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.

A Universal Apology For Dropped Balls

I am not sure where to start with this, because it is decidedly not funny, but every time I start writing about it, I get the giggles. You know that funny bone that is not in your elbow but is in your knee? The one that really kills when you bump it? Yeah, well my knee funny bone keeps jerking and kicking a whoopee cushion, a whoopee cushion that I wrote sad teenage poetry all over.

So, let's start again. Hello, my name is Schmutzie, and I am not being funny. In fact, I am being very sad, especially over the last few months. I do not mean sad-all-the-time sad. It is more like anxious-sad, it's-blooding-fucking-spring sad, seasonal-affective-disorder sad, dealing-with-the-past-year-from-hell sad.

For those of you who were not here as far back as September 2006, that was the month in which I went for my first full physical exam in six years. If you are in a similar position, I would suggest that you run to your nearest doctor's office, demand a full physical, and gladly hop up into those stirrups, because otherwise you might find yourself not only facing highly abnormal cervical cells but also facing a colposcopy, a LEEP, a cancer diagnosis, and then, eventually, a hysterectomy.

You don't want that, do you? No? I didn't think so. Welcome that speculum with open legs arms.

And then, while all of that was going on between September 2006 and July 2007, the Palinode's back decided it would be a good thing to get broken, reduce him to near immobility, put him through excruciating amounts of pain that opioids could barely touch, and then put him under the knife in November 2007.

Oh, and I nearly forgot that I started medication for my general psychological malfunction in January 2007.

So, the last nineteen months have been stressful, and while I am presently cancer-free and the Palinode is once again walking upright and using his cane less and less, all of which I thought would be a welcome relief, it is not. Yet. It may be at some point, but right now I am quite busy having all kinds of emotions related to spending well over a year wondering at times if I was going to live and if the Palinode was ever going to be over three-and-a-half feet tall again.

I do not know what made me think that everything would magically be hunky dory once we both were back at work and healthy. I think I was operating under the hope that all that crap would be behind us and that we would just move seamlessly into far less crappy lives. I was so very wrong on that front.

As a result of it taking me a while to snap myself back together, I have been unable to fulfill all the duties that come along with being Schmutzie, and I feel tremendous guilt for having had to scale back my activities so much and for taking so long to do things that seemed so perfectly doable.

I once belonged to two volunteer boards. I resigned from first one and then the other. I have backed out of more evenings out at other people's homes than I can count on both hands. Knitting projects pile up unfinished. My photography and poetry writing has all but stopped. Internet-related projects, my biggest source of guilt, have been sluggish in the offing at best.

At times, I feel like I should dig out my stash of blank note cards and send out fifty kajillion apologies to all and sundry that have depended upon me for anything even as small as showing up for snacks and a board game. I feel that I have failed so many over the last several months when, at the time, I was thinking that I should have been able accomplish the normal things I set out to do. I know now that my expectations of myself did not match with my compromised abilities, but it is still difficult to look back at all I have not done because of it.

The truth is that I am tired. After dealing with cancer and the Palinode's back surgery, what I really wanted to do, what I really hoped to do, was jump up and run into my future, but instead I am tired and anxiety-ridden. I have to accept that I can run headlong into my life later. Right now, I need to relax, breathe, and decompress.

I am slowly learning not only that I need more time to heal my mind and my heart but also that it is okay to do that. The difficult part is learning to accept that this is not a failure on my part but a fact. I am not lost. I am getting better.

50x365 #194: Jackie

An Elephant Paints A Portrait