Saturday, 02.11.2017 - 11:59 am.
I thought last week was going to be rough. This one turned out to be a bit worst.
My dad has cancer, too. Well, "too" implies my mom does and she currently doesn't, but she is in treatment as if she did. It's skin cancer, on his left leg, and he's in the process of getting lots of tests and appointments to figure out the stage and the best course of treatment. We're waiting, and I don't quite have much to say. I'm far away and I feel guilty and useless. I wouldn't be able to visit my home country until August or September, but I think I'll do that.
I got a tattoo on Tuesday, on the left leg to boot. It's the Aerosmith's album Draw The Line cover, it's them in cartoon form. I've wanted it for ages and it was Andrew's gift for my birthday (the appointment and the money). The tattoo artist did an amazing job and I hope I won't freeze when I have Steven Tyler and Joe Perry in front of me, so that I can show it to them.
My parents saw the photo I uploaded of my new tattoo. They texted me, always my dad speaking on behalf of my mom, and he felt the need to say: "Your tattoo...no. We're coming in, overwhelmed from our oncology appointment and see this, and on Facebook!". And other stuff along those lines.
Mom and dad, you both have cancer and my heart breaks because of it, but fuck you. You don't get to use your illness to make me feel guilty for the choices I make regarding my own body. The nerve of it. I know that's mostly my dad, who tends to pull that shit here and there.
I wrote back two lines, saying I knew they didn't accept it nor approve of it, and they were in their right to do so. The end. See, I didn't need their approval, let alone their permission, hence I didn't inform them or anybody in my family. It's a tattoo, not an illness or a pregnancy. However, after getting my parents' message I did put myself in their shoes, and then I couldn't take them off, and I was horrified with my own tattoo. I know they'd consider it ugly, grotesque, something very out of character for me.
The tattoo means a lot to me. In reality, Aerosmith are five people, five men with qualities and flaws, and I barely even listen to their records anymore. That's not what I got on my leg. I connect the drawing to an era of my life, in which I suffered (in a silly, teenage, privileged way, but still) and had the most wonderful time; when I had so many dreams and wishes and plans that, hey, by now they've all come true! It's a sort of six degrees of separation game with that drawing and all that matters in my life, be it cartoons, music, awesome people, feeling happy with myself, living in a great environment, being on an amazing journey.
I did reject the tattoo for a few days after getting it and getting my parents' message on Tuesday (and I braced for messages from my two most conservative brothers but nothing has come yet). What have I done. It's huge. My leg. I should have gotten a drawing of Simeon instead. Maybe I could cover this tattoo with a drawing of Simeon in the future. But every time I look at my tattoo, I grin. I smirk. I laugh. It's well done and it's mine. And *I will* be getting Simeon too, in the future.
My parents replied to my message sort of making peace, "we know you are you" and not to worry(?) and stuff. Then we exchanged a couple of awkward messages about how hard cancer is, without saying the word cancer, and that was it. I'll be talking to them this weekend, as I always do, and I'm praying they won't bring up the tattoo. If they do, I have to be gracious. Listen, I'd never say to them "fuck you" or anything remotely rude. I'll just validate their feelings and move on.
The whole tattoo thing did make me think about something. On top of the uncomfortable message from my parents. Andrew's mom shared my photo on her profile. WHY? I mean, I understand why, she shares it and writes a message about how much she loves her children; the mental state that draws her to do so is less cute. Her boy, the one I married, has blocked her to avoid being smothered, and after this I'm close to doing the same. I felt overexposed, ashamed and out of control.
With that feeling, I questioned my presence online. I've questioned this diary before, because it's personal, truly personal, and I also talk about other people in very intimate terms. Anybody can take any of my data and do any kind of awful stuff with it, and the fact that I'm a nobody doesn't mean I can't be targeted.
I considered closing my Facebook profile, deleting other accounts, getting rid of at least one blog. Wouldn't it be nice to not exist online? I asked myself. To get rid of the burden of trying to keep the attention of others? I've come back and forth feeling like David Bowie in his first years seeking for fame (I'd love to be noticed because of my writing, but because it's good, you see), and his last years of enjoying being out of the spotlight and focused on what became the most important things in his life. I'm still working this out.
There were other things that made this week really uncomfortable for me. I started a course with the professor whose blog I've followed for years. I admire him and being in the same department has given me more reasons to look up to him. I felt very small compared to the rest of his students', they all had very thoughtful inputs; never mind they were master students and I'm the only PhD. In my one and only contribution to the class, I said something very basic and his only feedback was, rightly so, that I pronounced a word wrong. I tried to keep that from getting to me, but it stung and weighed me down for a day or two. I was disappointed in myself, I'm not up to the task. I did sign up in his course to learn, and hell yeah I'm doing it. But it sucks that I can't keep up intellectually and it's become apparent that I don't speak English that well.
Anyway. There were other temporary activities or obstacles this week, most of them foreseen, and overall the week ended on a productive note. At times I felt like coming in here and whining and crying, but I guess it was best to wait for (most of) the storm to pass.
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