Friday, April 6, 2012

The Image of Control

Hi folks. I've been thinking about my image all week this week, as I've got a big con month this April. First Romantic Times in Chicago and then Malice Domestic in Bethesda. My parents are also flying in for the holiday this weekend, so I needed to get stuff done this week.

Monday, I got my toes and nails done. Shellac, my new godsend, means my nails will look good through to RT, at least. Thursday, I went to get my hair done--getting those roots touched up and giving the mop a trim to control it.

In between I thought about outfits for RT and when to do laundry so they'd be clean. I counted calories as I've been doing, and was super excited to see fewer numbers on the scale again and again.

I went to the gym. I shaved my legs. I admired how great my laser hair removal is working which reminded me I should probably go in for threading.

And then, last night, driving home from dropping my friend back at off at home after we'd had a long dinner kvetching about life and work, I got an email.

This email was about someone I used to know. Never well, to be honest, but a lot. We worked together in the same house for a year, and I lived in that house. So I'd wake up to Will and, sometimes, go to sleep to Will. Will and I had lunch, and we cooked dinners, and we would kvetch,  as I'd just done, about life and work.

I respected Will and liked him, and he was the sort of solid presence in your life that you admittedly take a bit for granted. Will was Will: he knew who he was and he wasn't one of those people you had to fuss over or tap dance around. At 21 or 22, I didn't know who I was at all, and I definitely required some fussing. I think I liked Will best for refusing, ever, to fuss.

Will requires a lot of fuss, however, now. For Will has had a horrible, almost unimaginable thing happen to him. But he's coping, apparently, although I don't really think that word suffices in a situation such as this.

Here's Will's Story:

Watch this video on YouTube

And you can read the full article, here.

Since last night, I've been thinking non-stop about Will and remembering how he was and trying to think through his current situation. I'm a "thoughtful person," according to my therapist, but all thoughtfulness, all empathy, fails here. I can't begin to approach the subject of losing all four limbs to a random virus on any level--not emotionally, not physically, and certainly not rationally.

And so, inevitably, I'm brought back to thinking about myself. I'm not proud of that, but I think these situations lend themselves to reflection. I'm thinking about how we fill our time with Shellac, and hair appointments, and kvetching about things in our control simply because they help to distance ourselves from the fact that, in reality, we have no control. We strive for our image to be one of health and happiness, because image is the only thing really under our thumb.

But we also have the power to react to horrendous situations, as we see Will and his brother, Tom, do so beautifully in this video and write up. Along those lines, there's a Boston area fundraiser for Will, at Boston University. The information is here. If you're in the Boston area, please, please consider attending, even if it's just to drop a donation off at the door.

For those outside of Boston, Boston's Core Curriculum (a program Will and I were both in) is organizing a donation through them, as well. Please consider giving, and you can contact Zachary Bos in the Core office, by calling 617-353-5404 or emailing Tell them a Core alum sent you.

You can read more about Will at his blog.

Now, go hug someone you love. *hugs*


Sophie Littlefield said...

will is going to be in my thoughts this week as I hike in the desert. i am so glad his brother is there with him as he starts the next stage of his life. thank you for sharing his story, sweet pea. i wish i was going to be with you next weekend!

Gigi Pandian said...

I had a post-chemo follow-up appointment with my awesome oncologist this morning, and this is SUCH a reminder that people can rise above things that are SO much more difficult than I went through.

As to comparing such a situation to activities such as doing your nails and hair, you're absolutely right that it's something that helps us feel in control. After I got my diagnosis I found Kris Carr of "Crazy Sexy Cancer," who is amazingly inspirational. But not everyone is a fan. She's a big advocate of treating yourself to things that make you feel sexy while undergoing cancer treatments, rather than feeling sorry for yourself. Having that kind of attitude works wonders for healing both body and soul.

Even after I'm declared cancer-free, I want to hang onto that attitude. Life is still completely unpredictable, but I plan on thoroughly enjoying it :)

Lisa Hughey said...

That is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing Will's journey with us. I'm off to hug my kids.

Juliet Blackwell said...

Wow. Just, wow. My heart goes out to WIll and his family. And you're right, that all we can take from this is to hug our loved-ones and realize how important life is. Thank you for sharing this with us.