And then came anger on a whole new level.

Although if I’m honest, I’ve been pretty fucking angry for years.

I’m pissed about the cancer, I’m pissed about how certain family members are behaving, I’m pissed about what I have to do, I’m pissed about what I don’t get to do, I’m pissed about the decisions I’m making, I’m pissed about flailing stupidly with my work, I’m pissed that I’m an asshole with The Smalls and The Mr, and I’m pissed that I’m constantly pissed.

Normally, anger comes to me, and I deal with it pretty quick. I shrug it off.

But right now, it comes in waves, and I actually want to punch seven kinds of shit out of everything in my site.

And it’s not just because of the cancer.

I think, actually, the main reason has been exacerbated by this cancer episode, and it’s all completely out of my hands. I can’t even step away, because I’m constantly dragged back.

Basically, I’m beginning to wonder if I was adopted into a family which lived in a different realm to me.

I don’t hate them, but I do constantly find myself asking what the hell I did to deserve this.

(I didn’t do anything, I think. But I guess everything I go through, and what they put me/themselves through, is all part of this cycle called life. And I guess it’s all contributory, or something).

Needless to say, I can’t and won’t go into detail; that would be really unfair. But lord knows, I have felt lonely as fuck since the day I was able to remember a single thought. And stupidly, like some kind of dick, I’ve spent the majority of my life thinking that one day it would all change. At this very moment in time, I feel so much resentment for everything and everyone, and I’m having a tough time shaking it.

And it’s tough to shake it, because every single time I’m with them, I’m reminded of the things I should be doing, which I am doing, and yet I still don’t seem to be doing enough of it. I’m constantly pulled left and right, and seem to have no energy left to look after me and my own. And of course, when I do take a breather to look after those closest to me, I end up feeling guilty for telling everyone else to step the fuck back out of my face.

I’m exhausted from being so angry.

My dad has (had?) one of the worst tempers I have ever seen in my entire life. He has (had?) this amazing ability to fly off the handle and quite literally tear someone a new one. Have you ever watched LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitsu? You know when they turn into those spinning tornado things? It’s like that. But with swearing and violence.

I realised all too soon that I carried that same temper, too. A family member used to love pointing it out to me, like some hilarious flaw to constantly feel bad about. “Hahahah you’re just like your dad.” That’s hard to hear, given that everyone was afraid of him, and few family members like him.

I fucking hated that temper, but it made me headstrong. It gave me strength when I needed to stand up for myself, or for other people. I couldn’t ditch the temper, and I couldn’t suppress it, so I guess I learned how to use.

But now it’s like some shitty motherfucking emotion which is spinning out of control.

I almost lost my rag this week at another family member who is being nothing short of evil with dad. I had to walk away, before I said or didn’t something I couldn’t comprehend, or would totally regret. I think the fact that we were in the hospital at the time, right outside dad’s bay, prevented the red mist from descending.

In my house, there’s a door from the kitchen out into the hallway. There’s a dent in the door, maybe just below head height.

I did it.

In the pits of my worst depressive episode since living in this house (maybe 13 years now), I pretty much lost my shit, and hit the door with my fist. That was several years ago. It’s a horrible but very real reminder.

I am so very fucking angry right now. All the issues I have with people in my life, all I want to do is go scream about those issues, with those people, directly in their faces. Every so often, I can vividly picture what that might look like; my heart rate speeds up a little, shoulders are up by my ears, and my jaw aches from non-stop clenching. The eternal migraine, as a result of these responses, is really fucking boring me now.

The thing is, everything that is happening right now has pulled me into a world which I want absolutely NOTHING to do with. I don’t feel that I want any of it. Not. One. Bit. I selfishly want to live in ignorance, and pretend that my little world is completely fine.

Which is hilarious, because I’ve never lived like that, nor could I deal with that.

I could pretend that everything is fine; I can nod and shake my head at the right time, and I can pretend to let stuff wash over me, I can pretend like I care when actually I couldn’t give a flying fuck.

Actually that’s bollocks – I can’t do any of those.

I probably care too much.

And I swear to lucifer, the next person who tells me I’m overthinking it all, or I should just stop thinking about it too much, or anything which is basically asking me to just suddenly be somebody else, is probably not going to get a nice response. It’ll be short, but it won’t be nice.

