I conjured the piece below 3 years ago, after an extremely intelligent and sexy and unbelievably modest wild woman invited her tribe to write a poem that let everyone glimpse into how they readied themselves before facing known troubles, and what they did to cope once mayhem had done its thing.
Last week, when a poet and friend inquired about how I dealt with a breast cancer diagnosis on top of Crohn’s disease and a busted hip and a messed-up shoulder and a bad back and… well, you get the point, I went ahead and sent him “I know How to Fall” as an answer. Later that night, after I finished reading my emails, I thought the same poem would be an appropriate response to Trinkets and Armor 6.
“I Know How to Fall”
I know how to fall
out of love in a flash,
without skinning my heart
my hubris’ bone.
I make list after list
(five days prior to the arrival of now)
and for each item, I create ‘What ifs…’
What if my lips are cracked and bloodied,
and I can’t wake the princess with a kiss?
What if exhaustion makes me thoughtless,
and I break the crystal coffin
without seeing what lies within?
What if gut and backbone turn against me,
and I can’t take three steps
without crying twelve howls and one shriek?
Unknowns must be roused properly,
coffins are too valuable to lose.
If my nerve leaves me,
I’ll run into the woods
and reclaim it.
I know how to fall
out of love
with what’s expected—
Some people have turned baseless assuming into a terribly destructive art. But don’t get me wrong, my Wicked Luvs, I totally understand that anyone can be an ass(umer) under the right (wrong?) conditions. Even moi (I know! I was shocked, too. I mean, we’ve all heard about my perfection, haven’t we?). Anyway *cough*, my latest erroneous assumption has to do with something I failed to make clear in “Shame is Useless for Living (but Excellent for Senryū)” or Trinkets and Armor 5.
In that post, I suggested that I won’t have time to entertain private questions about being ill, especially if I’ve already shared the relevant information on my blog. It seems that some of my friends thought I meant that they couldn’t contact me at all. I apologize, my Wicked Luvs. I was not trying to shut you out. I might not be able to reply right away all the time, but please know that my eyes and ears and heart remain open to you (you feed my ink and grins, remember?). I assumed that was understood… and my assumption was wrong. Last week’s message was meant for the strange (and not in a good way) souls who have called or messaged me with the sort of crap quoted below (yes, every single one of those is a direct quotation):
– “It’s okay to be scared of cancer and want it out. But rushing into severe surgery is a mistake. Search the net before you decide…” My response: You obviously don’t know me. If you did, you’ve never oozed this kind of crap my way. You should search the net before assuming.
– “Don’t give up on reconstruction because you fear the pain. Pain is easier than stares. Trust me…” My response: Like the ass(umer) above, you don’t know me either. If you did, you’d know how stupid this sounds. Trust me.
– “Don’t be forced to get reconstruction because of a man. Your body, your choice. He can have an opinion when he’s the one suffering a woman’s problem…” My response: You aren’t just an ass(umer), but also a dumbass. The first because you dare to believe that you know anything about my relationship with my Piano Man. The second because, well… dearie, you do know that men have breasts too, right? Really. You should “search the net”.
– “There’re alternatives to being butchered by a doctor that only wants your money. Be smarter. I’ve read about many natural ways to cure cancer. If I were you, I would try things that let me keep my breast first. If that doesn’t work, you can always do the other thing later…” My response (okay, this is mostly my Piano Man’s response *he did NOT appreciate that particular pearl of wisdom*): How is betting [my] life on what some idiot has “read” about “curing” cancer be “smart”? Maybe she can try that sort of treatment on her rotted brain. Um… it’s likely that the last bit was all me *cough…*.
I know, I know… those responses were neither pretty nor constructive. This is the reason why I didn’t offer them as a reply to the actual messages. I am sharing them here, so that you can see why I try to limit chronic illness related conversations to public platforms. Not just because most people’s foolishness tends to decrease a degree (or 2) when shared publicly, but… also because if they are posted here, one (or 13) of you might assist me in offering a proper response to their madness (yep, I’m a terrible individual who takes advantage of her dear friends’ aversion to stupidity).
This week, T&A Warriors *slightly naughty giggles* have two options: 1. share a bit about how you ready yourself before facing known (or unknown) troubles; or, 2. tell us about how you handle uninformed (and often dangerous) advice from well-meaning people who don’t really know what they are talking about). Please remember that your entries don’t have to be about illness. I keep on revisiting this topic simply because that’s where I am right now. Write about what matters to you.
To participate in Trinkets and Armor, please add the direct link to your entry at the end of your comment. If you don’t have a blog or a public platform, or don’t wish to write a post, just add your contribution as a comment. If you can, take a minute to read other entries. Unrelated links will be deleted without explanation.
Linked to Poets United.