Wednesday 31 December 2008

And never brought to mind.

As a person who's generally happiest when life is unexcitedly plodding along, I've always wondered how people cope with huge matters of fate-dealt chance that completely alter the course of their lives. Particularly famous people. Not your Katonas or Goodys or Houghtons; more the Presleys, Monroes and McCartneys of the world. Surely it's impossible to go from being ordinary theatre-worker Elvis Aaron to being crowned the King of Rock 'n' Roll without at least a little freak-out along the way? Marilyn went from spraying aeroplane parts to being recognised as an international sex symbol – then overdosed on barbituates. Macca went from being a 'shit-kicker from Liverpool' to half of the best songwriting duo of all time – then wrote the Frog Chorus. 

And while I'm far from being a talented singer/songwriter/actor/whatever (I purposely began a new paragraph there to separate myself from that lot), I can't help but think that my life-change – from happy-go-lucky, image-conscious twentysomething to balding, bloated cancer patient in six months – is along similar, freak-out-inducing lines (albeit without the global superstardom). So what's my freak-out going to be? Will I even have one? Have I had it already? (Shit, it's the kitten, isn't it? How very rock 'n' roll.) My point, though, is this: how can you ever reason with something as massive as The Bullshit? If I were to write my life story, how many chapters would it warrant? I don't want to be defined by having had breast cancer, but at the same time it is a pretty fucking big deal, so I do want people to know that I got through it. And while we're at it, I'd like a reward for getting through it, too. I appreciate how selfish and egotistical that sounds, but frankly I'm past caring. When people climb Everest or sprint quickly or jump high or give a brilliant movie performance, they get something in return. Well this is my Everest, and if I have to make my own medal from tin foil and leftover Christmas ribbon, so be it. I just can't get my head around the fact that you can go through all of this and be expected to carry on again as normal, with nothing to show for your experience.

I'll make no bones about it: I'm struggling to deal with The Bullshit as much now as I was mid-chemo. I may have got my head around the physical effects and the things I need to do in response to them (nothing, mostly – radio is making me more exhausted by the day), but the myriad mental matters are tying me in knots. Mid-sprout during my Christmas dinner, I found myself this close to throwing down my knife and fork, chucking my plate at the wall (like they do in the soaps) and screaming 'what the hell are we doing?' at P and my folks. In that moment, I could not believe that, regardless of what had happened this year, there we were, eating turkey and wearing paper hats. (My suspicion that a paper hat would substitute nicely for a headscarf was quickly quashed – from the shoulders up, I looked like a novelty eggcup.) The simple act of 'getting on with it' sometimes seems so preposterous in light of having been diagnosed with breast cancer, and every now and then I find myself irrationally angry with the rest of the world for going about its business as normal. EVERYTHING has changed for me, so why is everyone else carrying on as though nothing has happened?

Part of me wants to have a word with myself. 'For fuck's sake, you've got cancer. So what?' And admittedly, most of the time (this blog excepted) I'm pretty flippant about having breast cancer, preferring instead to make glib jokes, trivialise it and avoid giving it the grim respect it craves by smiling my way through as much as possible. But the other half of me appreciates – and is completely panicked by – the weight of this shitty episode, and wants to do something equally absurd in response. I sometimes feel like I'm perched on top of a volcano, and that at some point I'm going to do a Cameron Frye and completely flip out. I think it'd be only fair. Something as momentous as breast cancer in your twenties deserves a flip-out as big as Jacko's skin-colour-change (though I, too, am a fair bit paler now than I once was) or Britney's head-shave (insert obvious joke here). Drug dependency is out – I've had enough drugs to last me a lifetime this past few months – and I dare say I've already gone down the Elvis-inspired weight-gain route (Operation Elfin begins in earnest tomorrow). So maybe now's the time to get the tattoo, then? I guess at least that would be flip-out and reward in equal measure. 

I hope you'll forgive all this open-ended reflection, particularly after a week-long blog break (since The Tit is the closest thing I've got to work at the moment, I figured I'd grant myself some annual leave). Frankly, I blame new year, and the enforced analysis of the previous 12 months that it encourages. If you count out my brother's wedding, The Seldom Seen Kid, adopting Sgt Pepper, being at the American Idol final and getting an iPhone, there's very little I want to remember about 2008, ta very much. It's been an utter motherfucker of a year (I'd call it a cunt, but I promised Dad I'd never say that again), and I'm so anxious to get going on a new one that I'm playing party-pooper tonight and sleeping through midnight. (It's the same twisted logic you use when you're a kid, when going to bed early somehow means your birthday will arrive sooner.) 

I do have a few resolutions, though, and one of them is blog-based. Next year, I'd like Alright Tit to go from being about living with The Bullshit, to being about wrestling my way out of it. I'm done with breast cancer. Done with it and what it's done to me, the way it's made me look, the issues it's made me confront, the effect it's had on my life and the lives of my family and friends. Never before have I needed a new start as much as I do now. From this point on, Alright Tit is about getting over breast cancer, rather than getting through it.

Happy new year, all. Here's to 2009.


Anonymous said...

As ever, your words have made me confront something that I've buried for a very long time. I nearly died - twice - and carrying on now as if the worlds the same just doesn't quite cut it. Rather than screaming from the rooftops I'm off to make myself a medal with the leftover turkey foil and see if that helps. Maybe its a question for Mr Marbles?
Anyway, having travelled in some small way though 2008 with you I too am looking forward to your new direction in 2009!
All the best and take good care xxx

Anonymous said...

I salute you. I fucking salute you. I am so proud of being your friend. Loving the use of the past tense here. Fond fucking farewell indeed. Next year is going to be The One. It's got your fabulous name all bloody over it. TH x

Unknown said...

Here is to 2009!

Anonymous said...

Here's to a very, very happy New Year to you Lovely L. Looking forward to facing the furture with you head on, and going for an extremely yummy dinner with you and P to both celebrate the end of one chapter and eagerly anticipate the beginning of the next. 2009 awaits...xxxxx

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous sentiment to end 2008 on. You're simply an inspiring individual, my dear, and I can't wait to enjoy a new era of Alright Tit with you.

Big Jing love to you and P,


Anonymous said...

Yay, you're watching CBB too! :) I'm so glad there's a few nice people who upload it on You Tube, so i can watch it as well, from Finland.
My faves so far are Mutya, Coolio and Terry. Had no idea who Lucy and Tina were though, and usually i know all the UK celebs.
Happy new year to you, i hope you have a great one!
ps. As a cat person, i'd like to hear more about Sgt.Pepper sometimes ;)

Anonymous said...

Good point Marjo. Can we get more SP action on the blog? xx

Megan said...

A Monkey/Johnny Vegas fan! Me and my mum love those adverts. We actually have a proper sized Monkey toy, although back from the days when he was on ITV. We're not bandwagon jumpers!
I love that advert! xx

Mystically said...

Just watched the C Word I'd recorded last night.... Have a 29 year old friend that pased away from lucemia this year and a few of my family have battled through cancer...
Had a lump myself when I was 19 and being predisposed... I'm always afraid a new lump will appear and it'll be the C Word...
Thank you, to you Lisa, and to your family for continuing it, your blog and book will continue to help so many people that are concerned by this Bullshit.
I just hope the next step is translating it so that people all over the world can be helped by your amazingnes.

God, I'm glad I watched the film alone at 4am to be able to cry...

Thanks again, for everything ♡

Isla, 30, from Belgium