The End

The End

It’s my birthday! I woke up earlier than usual this morning from a dream. That dream included a figure from my past, and my early morning mind went down a rabbit hole of thoughts including this one:

I’m not going to finish my memoir, because I don’t want to.

When I started Who You Gonna Believe a few years ago, I did a little research on memoir writing. One thing that came up frequently was authors saying how emotionally raw writing their stories left them.

Pfft! “This isn’t that hard,” I said to myself, digging in for another chapter.

Reader, in hindsight writing that shit was brutal. I’d dive into a story, trying to think about a scene and how to write it only to discover a year or two later that I was ruminating on terrible things not in the chapter. Things I didn’t include in the manuscript, but things that were essential to remember if I wanted to convey anything meaningful.

Then I’d have to think about the terrible things in the context of how to anonymize the written details. Then I’d have to read what I wrote for editing.

However well I thought I’d done, it was not a labor of love.

But I felt obligated to keep going for reasons, and I genuinely thought one day I’d write “The End” and walk away mostly unscathed.

In doing meditation and introspection regarding my anxiety, though, I recognized two things: 1.) writing a memoir requires living in the past, at least sometimes, and 2.) healing trauma requires being present.

Others might be good at moving back and forth between moments in time, but I am not. And so as a birthday gift to myself, I’m just walking away from this thing. Not a quitter, but—as always—a fighter.

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Brain Cancer Update and House Plans

Brain Cancer Update and House Plans

Before the brain cancer update, first things the first: Chapter 23 of Who You Gonna Believe is up for Patrons. Read it now.

The past couple of weeks have been eventful, just not so much in my online life. Mom came to our house here in Urbana to help us with landscaping. (And when I say helped, I pretty much mean she did everything because she is the best mom on the planet.)

There are plans in the works to get the shutters and trim on the house painted, but first: estimates. It really makes me happy to look at the prettied-up yard this year. Because last year during the pandemic, we didn’t have the money or motivation to do much of anything with the yard.

After Mom spent a few days here helping us out, I went back to stay with her for a bit. One of my brothers and I worked on getting more things sorted at her house. My Dad had a pretty ginormous model railroad thing going in the basement, so Ryan worked on that while mom sorted documents and I shredded the stuff that couldn’t be recycled.

It was hard work in that it tugged a lot of nostalgic strings, but it was good to get Mom several steps closer to a more manageable household. One evening she and I assembled a lateral file cabinet together. The instructions were terrible (there were no words, only pictures) but after two hours, we got it done and she made me a root beer float as a reward.

We also talked more about Dan and I moving to be closer to her and my brother and sister-in-law, and we are thinking the best idea might be to make a separate living space by finishing Mom’s basement. My brother the architect is willing to help us with plans. Also, because Mom’s place is only about 30 minutes from St. Louis, it would mean we’d be closer to Siteman Cancer Center if/when I need treatment again.

Speaking of the cancer stuff. I did have a consultation with a neuro-oncologist at Siteman last week, and the news actually brought me a little relief. The doctor said that it’s not clear whether the growth they’re seeing on my recent MRIs is cancer growth (if so, I’m a little ahead of schedule based on what they know about my kind of tumor) or if it’s radiation necrosis (if so, the timeline seems to fit).

At the moment, the only way to be certain is for them to biopsy the area they are seeing and look at the cells under a microscope. Having had one brain surgery already, I’m not really excited about the idea of another one. And because of the location (my medulla) doctors aren’t really eager to start digging around in there either. For now all the doctors involved in my case seem to be recommending another MRI in three months.

I think a huge factor in waiting is that I’m not experiencing new or worsening neurologic symptoms and the growth is small. With a little time it could become more obvious which treatment plan is needed, and in the meantime I can live my life knowing that there are treatments available for either scenario.

Anyway, I’m still a little uncertain when my next Zentangle video will be as I still have a lot of to-do’s that take priority. But I am feeling the itch to draw again and set up my bullet journal for May (I skipped April) so that I can keep things sorted a little better in my mind.

***

WELL FUUUUUUUUUUCK. It’s a couple of hours later, and I just heard that they want me to do low-dose chemotherapy again. I mean, it makes sense. I don’t disagree with their recommendation. But I was just starting to see some daylight after losing my dad, and now I’m preparing to be broke, fight insurance all over again, and just generally have no energy to even wipe my own ass.

No End in Sight

Hello, and happy Tuesday! A few months ago, I was interviewed by Brianne Benness for the No End in Sight podcast. No End in Sight is about living with chronic illness, and for episode 72, I had the opportunity to talk to Brianne about brain cancer, misdiagnosis, and finding community with others in the chronic illness community, not just people with my specific diagnosis.

That episode was recently published, and I’d like to invite you to check it out:

Listen now

(Or, to find this episode in your podcast app, just search for No End in Sight and look up episode 72 “Emily.”)

If you just really can’t get enough of me talking about junk, there’s a new Tangled Talk episode up on my YouTube channel today too. I’m Zentangling my way through my March Bullet Journal setup while Izzy “helps.”

