Monday, December 5, 2022

Tears and Being Extra

It's crazy what makes you cry after you've had cancer.  And what makes you laugh.  And the changes you make in your life. 

When I was first diagnosed, just hearing the word cancer made me burst into tears.  My poor friends would be at a concert with me and the performer would mention beating cancer.....queue the waterfalls.  Then any story of someone dying from cancer, especially got me crying.  It still does. 

Now, 10 months into treatment, references to the future trigger mini-panic attacks. 

My mom (pictured at a holiday light show we visited in Maine) said to me, "Eric, you seem like the happiest you've been in years."  My friends also keep telling me I look great and I'm doing so much.  

Because I'm scared I won't be able to fit it all in before life's over for me.  I don't want to miss a chance to sing again, to dance, to laugh, to camp, to make art, to skinny dip in a lake, to hug friends, to travel, to get drunk and tip a stripper too much, and so many other things.  

Saturday, I spent my entire day filling my apartment with Christmas decorations......and I mean more than one person should probably put up in a one bedroom apartment.  My tree takes up 30 percent of my living room and I've put up two smaller artificial trees in my bedroom and bathroom.  Yup - a tree in my bathroom. 

Sunday, December 4, I performed a holiday concert with the Boston Gay Men's Chorus.  Two of the songs talk about making it through the next year.  I've practiced them for months, but trying to sing it in front of my friends in the audience made me break down.  I kept singing even though my voice kept cracking, tears were streaming,  and my nose was running.  

I've also been dressing a bit more crazy than most people can accept.  I've been asked if I "love costumes" or have a "holiday party to go to later" since I'm dressing in all my holiday glory every day. 

I wore a halloween costume to treatment in November and made people laugh.  My joke of the day was that it wasn't real fur. 

I'm also trying to fit in more of my life into many less hours a day.  Treatment makes me exhausted and I sleep 10-12 hours a night when I used to survive on 6-7.  So if I'm crafting, dancing, rehearsing, or doing a live cooking demo, then I'm choosing to do that because I want to.  There is no down time right now that I don't want to fill with goodness and things I enjoy doing. 

I'm not going to let anyone rain on my parade....not now......hopefully not ever again.  I'm going to be as Eric as I want to be.  Try and stop me and I'll probably just make moves to spend a lot less time to you, if not cut you out of my life entirely.  I'm me.  I love me.  If you don't like it, then find someone else to judge and smother.  I'm doing all of me...maybe even more than I ever have in case I won't be able to any more next year.  And I'm liking it.  It's bringing me happiness that counteracts the days when I won't come out from under the covers and worry about the future. 

My you.  Don't let anyone else tell you not to.  If they ask if you like costumes, try my response, "What this old thing?  It's my everyday wear."  or "It's always fun to sparkle." or "If it makes me smile, then others might smile too."  Or just laugh maniacally and walk away.