Annoyingly, I can’t even seem to do the things which help me chill out. I have hula hoops which I need to tape, my cello needs to be dusted off ready to potentially start teaching, and in fact we all (in this house) went to the park recently (I have no idea when. Last week? Week before? Last year?) and I learned two new moves. I’ve been trying to learn them for about 5 months, on and off. I should have been ecstatic.

I felt less than meh.

And then I come home, and amble around trying to be busy, and all I can think about is that I have exactly zero money, exactly zero income, two children who wonder when their mother is going to calm the fuck down, a family that I cannot make work no matter how much it is requested of me, and a headache which I’m pretty certain is going to make me add a second dent to the door.

This. Shit. Needs. To. Stop.

PS There’s no Silent Sunday this week, a) because I’ve not taken a single damn photo of anything, b) because I need this blog to be MY little safe space without being invaded, and c) because right now, I just cannot be fucking arsed.

#FuckCancer

An infinite number of years ago, I lost my best friend John to Cancer. It was the fucking worst. It was also one of my first wake-up calls to dealing with cancer. Since that time, I’ve watched too many other people die from cancer. I’ve also seen people go into remission, and I have one remarkable friend who has been cancer free for some time now (Fenngirl is nothing short of fucking amazing – her strength and beauty blows me away. Every single day). I’ve learned so much more about it, what it does, how it works, through no choice of my own.

But I’m glad I did.

Because last Friday, Friday 21st August, when I received a phone call telling me my dad had cancer, I realised that actually, I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Actually, I feel like I know fuck all.

What I do know is this.

He is probably one of the fittest and most active men I know. At 77, he would go to work at his allotment every single day, and be there from morning until night. He grows produce like I’ve never tasted from any farmers market, or super market. The onions he grows? Sweet Jesus should you ever cut into one, you’ll need to wear goggles unless you want your eyeballs to turn into liquid. His potatoes make fucking ridonkulous chips and mash. Tomatoes grow to not much smaller than Little Small’s head (and his head is bloody huge). His pumpkins right now, in the middle of August, are already bigger than those you would find in the supermarket at harvest time. In about a month, they’ll be the same size as three footballs together.

So when it turned out, an infinite number of weeks ago, that he could no longer stand up and that he was having serious back pain, I thought well fuck. He’s done his back in. It’s ok though, the physio is coming out to his first floor flat, and he’ll be fine in no time.

I don’t speak to my dad much.

He and my mom separated in the worst possible circumstances, and I’ve never had a great relationship with either of them. My childhood with both of them was pretty fucking horrendous. I have no regrets now, nor do I have any malice. But I don’t have any particular feelings, either.

It’s hard to feel the warm fuzzies, when there’s no warm fuzzies to latch on to.

I called him from time to time, mostly to see that he was ok, and to update him re. The Smalls.

My sister thinks I’m an asshole for being this way, but there’s nothing I can do until she’s willing to listen to, understand, and accept the full story of my childhood. My childhood was a stark contrast to hers; there are 6-7 years between us, and whilst I hated that as a kid, I’m thankful for it now. It meant that she didn’t have to go through what my brother and I went through.

So, there are no warm fuzzies.

But the panic that punched me in the face on Friday, well it’s only fair to say I still have a heart. I’m not an asshole. I still give a shit.

And when I visited him, and saw how much he had deteriorated in the week from when I saw him previously, I was pretty fucking nervous.

Lying in hospital was this tiny little man, who didn’t look…right. It was still ok, though, because he was in such good spirits.

“Me can fight dis, yuh know?” in his strong Jamaican accent, patois. “Me didn’t want any medication, any drugs, but me tink seh me can fight dis, you know? Me can tek de drugs an mek it easy. Me know say it serious, but dem seh dem can operate or sumting, an fix it suh. It will be alright, yuh nuh have to worry bout ME!” and then he would laugh.

Buss out a laugh.

I believed him.

He hates hospitals like I fucking hate UKIP and people who post fucking dumbass bacon product shit on my Facebook wall.

(That struggle is real, just saying. So please cut that shit right out. And I mean the bacon stuff AND the UKIP stuff, because there’s just no fucking need.)

For AGES, when he was housebound, unable to walk and in so much pain he was in tears pretty much all the time, he was ADAMANT he was not having any injections or anything.

