situation normal, all freaked up

recently, my family and i watched the animated movie spies in disguise. now, let me back up and say that i consider myself to fall, in most matters of taste, on the high side of mid-brow. nonetheless, i really enjoy me some will smith, who according to my proprietary algorithm is at the very top of low-brow entertainment. it’s ridiculous, really, both because such ranking systems are inherently subjective and meaningless and because anyone who saw him in six degrees of separation knows dude can act. still, his artistic choices are mostly normy and, so, top of low-brow or bottom of middle-brow. regardless, i can’t tell you how many times i’ve seen hitch on purpose, and when “getting jiggy with it” comes on, i go full wipipo mode, arms a-flailing, lips a-pursing.

getting back to my point, though, we watched spies in disguise with a bit of trepidation, because i have some fleeting notions now and again about raising high-brow kids. (i know, laughable.) but we all thoroughly enjoyed the film, particularly the end, when the will smith character shows he finally fully appreciates his nerdy scientist sidekick for who he is by proclaiming, “team weird!” it’s become something of an anthem around the house. 

i celebrate the weird and the freaky and the unique. andddddd i really struggle with stepping outside of societal expectations to live a fully authentic life. i resist accepting when life throws me off my carefully planned path. or to put it another way, i have a lot of what they call in mental health circles “shoulds” … i should be this. i should do that. and i’m really draconian with myself about it at times.

right now, i have (very treatable) cancer, which while not weird in the cool, let’s-move-to-portland-and-launch-a-coöp kind of way, has definitely thrown me off the path of what i sometimes think my life should look like at this point. there are things about that that are FANTASTIC. and there are things about that that i’m finding less than fantastic.

being diagnosed with cancer has, predictably, awakened me to so much beauty in life that i had been forgetting to notice or failing to fully appreciate. it also has me thinking things like, “this isn’t a good time to be out of work for who knows how many weeks!” or “are the kids going to be terrified of my franken-body after surgery?” as if the universe gives a shit about my job or my boobs.

i find i’m clinging to my shoulds more and more, as i prepare to have life-changing surgery. i should have kids who listen to yo-yo ma and always look tidy. (but i want my kids to be themselves, free from self-consciousness.) i should get botox so my face looks super smooth while i have gross drains coming from my armpits. (but i don’t want to care about my appearance.) i should be that crafty, pinteresty mom with an amazing blog, organized closets, a dining room table not covered in laundry and a solid podcast idea. (but i so want to be okay with the fact that most days now i have just enough energy to do my job and keep four people, a dog and two plants alive.) 

i should be perfectly adaptive and productive in every possible way. (but i’m just a freak who plays for team weird.)

the more literal update on my health is that i have been confirmed for a double mastectomy on may 26. my oncatype test came back with a score of 17, which means that i’m not a good candidate for chemotherapy and likely will not have to have it after surgery. (this is a very positive thing, not only because chemo sucks, but because it also means that my tumors are not highly aggressive.) radiation is still up in the air, depending on the pathology results after surgery. the surgery is scheduled to take about four hours, and i am only expected to be in the hospital one night before coming home. i’m so grateful that surgery was not delayed again, and that this step will soon be behind me. thank you, again, to everyone who is praying for me and sending positive vibes. like it or not, you are now a permanent part of my extended family. x kirsten




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