Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

The Whiny Ghost

I am finally beginning to feel again. The anaesthesia is mostly out of my system, pain isn't constantly driving me to sleep or take drugs, and proper nouns are slowly making their way back into my brain where I will be able to use them again. With my brain restarting its thinking capabilities, my emotions have kickstarted as well, and I am not terribly fond of what they have taken to feeling.

Until recently, I was somehow able to float along with the cervical cancer/hysterectomy ride. I was a step removed, watching it all transpire and explaining to myself in no uncertain rational terms that cancer is what it is, my cancer was the nicest kind to have, and that my choice to have a hysterectomy (uterus only) was logical and could be a point of liberation for me. I was a nodding and smiling human version of Spock.

Even I knew that my outward show of being perfectly fine had to fall apart at some point, because whenever I spoke to friends about my health, I heard my own voice as though it belonged to someone else at the end of a long tube. I knew that whoever was talking was doing a pretty decent job of keeping me from having to cry in public every time someone brought it up, and I was somewhere else inside my skull waiting for a change in conversation topic. I felt mentally very tidy. Each corner was swept clean and any remaining debris was neatly folded away into the backseat self who watched and listened. I felt very stepford.

This removal from the immediacy of my condition was a relief from psychological pain, but it also relieved me of my short-term memory and a sense of the passage of time. For the last three weeks, I am told that I have said and done things of which I have no recollection. Something that happened yesterday can feel like it happened two hours or two months ago. Have I eaten? Have I taken my psych meds? When did I last drink water? What day is it?

The other day, I broke out into tears when I was talking to the Palinode. I started crying because I could not figure out where all my money went, but it swelled into a breakdown about an overwhelming sense of futility that hollowed out the inside of my chest, and I hated it. I hated feeling it and naming it. But there it sits.

I once trusted certain things about life and the universe, but when I lost my uterus to cancer, I lost that trust. I no longer trust that my life is meaningful or that life is anything but making it from one end to the other. My body has always betrayed me, but this seeming betrayal to end all betrayals pointed out to me that this is not the situation at all. My body cannot betray me. It is what it is and does what it does. It does not love me. It is not attached to me beyond its need for basic care. I am suffering from that terribly boring and bourgeois malady which can best be described by "Ryle's "dogma of the ghost in the machine".

Don't get me wrong. I do not feel this way one hundred percent of the time. That would be tiresome. My life is uncomplicated enough that I have the luxury not only of feeling this terrible sense of futility but also of dousing it with television, food, drink, and sleep whenever I so choose while I am off work. I feel spoiled and ungrateful, like a petulant child who has been denied sweets.

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