Tag Archives: personal


This week someone told me that I can be a bit negative. I didn’t particularly like to hear that, but it did make me stop and think. And the more I thought, the more I realized that person was right.

It’s been nearly three years since I was in a hold up in a cartel town. I and the people I was with thought it was a cartel hit and that we would die that day. I fled back to the U.S. This week as I looked for military pictures for my work, I had a panic attack. The pictures of soldiers and guns did not bring good memories, and I realized I was still affected, still a bit scared.

It’s been one year, two months, three weeks and four days since I finished my last radiation treatment. This week as I sat waiting for my surgical oncologist to see me, I couldn’t breathe. I realized how angry I still was.

I think often of the fact that I was homeless and jobless, that I can’t find full-time employment now. And then I get angry.

People have told me to look at the bright side- I didn’t die in that hold up. I left Mexico safely even though I had to drive through some of the most dangerous areas. I got cancer, yes, but it was the easiest kind to cure. And when people have said this, I have gotten angrier, and asked them, Why did any of that have to happen to me in the first place? I quit believing that things would work out. I lost my faith in happy endings.

I have raged at the universe for a long time now, asking why. Sometimes, though, the answers aren’t clear. Sometimes you have to create your own so you can come to terms with what life throws at you.

Maybe I had to dance with death a bit to appreciate life.

Maybe I didn’t get that full-time job, so I could learn to slow down and get to know people around me.

Maybe those people were put in my path to teach me a bit more about myself, teach me that maybe I am likable, maybe even lovable. Maybe they will teach me how to trust.

Maybe that part-time job was put in my life so I could discover a career that I love and that I do well.

Maybe circumstances have conspired to teach me that things can work out. When I stop to think about it, things have worked out for me.

And maybe I have it all wrong about happy endings. Maybe it isn’t about endings at all. Life is a continuum. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad, but mostly, it’s neutral. So maybe the key to contentment is to embrace the neutral.

One Year Cancer Free

Today is my anniversary. One year ago, they cut out a 1.7 cm malignant tumor. I have been cancer free since then.

I feel good overall. I am physically able to do normal stuff. My mental state, though, has been a bit more affected. I wonder how long it will take me to stop freaking out when the doctor wants to run tests. I still haven’t found my new “normal” state, but I think I am getting there.

At least I know I am not alone with that. I was talking with a co-worker who survived cancer and he tells me it’s always there, flitting around in the back of your mind. My doctor saw me last week, and she told me it takes about two years for her patients to finally move the fear of cancer from the foreground to the background.

So I have two goals this year. One, I want to start trying to push thoughts of cancer from my every waking moment to occasional musing. Two, I am not going to beat myself up if I can’t do that. I will remember it’s a process that every survivor goes through.

I have my one year. That’s really cool.

©2010 Copyright frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com.

My year in pictures

January/February 2010:

March/April 2010:

May 2010:

June/July 2010:

August 2010:

September/October 2010:

November 2010:

December 2010:

All of the photos above are courtesy of morguefile.com

Blog post ©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com.

Her Pretty Little Pearls

She was bored. The mass always took so long and she just wanted to go outside and run and play. She swung her little legs in agitation, breathing deeply. She looked around for a distraction. Her sister sat next to her, dressed all in white for her First Holy Communion. A sparkle caught the little girl’s eye. Pearls- beautiful, little pearl-like beads that her mother had carefully sewn into her sister’s First Communion dress.

She reached and caught one between her fingers. Her sister did not notice. She liked the feel of the pearl, it was cool and smooth and small. She carefully plucked it off her sister’s dress and laid it down into the crevice where the pew back met the seat. It looked perfect against the smooth, varnished wood of the pew. But it looked lonely. The little girl looked around. No one was paying attention to her. The voice of the priest droned on. It was such a pretty day outside. Oh well. She reached out and plucked another pearl from the dress and laid it next to the first. That was better.

Now she rolled the pearls against the pew. The feel of their smooth forms was enchanting. But they needed company. She reached out to grab another and her sister noticed. She slapped the little girl’s hand away and told her to stop in an angry whisper. But the little girl knew that her sister couldn’t make a scene because they were in church. That would be a sin and she would get into lots of trouble. She gleefully snatched another pearl and added it to the others.

Her sister glared at her and the little girl smiled. She felt all giggly inside as she grabbed another pearl off the dress. Her sister slapped at her again and told her mother. The little girl’s mother snapped her fingers and told her to leave her sister’s dress alone. The little girl stopped. The priest droned on. The temptation was too much. She quietly reached out and grabbed another pearl to add to her collection. They looked so pretty. Her mother snapped her fingers again. That’s two. One more snap and she’d get a spanking or a punishment of some kind.

It will be worth it, she thought, as she happily plucked several pearls from her sister’s dress, adding them to the row on the pew. She could hear her sister complain to their mother. She vaguely heard the third snap of her mother’s fingers. But none of that mattered. She was entranced and delighted by her collection of beautiful pearls, her pretty little pearls.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com

The Man in the Box (expanded)

I got such interesting responses for this piece, I decided to play with it a bit more.

There is a box within my brain where I store bad memories and forget about them. Only I have the key. The other night I opened the box to shove the reluctant cartel kicking and screaming into my stronghold. Unfortunately, a man, who will not be named here, but who has been locked in my box for many years or even decades, tiptoed past me as I was distracted and scurried down the corridors of my mind. I pushed the door shut, sealing off the memories, and pursued the escapee. I ran down the avenues of my subconscious peering around fantasies and memories long forgotten until I found the culprit hiding behind a sweet dream of my departed cat, Ari.

This was a dilemma. How would I get to him without damaging Ari? I did not have to ponder long, because as Ari moved away, walking in circles to get to some destination farther in the folds of my memory, the man turned with that look in his eye. I sighed, turned, and started to run. The nightmare followed me as he had in the past, but this time I did not feel the panic, only irritation. I knew that he could not, would not catch me. This time he was not armed with knives or guns or chain saws. This time I was bigger and stronger. And I was smarter. He could not hurt me anymore.

I danced across my neurons and ducked under a bridge of time. He nearly caught me as I squeezed past a dimension of truth I had created years ago. I leapt away, just out of his reach, and dove into a stream of stories I tell myself. Jumping up the bank of old realities, I nearly tripped over the child me who was playing hopscotch by herself in a hidden alley of the past. I paused and told her to hide, the man was coming. My child self ran in terror and disappeared into the recesses of my memory. I continued my journey, a destination in mind. I knew these thoughts better than the man- he had been locked up for many years. I darted behind a boulder of resistance I had since put to rest and waited. A moment later he appeared. We faced each other.

“You can’t touch me now,” I told him and smiled.

He hesitated, confused, and I used that moment to snatch him up and shove him back into the box that was sitting next to the boulder of resistance. He hadn’t noticed we had run full circle around my psyche. I leaned back exhausted, listening to his howls of frustration emanating from the box. I must be more careful next time when putting things away. I tucked my secret key into a safe place and left my box of nightmares where it lay.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com

%d bloggers like this: