Wednesday, December 21, 2011

i am here, where are you?

today has been hard.

Since October my work-week has averaged 60-70 hours; I'm unable to take breaks/lunch because of the tremendous workload. I am paid (an embarrassingly) flat weekly sum as a freelance assistant designer for Betsey Johnson. This Monday I worked from 9:30am-2am, and on Tues had to be in again at 9:30am for our line review. This is not uncommon.

I've developed a cold that seems to linger melodramatically, and no longer have the privilege of free time or time alone (two very different and equally important things). I also find it hard to accept the severity of the industry-- everything must be done yesterday at any cost, and if you fuck up, it's your head on the neon-leopard-print platter. Fuck up = accidentally ordering a 16mm charmeuse instead of 19mm. Digging through an office load of trash to find a printout of a BOOT because your boss forgot to save the image to her desktop. I love the job but it's ridiculously stressful. And no health insurance, of course.

At times like these I wonder... whatthefuckhasmylifecometo?

And I realize that virtually no one I work with (except Betsey herself) has an iota of understanding as to what it's like to be a cancer survivor, to accept death, to drown in chronic pain, and try to continue on as "normal". I'm not normal, I'm another species. I can't relate. You can't relate.

Lately I've been mourning those few people I've met that could relate, and that made me feel connected. Devon, for instance. Diane. And this chap, Justin. Remembering him, I revisited his old blog and rediscovered his writing. I was still going through treatment when I started getting to know him, and I couldn't grasp his jaded-yet-reflective veteran perspective. Now I get it, and now his words sink deeper than ever.

here's something he wrote me that rings especially true right now, and brings tears to my eyes:

"I hope the best for you. I've been through a lot over the past five years of treatment and ICE was by far the worst of my experiences. How much of the bone are they looking at? The hip, right? I've been reading some of your blog. It's always weird for me to hear people say things like this but at the risk of sounding bland and uninformed... I love your words. I think we all get to a point when we think we are professionals and know all there is to know about this disease and it's effect on our entire beings. In my case, I have made this disease somewhat of a profession. However, I am always learning something new and regardless of how many times I've heard the same words from so many people our age - it is still encouraging to know that I'm not alone here. Whether it be my head in the clouds, my heart in the pit or my soul in the darkest regions of what seems to be the end of all creation, I know someone is floating close by. A blip on a map perhaps - but at times a beacon to find my way back to the mother ship. This probably makes no sense what so ever. But in plain English, I'm glad you still express yourself. And I'm grateful that I can witness that expression. Currently, I am sitting in the lobby of the National Institutes of Healthin Washington, DC, waiting for my cab to take me to the airport. From there I fly to Dallas, TX where I will stay for a week working 14 hour days on a fashion shoot. Next Saturday I return to NYC for the first time in four weeks to drop of some equipment, change out some clothes in my bag, sleep in my bed for a night and then return to DC for a week of radiation. It can be cold and dark and lonely out here. And every day is a fucking battle. I hope it's not too crazy that I write you. Feel free to do the same."

So Dusty, I am picking up where you left off in 2009, here in brooklyn, here with 14 hour fashionable work days, here trying to survive. I wish you were still around. Here's proof that sharing ourselves through words can reach far beyond our own lives.

{This blog seems to have become more "letters to dead people" than "cancer is hilarious". Do I relate more to the posthumous, or is it that posthumous writing grips us more intensely, knowing the mind that made it is gone forever?}


Anonymous said...

So glad you are posting again. Sorry about the hectic pace of your life right now, but so glad to open this blog and find you again. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am reading your blog for a while especially the part that deals with your thyroid cancer. It looks like ther is a strong cause -effect relationship between the Hashimoto's disease in early age and thyroid cancer thereafter. If cancer had spread to trachea the external beam radiaton can be used as well.
Love your make up and fashion sense!

Melissa said...

Im glad you are posting again as well. I am a 29 yr old girl/painter who lives in brooklyn and has Ewing's Sarcoma. I've just got to half way point (hopefully) of my chemotherapy and reading your blog has been really inspirational and has helped me feel not so alone.
thank you!

Juanita said...

Hi Kaylin Marie
I hope I have your name correct. I love your blog. What a bloody tough deal you have been dealt. I sincerely hope things are improving greatly for you. My very new blog is I would love to see you there sometime. Warmest regards Juanita xx