Change. It’s a funny old thing. I’m not very good at change. In fact, I hate it. I’m the kind of girl that likes things to stay just as they are….forever.
I’ve managed to ignore this fear of change for quite some time. In fact I’ve even given it my own PR spin. So you see, it’s not that I’m afraid of change, no, no, I’m just very, very loyal. Yes loyal, not afraid of change…just loyal. I am loyal to a fault. A big fault. The kind of fault that ends up being yours for not changing…..for example, I will stay with a boy I met at school for 9years (yes 9 years!) even though I knew he was a lying cheating idiot with a soft spot for younger girls (loyal = a walking doormat), I will stay at a job for 8years (again yes 8years!) because even though I loved it, looking back there were times I knew I should have moved on and explored new things (loyal = not really believing in myself), I’ll stay in the same ‘renting with randoms’ situation for years even though I feel my insides curl up and die each time I see that wee in the toilet that someone refuses to flush away (loyal = serious sanitation issues).
I cling so desperately to this masked idea of loyalty that I often miss out on really living life, on throwing myself out there, being brave and having a few “oh fuck it!” moments. It’s just wasn’t me. I mean why would you want to? Why take the risk, why rock the boat, bad things happen when you rock the boat, someone could fall in, get swept away or eaten by a shark. Hey, it happens! So my advice, just stay in the boat, be very, very still and don’t move. Ever. Ok.
But after years of doing everything I could to keep things steady, I realised my life was at a bit of a standstill. That actually I wasn’t very happy. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t miserable, it’s not like I was lying on the floor at 2am drinking vodka singing George Michael songs (that’s just a typical Friday night, no? And who doesn’t love George!) – What I mean is, that after a while I realised my life hadn’t just slowed down, it had come to a stop.
At 32 I was waiting. Waiting for my life to start. For something brilliant to happen, anything really; maybe a nice house, a little dog called George (yes I know, I love George but again who doesn’t!) a lovely man (he doesn’t have to be called George…), some babies (preferably mine), or maybe just winning the lottery and becoming an international jet setting bumpkin – you know, the usual really. Something… anything, that would give me that big shove and get my life going again.
And then C-Monkey arrived. You could say he quite literally snuck up behind me and shoved me so fucking hard I still have the bruises. I mean talk about be careful what you wish for, because that ‘anything’ might just come up and bite you on the ass….or in my case, Leftie.
Once he’d arrived C-Monkey did everything he could to remind me that my life as I knew it, was going to change…forever. There was no getting away from it, no matter how much I tried and there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was like I literally woke up one morning with the word ‘Change’ written in very big capital letters on my forehead, underneath it also read ‘you’re an idiot’ – he used that special invisible ink stuff, but I knew it was there.
It wasn’t a quiet gradual change either, oh hell no, that would have been too easy. No C-Monkey didn’t do quietly; in fact he had his very own marching band, complete with cancer theme song, which was sung loudly, day and night, night and day, over and over, and over! C-Monkey’s ‘Campaign of Change’ marched all over every aspect of my life. Nothing was safe. First he conquered my body (and not in a good way), then he moved on to my family, my friends, my job, my flat-share, relationships … everything.
The biggest battle however was the one that took place in my head. At first I ran away and hid behind the “I’m fine” banner but it was made of paper and he promptly ripped through it. Then came the “Why is this happening to me” / “Fuck off” / “I need more wine” banners which didn’t do much to slow him down either. Finally, exhausted I gave in.
C-Monkey had won. Cancer had changed everything. There was no loyalty coating for this situation, it was going to change my whole life and that was that.
So my once steady boat, securely tided up in the harbour is now crashing through open water, no sign of land, just miles and miles of ever changing seas. C-Monkey loves it. He’s like a wild pirate laughing like a lunatic with every wave that crashes over us.
At first I freaked out. Who wouldn’t?! I mean – a) I hate boats, b) I am convinced I will at some point be eaten by a shark (long story involving me and a fish pond as a little girl but let me assure you it’s a very real possibility) c) I do not like or never will like open water…or waves or being in a boat, I know I said that already but I mean it.
But here’s the weird thing. Once I crawled out from my hiding place, I started to get a little braver. My sea legs kicked in and now, well, I quite like it. Yeah I do. And no I’m not high on drugs, I mean yes there are still drugs but not so much that I’m dreaming about carnival boobs again. And obviously the cancer thing still sucks giant, wobbly, whale ass and loosing Lefty sucked even more, but now that I’m here and finally realising that I have absolutely no control, I’m kind of enjoying it. I’ve let go. I’m embracing the change.
I’ve taken the PR sheen off of the loyalty cloak and finally seen it for what it is, the “I’m a mug” anorak. No one looks good in an anorak, not even on a boat. So now that it’s off I’ve started to see things clearly. I’m realising that maybe some those things that Cancer changed, actually needed to be changed.
So decisions have been made. First up the flat situation, living with other people during all this (the diagnosis, the operation, the emotional fall out) hasn’t always been easy, mostly because I was just all over the place. So I’ve rented a flat, by myself. Now the only wee I have to see the in toilet is my own, it’s a revelation. Peace and quiet, my own space, more kitchen cupboards than I could have dreamt of, a whole fridge to myself and privacy! Oh the privacy, it’s amazing. Finally I can cry whenever I want, I can sing loudly, shout, dance about naked – have my own mini naked disco for one, it’s brilliant. It’s all mine and I love it!
And that’s not all; I’m starting my new job in a few weeks, and can’t wait. It’s another big change that may have felt daunting before but now I’m just excited. Its fresh start, with new people, new challenges and maybe even a new pencil case or handbag. Well a new handbag is a must for any new job, and shoes, yes shoes are also very, very important. You can’t start a new job without new shoes, they will mock you, there will be pointing, and staring, no one will take you for lunch or talk to you, you’ll be the new girl with bad shoes!!! NO. This will never happen. I may have one wonky boob but I will never have bad shoes.
I know it won’t all be plane sailing and that C-monkey has more changes to come but hopefully I’ll be able to face them head on. Something I’m already doing. Recently I found out that the operation for the proper new and improved go-go gadget Lefty (with possible glow in the dark attachments and buoyancy aid) has been put back …..again.
Apparently more pumping action is required then it needs to ‘rest’ and ‘settle’ which makes me feel like I’m baking some sort of boob cake?! Normally I would have become a weeping mess at the news, but I’m not going to let this recent change rock my boat, it’s actually ok, it’s a good thing. It means I can start my new job for a bit, then have something to look forward to getting stuck back in to when it’s all done – the job I mean, not the boob cake, that’s just weird. And I have my new place to come back to after the next operation, a real home, somewhere that’s all mine.
It’s funny how change can affect you. Someone recently told me I was a water goat, at first I thought I was being insulted and was about to tell him he looked like a sweaty toad, but apparently it’s my Chinese sign or something. It means I’m better out in open water, riding the big waves, taking on the changes and sailing through. It turns out I’m terrible in shallow safe water and will forever fret about the small stuff. Who knew!
So here we are, a C-Monkey and Water Goat, out at sea…. in a beautiful boob shaped boat. Where we’ll end up is anyone’s guess but we seem to be doing ok.