I wasn’t dating until 2013. This year, I’m declaring that I’m not dating until I’m able to climb a mountain. I’m climbing a mental mountain and a metaphorical mountain physically. I wont commit until I can physically get myself to the top. It’s an unfulfilled goal I set in the past, and I want to feel like I’m recovered physically and in a good and healthy place before I get involved with anyone else.

So, for now, I’ll just keep focusing on the amazing people in my life now. Often I honestly do take a hard look at my friends, family, coworkers, and think about how inspirational, happy, generous and badass they are. I often do ask myself, “why do they let me hang out with them?” or “why do they take interest in me when they have so many bigger things going on?”

I can’t help but feel blessed when I get random flowers from “an inspired friend” and not be able to begin to figure out who sent them, because I can think of so many sweet and thoughtful people that would do that for me. How did I get so lucky to have so many in my life?

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Author: Clarissa A.

The older I get, the less I know.

3 thoughts on “Being surrounded”

  1. It’s not luck Claire. You must be a very sweet person to have so many people who do care about you that much. And remember that having cancer does not make you someone else. It’s something that is happening to you, but not who you are. So, of course, people still WANT you to hang out with them and still WANT to be around you. Here is a poem I like:

    “What Cancer Cannot Do”

    Cancer is so limited…
    It cannot cripple love.
    It cannot shatter hope.
    It cannot corrode faith.
    It cannot eat away peace.
    It cannot destroy confidence.
    It cannot kill friendship.
    It cannot shut out memories.
    It cannot silence courage.
    It cannot reduce eternal life.
    It cannot quench the Spirit.
    Author: Unknown

    Yes, it might make hair fall out or limit your strength. It might change your life completely (at least for awhile), but it doesn’t change you or how much people love and care about you. If anything, it makes both of those things stronger. But it’s ok to grieve too. Sadly, you are losing a part of your carefree life that may not ever be something you can quite get back. It’s hard to live carefree when you are so astutely aware of how precious life is. I definitely grieved for the life I was leaving behind. But I learned to love my new life too. It’s a process, but I would never trade it now.

    And don’t fret about relationships. If the right person comes along and wants to be a part of your life with everything that’s happening – that might just speak volumes for him. And if you’re not at a point where you’re ready for that – he’ll wait until you are. They say that being a young adult with cancer is often the loneliest age as you are no longer living with your family you grew up with, but often don’t have your own family yet either. I used to read/post on the Ulman Cancer Fund website as it’s for young adults and often tackles a lot of concerns/issues that are specific to young adults.

    Looking forward to having you and your parents visit soon! Keep your chin up 🙂

  2. Katie could not have said it all better…life is full of surprises…you never know what is coming next…expect the best and cherish that which is brought your way.

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