The funny thing about finding out you have stage 4 metastatic cancer is the first thought that comes into your head is usually something completely ridiculous but also revealing of what matters most to you. In December 2015, when I was re-diagnosed, I thought I only had a few months to live...maybe just a year. Cancer had metastasized to my bones. I could barely walk. My first thought... I've never taken my kids to Disneyland. I just want to take them to Disneyland before I die.
Today we celebrated my 37th birthday with my family (two days early). Maybe it's just the birthday blues but I've been consumed with morbid thoughts. When you're thinking of your life in terms of birthdays, it's hard not to wonder how many are left. Right now I'm living. I'm thriving. These cancer killing pills I take every day are doing their job...without them, I die.
The domino effect... Morbid thoughts lead to feelings of loneliness. My first bout with cancer... I was married and pregnant. Through my entire year of treatment my ex-husband only attended one chemo appointment with me...yet, through the first half I was not alone. I had my little man, growing in my womb, battling cancer with me. I had my sister attending all my appointments with me, taking time off of work to sit with me through chemo. The diagnosis of cancer was just one of the many nails in the coffin for my marriage. Now I'm single and alone. Most of the time I'm good with that because men are more trouble than they're worth (unless you happen to meet that man who is worth the trouble). But I have my moments...those moments where I just desire to be with someone who can hold me when I'm down...someone who will just say...I'm with you in this.
The escape...avoidance...filling my time....distractions...friends...music...dancing...acting stupid...just living. Fifty percent of the time, I have my kids. The other fifty percent of the time is spent escaping my reality.
My attempt at resolving my loneliness... A couple weeks ago my friend talked me into doing a dating app again. I downloaded it on a Monday and deleted it by Friday. On Wednesday I had my first date. I refer to him as "the Egyptian". He's a handsome realtor who lives in Santa Barbara. We met for a beer. It went well but by the end of the date he was asking me if I was interested in being "exclusive". Red flag. The date only lasted two hours because I intentionally planned something with my friends afterwards so I would have an out. Next guy...the "wine guy"... He asked to meet at a restaurant for a glass of wine. I had my kids that day and went to the pool then dropped them off with their dad and had to meet him immediately after. I was wearing yoga pants, a tank top, and converse. I showed up at the restaurant and he was wearing a suit. It made me giggle. I find awkward moments mostly comical but the awkward moments with this guy just made me feel awkward. He didn't seem to mind my attire and he stared at me in this very uncomfortable way. I found myself talking about all my worst qualities and life experiences. I excused myself to the restroom and when I came back I didn't sit down, I simply asked, "Are you ready?" He walked me to my car and I drove away, not looking back. The third guy... "The wrestler". He's a professional wrestler. He was so sweet and such a gentleman (and very muscular). We went out to play pool. I'm not a good pool player at all. Anyone with any kind of hand eye coordination and an understanding of pool should be able to beat me easily. The first two games were close. I won both. The third game, I scratched on the 8 ball, so he won. The fourth game I won, leaving 6 of his balls still on the table. We started talking about other games we're good at. I told him I'm terrible at connect four. We ended up playing connect four on an app on my phone. I won the first game then started to feel bad and decided to let him win. We now needed to go best three out of five. There were opportunities for him to win and he didn't even see them. It was like playing against myself to not win and make sure I left opportunities for him to win without being too obvious. The date was over. I had the dating app on my phone for four days and then I deleted it...never again...
There was some good that came out of my four day long dating app experience. It confirmed the fact that I am attracted to a man's mind and personality more so than their looks. But it also did harm. It caused me to look at myself and my standards (which is actually more beneficial than harmful). I am so cautious with allowing myself to feel...or maybe just admitting to myself that I do...a friend who lives too far away...a guy who is close by but emotionally unavailable... Maybe I just have a thing for guys who aren't available. It's safe to feel something for someone when you know it can't go anywhere... Yet, I'm alone and sometimes I just don't want to be alone.
My birthday is on Wednesday. I will drop my kids with their dad then go sit on the beach and have my alone time. I will continue to be alone because I won't settle ever again.