I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength. ~Alexandra Elle
I wonder how many people, say, with the flu or a broken leg, would respond in this fashion to someone who cheerfully bounced into their bedroom with balloons and said “Cheer up! It gets better!”. The sick person in question would likely ask for a glass of water, moan, smile a bit, and say “I know”.
You see, that is the SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE reply to such a question. For those of us with chronic illness, whose only hope is management, not cure, our attitudes and outlooks on life become very different. And we become crustier and more cynical with each year we age.
I often love to comment on how art imitates life (or is it the other way around?). I have severe brain fog today. Well, all I know is art and life are like, brother and sister or first-degree relatives. The cat in the featured image was a sentient being (Ernie) that I “leaned on”. R.I.P. dude. By the way, Ernie was NOT that obese when he passed, as he was roaming free, lean and fit as an outdoor cat.
I saw the movie “Swiss Army Man” recently, which quite literally began with a man (Hank) washing ashore a deserted area of forest, stumbling and falling. This is why I started this blog with the Elle quote. He soon sees another young man, Manny, who washes up on the shore, presumably dead, posthumously farting, and farting a LOT. Of course, at that point, I knew I had to keep watching because I knew this was a film about how a person who is lonely, broken and has only “some body” to lean on, and how (or if) that person managed to come out of the situation differently. And, of course, because of the farting because that shit’s hilarious. And my “some body” right now is Kelto.
I am not going to write a summary of the whole movie. But Hank does seem to have conversations with the “dead” Manny as he tries to find his way home. And learns a lot from Manny about why we have such powerful conventions in place, and why we have “norms” in place. Of course, Hank is desperate, isolated, sick, and in survival mode. He is often plagued by fear of his surroundings and fear of the past and future. He’s STUCK. Sounds like me. Sounds like a lot of us with chronic illness, doesn’t it?
For me, there was this point a few years back at which I screamed the following (or just stated assertively): “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and I’m going to laugh and be weird and let it all hang out!” Well literally, I don’t have anything hanging out and I haven’t tucked anything in since the late ’90s. But you know what I mean. And the more I learned I was never going to get better, the more I knew that mentally, I needed a fresh start.
I’m going to let loose a humor within me that 80% of the population does not “get”, and that is perfectly OK with me. Talk to the hand, mofo’s.
WHAT I GET TO DO NOW
- I get to draw faces on little pieces of fruit with sharpie markers and arrange them on my table. I might eat them, and I’ll feel bad. It’s because I’m emotionally attached to them. If they go bad IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT!
- I’m going to say shit and fuck and I’m not going to church because feeling guilty all day Sunday sucks! It’s also very tiring and the entire rest of the day is a write-off. I already know that I’m broken.
- Tell me again how I should cook three square meals for myself per day when I only have round plates. I Googled that shit and I still haven’t found any answers.
- Proudly display my “Orgy With George Carlin” book on my coffee table even though you prudes are disgusted with it. George was a fucking genius. And hilarious. And he swore appropriately. Is there such a thing as swearing appropriately?
- I’m gonna go ahead and put some cover sheets on those TPS report…..uh….sorry wrong movie.
- I am not going to feel guilty while sitting in a wheelchair at Wal-Mart and an old lady walks by. She likely is healthier than I am.
- And I AM going to go find that shirt with a cartoon character cow strapped to the wall with the caption “the horrible truth behind whipped cream” and I’m going to WEAR IT IN PUBLIC.
I’m gonna go ahead and end with a quote by Hank from “Swiss Army Man”:
Something happens when you let go of your inhibitions. Something happens when you press against societal norms. There’s a freedom in it. I don’t guarantee you that it will make you better, I don’t guarantee you that you won’t stop being sick, but there’s a whole big group of people out there that think that weird is good and don’t let people tell you that weird is bad or unacceptable, don’t let that stop you from bringing people closer together.