Living Up to My Expectations

“Set a goal. Accomplish it. Set another goal.”

While I never heard Donald Wade utter these words, I live by them each and every day. Sometimes to a fault; I’m hard on myself because I know those hours I sneak away watching mindless YouTube Videos don’t add to my career, but nevertheless, I’m maximizing my efficiency daily.
When I moved out to Los Angeles two years ago, it was to begin a chain reaction of goals in which to accomplish. I spent over a decade of my life post-cancer doing little regarding creativity or towards a profession. Sure, I went to school for four of those years and made some films, but the momentum from the education stalled, and I was left to wander aimlessly.

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My Cancer Story Ch. 91 “Reacquainted Passion”

Chapter 91: “Reacquainted Passion”

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With that essay, I handily won the Brian K. Welch scholarship and with it, a renewed desire to reacquaint myself with my passion. Around the same time, a wonderful employee at NESCom informed me of an annual poem collective called “Crosscut,” which was accepting submissions. I hadn’t been focused on poems much lately, but I knew that it would be a welcomed reprieve from my Photoshop and video projects.

 

I wrote four for the book and believe it or not, two were accepted! I was overjoyed with their literal acceptance of my work! To me, it was a validation that my entire career wasn’t a fluke! Three of the poems had rhymed, and for the fourth, I played with the notion of revision, forcing myself NOT to rhyme. Here are the four I had submitted (the latter two of which, were chosen):

Aqueous Transference

The Island By the Sea

My Favorite Shirt

A Slave to the RhymeRead More »

My Cancer Story Ch. 86 “Broken Windows, Broken Relationships”

Chapter 86: “Broken Windows, Broken Relationships”

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This apartment was a surrealist breeding ground. Who knew that Travis and I could keep an apartment together? It was refreshing to have a roommate that did their share of cleaning, dishes, and trash removal. He even got the mail– without prompt! And we used to be at each other’s throats constantly!

 

Our friends, of both the former roommates and neighbor varieties, would also frequent our apartment. I remember one night, Shawn and I had been drinking a lot and I had seen Derek (the mutual friend that landlord, Trevor, and I shared) walk up our driveway. I thought it best to moon Derek as an innocent goof. Our windows were terrible at retaining any heat and were to be replaced soon; thus, I felt the cold exterior of the elements from outside upon my bare ass.

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The Whole30 Lifestyle Shift

During the second half of 2014, I underwent one of the most stressful moments in my life. I began to have random anxiety attacks that led to panic attacks. Now, I’m no stranger to these episodes, but these were unwarranted and not initiated by my own, usual provocations. No, these were an attack on my system, and I had no idea why they were happening. I went to the doctors, racked up thousands of dollars of specialist visits and tests & procedures and the doctor’s eventually diagnosed me with Crohn’s Disease. I knew people who had Crohn’s and in no way did I agree with the diagnosis. But the test to disprove it was a DNA marker test that would only rule it out as a cause if I had absolutely ZERO of the markers for Crohn’s, and the majority of the population has at least some of them.

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My Cancer Story Ch. 57 “Up In Flames”

Chapter 57: “Up In Flames”

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I had been basking in the memories of my life in real-time for the entirety of the fourteen months since treatment had ended. It was an immense feeling that I had hoped would rub off on others in the world. I was more present in interactions with my friends and loved ones than ever before and I went out of my way to make plans with them– and FOLLOWED THROUGH with said plans. I had found a cheat code in the video game of life dubbed “Extra Life.”

 

Cancer did all of this? Huh, maybe there’s something to near-death from which we could learn.

 

Luckily, many people who had experienced this ordeal with me had also found similar rejuvenation in his or her relationships. Some of my Dad’s family made more time for one another and tore open the lines of communication from a once drought-ridden trickle to a steady, flowing stream. My Mom’s side chose to spend more time with my recently widowed Memére (but that wasn’t because of my experience). Yes, the worst of times can bring out the best in people. But can that nobility and camaraderie persist?

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My Cancer Story Ch. 56 “Moving Out of the First House”

Chapter 56: “Moving Out of the First House”

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Ever since my battle with cancer, memories were something that I was compelled to create in abundance. Those memories didn’t need to be tied intrinsically to monumental moments in my life but also derived from simple things such as melodies and quiet nights at home. This next memory, however, involved an event of middling proportions: the departure from my very first home rental… and return to living with my parents.

 

Memories indeed.

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My Cancer Story Ch. 52 “My ‘Last’ Dance With Mary Jane”

Chapter 52: “My ‘Last’ Dance With Mary Jane”

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By the end of February, Mary Jane and I were in a committed relationship. I would smoke a few times a week at minimum, even though I never expected Tony to offer, but when he would offer, you best believe I accepted. I was, however, one of those guys who would tend to hover around to prompt such an invitation.

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My Cancer Story Ch. 41 “Sibling Rivalry: Round Two”

Chapter 41: “Sibling Rivalry: Round Two”

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WARNING: This chapter features some vulgar audio clips from my past.

My nomad status returned during the month of March, akin to my brother and I’s younger selves as a divorcee’s child. It was hard not “reminisce” shuttling between Dad’s, Mom’s, and the apartment. I knew I had to be happy and spend as much time with everyone as I was physically able. I mean, after all…

I WAS HOME! FOR GOOD!

 

But the connections were there. We threw a massive party, just like the event when we were released back into our Father’s care after our foster run.

My brother and I rarely got along while staying at Lori and Todd’s, but I had hoped that after this deadly ordeal, our fighting days were over. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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My Cancer Story Ch. 40 “The End of the Tour”

Chapter 40: “The End of the Tour”

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It was eerie how well things had been going. The chemo bombardment had become shorthand to my caregivers and me. I would receive the blood count-killing poison and then waited it out until my body bounced back to life. The overall process wasn’t as long as it had once been for the first few courses, as these were significantly less potent, but nevertheless, I was running through the paces.

But this one was different in another way… It was my very last one.Read More »