Apparently, there’s also no end in sight for the content I’m going to plug in this blog post. Because I also want to let you know that February’s chapter of my webserial memoir is available for your reading enjoyment too. If you’re a patron, you can read Chapter 22: Larry, Moe, and Curly right now. If you’d like to become a Patron, you can get access to this and all previous chapters (to read anytime you like) and support my work in the process.

Become a Patron

Help Me Celebrate My 40th Birthday

Help Me Celebrate My 40th Birthday

I turn 40 Wednesday!

To celebrate, I’m taking my webserial memoir out from behind the paywall (Pay-treon wall?) for the month of March. So, not only can you read all 12 chapters of Who You Gonna Believe through the 31st, BUT you get to read chapter 13 in real time when I publish it at the end of the month!

Scroll down to start reading.

Or bookmark the Table of Contents if you want to read later.

I think turning 40 would be a pretty big deal for me anyway, but it’s monumental reaching this kind of milestone while toting a brain tumor around every day. I’m glad I’m here, and I’m thankful for all the people here with me—both virtually and IRL—and I wanted to give you all something to show my appreciation. Having cancer means there isn’t always a whole lot I can do to give back. Money’s tight, energy is low, and anxiety is high. But that won’t stop me from trying to say thanks.

Whether you’re a long-timer follower of this blog or you’re visiting for the first time, I hope you enjoy!

And of course, I’m so grateful for the support of my patrons who help keep me, this website, and the WYGB project going. If you enjoy reading WYGB this month (completely ad-free, I might add!) please leave a comment thanking these lovely people for making it possible.

Amiee S.
Angela R.
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Beth R.
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Give It Some Consideration

Give It Some Consideration

“Give it some consideration,” he says. At first you think maybe Rodney’s trying to do me a favor by playing up the whole garbage person bit. But then you remember: This is not an act.

After I announced that I’d be sharing Rodney’s emails—but before I got around to publishing Rodney Writes a Ruse—my ex-husband jumped back on my contact page and wrote me again on Wednesday, December 11. Presumably because as a Certifiable Attention Whore™ he was jonesin’ for his next bad publicity fix.

And cripes what a trainwreck his email is. Even people who question my decision to deal with a narcissist by putting his work on display must be having a hard time looking away from this one.

I’m going to take the line-by-line approach again on this for two reasons 1.) repeating the email text in the body of the post makes the content accessible for people using screen readers, and 2.) it worked well for me last time. Once again, Rodney’s words are highlighted with a gray background.

Emily — Like I mentioned in my last message. This is very good writing (the memoir, more precisely). Am I a narcissist for reading it? Yes, in your story I am.  Someone’s got to be the villain, right? All good storytelling has a villain.

Remember in the last episode when he praised me for how well I “showed his scumbaggery” and then I explained that he wasn’t truly accepting his faults? Right off the bat we’ve got him setting up a scenario in which I’ve sensationalized my portrayal of him.

Yes, I am “a self-professed compulsive liar, an unrepentant cheater, and an egomaniacal, manipulative boob” in your story. But I take umbrage with “boob.” I’m much worse. You give me too much credit.

Got whiplash yet? Imagine the pain in the neck you get from living with this shit 24/7 for five long, miserable years. The early part of our relationship did the most damage to me because I was completely ignorant of Rodney’s condition. And I don’t just mean I couldn’t see he had it because the relationship was shiny and new. I mean that at 23 I still had no clue being self-centered reached clinical levels in some people.

Aside from your medical problems, I’m glad you’re still writing.

I’d like to remind everyone that I am not a professional, but those who are say people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder lack the ability to identify with the feelings of others. Raise your hand if you think bringing up my brain cancer this late in the game and in such a dismissively unapologetic manner ought to go in a text book.

But, you know, thank Jesus he’s glad I’m still writing. I suddenly have a reason to live.

And, I hope you unblock me to read your next chapter.

I don’t think I’ll ever hate myself that much, but time will tell.

There are really two advantages: 1. I could write something like this message and my previous one, which gives you more material to work with and gives your readers more reason to hate me, which will give them more reason to read your work. (You don’t want to tell them that, because it’s a propaganda tactic that comes from the research done on compulsive lying in social settings.) 2. Following from (1), you’ll likely increase your following, reach, subscribers, etc. I know you know what happens with more subscribers. Give it some consideration.

I know you know what happens? Give it some consideration? Almost sounds like someone with delusions of grandeur just finished watching The Godfather.

I will never, ever hate my readers and subscribers that much. But it amuses me Rodney thinks he’s so good at this he can manipulate me into manipulating others all while making my platform (a platform I worked very hard to build over the years) susceptible to his treachery.

Despite all the horrible things that make his dysfunction worth academic study, he’s still just a mediocre white guy at his core. Trying to get out of doing the work. I welcome him to build his own platform if he’d like to show us the alternate reality in which he lives. I never considered at the outset that Who You Gonna Believe, a non-fiction webserial with humble beginnings on Patreon, would one day inspire fanfic—how flattering.

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