So…to see him not only be admitted to hospital, but be ok about it, and then be ok with taking treatment was…pretty fucking eye opening. But I also knew that he knew what was up. He knew it was cancer (I think) before the rest of us did.

But last Friday, he was up for nailing cancer square in the face.

I went to see him again on Monday, hoping to get detailed results.

Cancer in his spine. Which explained the two sudden lumps on his lower back.

And here is where my technical language fails me, because I’m having a hard time retaining information right now.

Cancer almost never starts ON or IN the spine. It’s almost ALWAYS  a metastasis from somewhere else in the body.

So, not only did he have cancer, but it was already serious enough to have come from somewhere else.

As if that wasn’t enough, he has a lump on the top of his head which had gotten bigger over the last few weeks.

Blood tests rules out prostate and blood cancer. But we still had lungs and bowels to check.

Not gonna lie, I decided to hope for bowel cancer, since that would mean they could just remove the bowl, operate on his back, and be done. He’d hopefully go into remission.

They sent him for his CT scan on Tuesday morning.

Have you ever had a phone call from someone, particularly a medical professional, which is so fucking calm, it’s almost too calm, thus portraying a weird sense of urgency?

“Hello…yes? This is [insert name I can’t remember] from the hospital? It’s about [insert something which is now a blur], and you need to get here before 12:00, please?”

I looked at my watch – it was 10:50, I had a consultation scheduled for 11:00, and the hospital was 40 minutes away.

“I know it’s pretty late already, but if you could come before midday, we need you here. And you should also bring any other family members who can make it also.”

I don’t remember much.

I sent a text message to all immediate family telling them the conversation I had just had. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there on my own.

I had just bought some goat meat to make into a curry for dad, and had found some of those Fish n Chips biscuits/crisps…remember the ones from when you were a kid? Well they had pickled onion flavour. I remember feeling stoked. I also remembered dad loves the Innocent Coconut Water, and I wanted him to have some. I remember being at home and pouring some into a bottle. I remember grabbing the last of my rum flavoured coffee for him – he normally flavours his with real rum. He and Leigh, my sister’s partner, laughed because I live in an area posh enough to sell rum coffee from the local farm.

It’s an ongoing joke now.

It always makes me laugh.

They make me laugh.

I’m posh, but not that posh because I don’t have a conservatory. I joked that I might have to move out of the area because of that.

We laughed.

I think I ran in and out of the house several times, grabbing stuff to take. I don’t entirely remember what I grabbed.

I do remember making it to the hospital in just over 25 minutes. I listened to dubstep the whole way there.

The consultant came up to the bed, and practically begged us to go somewhere private, to a family room. I could tell that, whatever she was going to tell us, was the last thing she ever wanted to do.

She did something which terrified me; as Leigh pulled the last curtain around dad’s bed on the ward, she looked at me, and her face haunted me. She looked like a rabbit trapped in headlights. She mouthed something at me…I think, I think she said “this is bad” or “this is bad news” and she shook her head.

I just smiled back, and nodded at her to go on. I mouthed “it’s ok. It’s ok.”

I felt stupid.

Dad lay there, completely coherent, alert, bright, aware. He’s not stupid. He’s 77 and there’s not a single trace of dementia or insanity about him. He’s more fucking alert than me, sometimes.

“How are you feeling, Mr Lindsay? Are you ok for me to continue?”

“Umm hmm, of course, babs.”

Everyone is “babs”. My dad, even with his strong but understandable patois, is also integrated Brummie and Black Country. We grew up on the border of those two “counties”.

My dad has cancer in his spine. It has come from his lungs. He has cancerous tumours in his lung, which have spread to his brain, his spine, and his pelvis. It’s primary and secondary, it’s sever, and it’s spreading fast. He will be on bed rest for the foreseeable. If he moves too much, he runs the risk of crushing and possibly snapping his spinal cord; the lesions on his lower back are crushing his spine into the spinal cord.

Specialists have been notified; oncologists, lung cancer specialists, respiratory specialists, pain management team. His notes have been transferred to the local major hospital, The Queen Elizabeth. Specialists from there will be assessing him and his notes over the next few days.

And then she said something which pretty much hit it home:

“Our primary focus right now is to just keep him comfortable.”

In short:

“There’s not much we can do because it’s so advanced. So pain management is first and foremost until we can work out what treatment may be possible.”

