Blog Therapy

Blog Therapy

If you don’t feel emotions physically, today’s blog therapy session isn’t going to make a lick of sense. However, you might find the Threads quote useful. Don’t leave without checking first.

A few days ago on Substack, my tumor twin Rudy Fischmann wrote about a post he’d seen on Threads. He explained how it kinda blew his mind. And honestly, the longer I’ve let it simmer, the guiltier I feel about getting therapy for free. Who is this therapist? Do they even know cancer patients are out here having life-altering epiphanies?

Here’s the image Rudy, of Brain Cancer Diaries fame, shared:

I’m sure that nugget won’t affect everyone so profoundly, but I’ve been trying for twenty years to be okay with negative emotions and for twenty years feeling like I never quite get it right. To hear that I’m actually a pro at trauma now and need to relearn how to handle and make space for joy and happiness? I mean, of course! But also, holy shit.

Something clicked so easily when I read Rudy’s Substack that I felt like a fool for not getting it earlier.

Following the instruction of some mindfulness practices from Tara Brach, I decided to be more curious about how I do joy the last couple of days. Where do I physically feel joy, for example? Not surprisingly, I couldn’t identify the spot.

Sometimes gravel roads need to be paved. And sometimes overgrown trees need to be cleared. Know what I mean?

I could easily tell you that anger lives in my neck and jaw. That grief resides behind my sternum. That gut-wrenching fear and anxiety (no surprise here) linger in my colon. But joy? No fucking clue where it fit.

I needed to know where joy and happiness were physically felt. The problem was that I was and am broken and can’t just manufacture good feelings whenever I want. Luckily, I wrote a whole thread on social media yesterday about ice cream and unwittingly tripped over some very good feels and nosedived into my happy place.

By the way, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but don’t ever feel ashamed for downing a pint of Talenti gelato in one sitting. You hear me? Three servings my ass.

Anyway, where was I?

So. A few people shared their love of ice cream and happy memories too, and suddenly I was all, “Dude! Joy! There it is!” Turns out I feel joy in the same part of my chest where I feel grief and loss.

Note to self: the love doesn’t have to go anywhere. It can stay put.

But no wonder there wasn’t much room for joy in there. What with the passing of my dad and my dog Boomer in the last few years. (They get space there still, but it could be better organized for sure. Might need to defrag the hard drive.) There’s also grief over brain cancer and the progressive loss of my abilities, which exceedingly also feels like a loss of self. (I have tried rearranging that space. So far all I’ve learned is that I suck at interior design.)

At least I know where joy goes now and that I still feel it. It’ll be hard, but I can work with that.

The distance between “that’s too hard” and “that’s hopeless” is vast. Hard is right there, but kind of awkward to grasp. Hopeless is a big brother palming your head at arms length while you take flailing swings.

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