A lot of people love to call life a journey but I like to call it an adventure. Because adventure sounds more exciting than a journey which could be exciting if you were going the "center of the earth" but otherwise, "journey" is in a language I don't speak really. If it's an adventure then it's ok to be scared and feel all the feelings. It gets more Indiana Jones and if that's the case, I get to be a beautiful Egyptologist. Anyway, whatever you call the passage of time that makes up the continuum of the thing we call our lives, I don't like the idea that the adventure-journey is a short one, no matter how much time stands still sometimes.
This summer, my adventure toward working on art again allowed me to explore corners of my brain I had forgotten existed, parts I hadn't ventured to when I was calling myself a "designer". The process made days seem long and exciting and opened up constant doors to new ideas, new ways of working, new people and conversations, old friends and conversations. I let myself do that. I allowed myself this turn in my life-adventure.
But then I got sick in the middle of that. Sick, like going to a string of doctors sick, oncologist-visit sick, talk of major surgery sick.
When life was standing still like that, when I thought about, "WTF? Now it's me facing this cliff," when I was thinking of all the ideas I hadn't thought yet, and the work I hadn't yet made, the friends, the family, the me I was too hard on, when I was navigating through fatigue and pain and frustration at doctors, at insurance companies, at myself, I questioned everything, and I fixated the most on what I might do if it turned out I wasn't going to die or have to live the next few months in radiology and chemotherapy and all the difficult things of a life-adventure with cancer. I thought, if this isn't death coming at me, if I can get through this and be well, I will live my fucking life every day and not hold back. I will be there for other people. I will do whatever's funner. I wasn't feeling strong (like when you hear about how strong someone is when they're fighting for their lives) but strength is sometimes an after-image.
Then, a second opinion in September and SA-NAP- I (probably) didn't have cancer(!) and the surgery was simple(!) and maybe I might have to come back to the doctor a little more often (ok that kind of sucks) but suddenly that moment unfolded like a red carpet, the sky brightening after a rain, the clock was no longer stuck, the crowd (in my mind) went wild! I felt the universe, I felt everyone who had been sick before, everyone who had worried for themselves, "what is death like?", and the saddened people they might leave behind. It felt like I had been taken and held hostage in a hostile country, there just long enough to glimpse how hard it was about to get but luckily got to go home. That feeling came with a mix of relief and guilt. And the loudest part of me yelled something like: AFTER WE TAKE CARE OF THE REST OF THIS THING, THE NEXT PART OF THIS ADVENTURE IS GOING TO GET REALLY GOOD!
One of the things that bothered me was not coming to this space, One Awesome Thing, the project I was most excited by and enamored with. I wanted to write, but I had just about enough energy for making paintings and thinking about my family and, uhhhh, that's it. I kept asking myself, "What's the one Awesome thing you can do right now Deb?" and the answer was usually, "Just take care of what's most important now" and "feel the feelings you feel like waves washing over you", and "Just lie down if you need to" and "by any means necessary, do everything you need to do to kick this part of the adventure in it's nuts."
My substitute for writing to you here was to search for the most awesome things to post on our One Awesome Thing Facebook page. To create artworks and curate on the One Awesome Thing Instagram page and record my favorite images on my Bonbon Oiseau Instagram page. That has been a constant and has helped me to discover and think about so many new things, many of which I wrote down, painted, visited. All the same adventure, different pages, same me. I am now vowing to return here regularly in the New Year with all kinds of fun stuff, good stuff, stuff in my language, hopefully yours. If you find this somehow in the vast and wild unknown that is the www, sign up for the newsletter and get alerts when new posts happen. Write to me with ideas of what you'd like to see, but for now how are you?