I went and read the “official notes” on the consultant’s computer.

5cm in right lung…2.5cm in right lung…nothing in left lung…2cm left frontal lobe…spine…pelvis…I needed to read it, and seconds after I read it, it was already a blur.

Dad gave up.

Well, he didn’t give up, but he knew it was serious enough to just enjoy and make the most of his remaining time. He understood the severity of it.

He just wanted to make the most of his family now.

And then he said he wished he could see his grandkids grow up.

And then he burst into tears.

Maybe an hour later I came home and broke the news to my parents in law, and to my brother who lives far away. That was the worst.

I’ve seen my family members cry before, but not for a long time.

I felt sick.

I still feel sick. I have a migraine right now, and I know it won’t go.

I’ve wanted to write this out, just in the hope of understanding all of the information currently whizzing through my head. I have work to do, and The Smalls to look after, and a house to tidy, food to prepare, and right now I can barely keep my eyes open.

I feel weird, and my brain and body pretty much don’t know what’s going on.

People keep telling me “If there’s anything I can do…” to which I always answer “I don’t know. But thanks.”

I don’t know anything, really. I know I’m tired, and I know dad is fighting mentally, but not physically. I fear one day soon he may stop fighting physically.

I fully understand that we all have to “go” eventually. The death of Granddad last year pretty much made everything very real and matter-of-fact for me. Am I cold to death? No. I just accept that it inevitably will happen and that there’s nothing anyone can do about it after a certain point. I just disagree with the terms and conditions of it all.

I disagree with cancer. There’s no fucking need for it.

Apart from trying to get some sleep, and not losing my marbles, I don’t really know what to do now. I feel like I have a million things to do, and instead, I’ve decided I’m going to concentrate on being as much of a human being as possible. Functioning as normally as possible.

I’m fucking tired.

Fuck cancer.

Silent Sunday

Mallory Court

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Silent Sunday

Sinéad & Matt, Coventry Wedding, Jay Emme Photography

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Silent Sunday

Avengers Hula Hoop

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Flying Like an MLP MOFO

This week, I am nailing it. (See yesterday’s post – Awesome Jay is well and truly in the house right now.)

Launched my new Creative Business and Confidence Coaching site with an amazing start-up offer, created titles for 100 blog posts ready to go, had some freaking RIDONK gorgeous film scans back from the film lab, wrote a freaking BOOK, and most importantly,

I FOUND MY GODDAMN VOICE AGAIN.

Shit be like this, yo:

187658__safe_rainbow-dash_animated_flying_artist-iks83

See, the thing is,

I’m kinda done running around in circles and feeling very, very stuck. I’ve realised I spend so much time “mis-focusing” on myself, and everything around me.

It’s not that I don’t focus on myself…it’s that I see myself very, VERY wrong.

Which is a shame, because the image I DO see of myself is horribly warped and somewhat pathetic.

That’s not a bad thing. But it’s also not a good thing.

See, I would look at myself, and think I was doing “kinda ok”. Sometimes I’d look at myself and think I was “kinda awesome”. But in doing so, I completely overlooked the person I could have been. The person I could BE.

The person I actually am, which has taken some time to realise.

So I’m introducing myself to a new person, someone whom I should have met, acknowledged and taken on board a looonnnnnng time ago.

This person has been there all along, but I lost sight of them along the way. Soooo…I guess they’re not really “new”, but they’re fresh to me.

I made excuses for as long as I possibly could to not have to look directly at this person. See, the thing is, they’re pretty freaking awesome, and they have a “light” which shines pretty brightly. I looked up to this person a whole lot, and then eventually stopped after a while. See, the thing is, I thought it was a bit arrogant to wish I was as awesome. I remember thinking this person was the sort of person I wanted to be, embodied everything I wanted. See, the thing is, I didn’t think I was allowed to be the same.

I didn’t realise I was allowed to be her.

I’m done with being Tired Jay. I’m done with being Confused Jay. I’m very very done with being Bored, Same-Old, Please-Make-This-Shit-Stop Jay.

Awesome Jay is my hero and I realise I’ve loved her and her badass self for quite some time.

I need to stop wanting to be her. I want to stop pretending to be her. I need to recognise that I am her.

See, the thing is, it’s about time I was me again.

Silent Sunday

image

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Silent Sunday

silent sunday

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Silent Sunday

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