It is Wednesday. The hump day of another week with no income.

I try to concentrate on something besides the constant hunger pangs reminding me that the kitchen cabinets are emptier than my stomach.

My young child climbs and falls from a chair, bringing me back from my food porn daydreams.

There is exactly $8.59 in my bank account and no money coming any time soon. Maybe somebody stole my identity and debit card, leaving my life in ruins. More likely, though, I ruined it myself.

I am pretty talented that way.

Somehow I find the courage to keep reaching out, despite being met with judgment or uncertainty (living with strangers or being homeless) or flat out complaints that I should just be different (wow, thanks had not thought of that yet).

I struggle to find how people do not understand I feel their criticism every day because that is how I feel about myself. That is always how I have felt about myself. It is not something I say for attention.

I am not seeking compliments or reassurance (though, these are always welcomed because who does not appreciate compliments?) when I tell you my lack of motivation comes not from laziness but from a self-sabotaging hatred.

I hate myself in ways that are not normal. I know this, but most of the time, to make other people comfortable, I hide it.

There have been times when this was not such a daunting task. Mostly before cancer swooped in and stole my youth, my dreams, my future, and nobody thought I should be that upset about it because I did not die at 23.)

I survived.

But for how long? “How long will my life be” wasn’t something that haunted me before cancer, and now I cannot sleep wondering if I will see my sons become men. I watch my body change, unable to go back to this “normal” everybody keeps talking about.

My hair falls out, but not enough to notice. Still, I find myself staring in the mirror wishing I had two eyebrows instead of one — even a decent, thick uni-brow would be welcomed.

The thing that cripples me the most is the lack of control I have over any of it. I cannot make people love me the way I need to be loved.

I cannot force people to be understanding or kind or emphatic or tolerant. I cannot cure cancer or hunger or poverty or social injustices.

My heart breaks for all the things that I cannot control and will never be able to control. I have always been raised and told my lack of control makes me weak. Sensitive. A Cry baby. Less than whole.

Do people date when they have cancer?

When I found myself diagnosed at the age of twenty-three, I was somewhat successfully managing multiple friend-with-benefits relationships with what I thought were “good” guys from my high school days.

Guys who had been hounding me since we were teenagers. Guys who had zero problems ghosting when stuff got too heavy with words like “cancer” and “radiation” (but we were just having sex, right?).

Apparently one of the guys got a girlfriend from my graduating class of 54 people and she got suspicious when my name kept appearing on his Facebook search history. Especially since we weren’t even friends, and she messaged me nine days after I had major surgery removing my cancer, wanting to know if something was going on between us.

No, sorry, I can’t respond; I’m a little busy right now defeating cancer.

I chose not to tell her that we were having sex right before they started dating. I forgot to mention that I really liked him, despite being super-skeptical. 

I did not tell her the sex was great or that I was jealous when I saw they started dating.

I told her the truth: she had nothing to worry about.

I hadn’t talked to him in months. Nothing was going on anymore. I was alone, fighting cancer. I spent most of my days in bed, hidden away in a room that was never really mine. If I sit still long enough, I can still feel the insignificant ache pulling at me.

There is nothing lonelier than going through cancer alone.

Or is there?

The guy eventually fessed up to our transgressions (before they even started dating), claiming it was just sex (for him, it was).

Three weeks after my throat was cut open, she messaged me again to let me know that I was easy, that the only thing he wanted from me was sex, that I was nothing, and he was with her now.

She told me things I already knew. Things I knew were true but could never really understand why.

When I was little, I used to imagine I would get really sick and that would make everybody nicer to me.

I can’t even say people were all that mean, nobody locked me in attics or punched me, but it was more that I really thought having cancer would at least save me from getting slut-shamed.



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