Wednesday, April 12, 2023. I was going to title this blog post, "Smack!" and write about hitting walls of creativity crushing blocks over the past few months. But I was unable to get it together due to the brain fogginess. It feels like everything I am trying to accomplish is turning out wrong, not according to my vision. I am having problems with technology like never before. The apathy I felt in February has now been replaced by overwhelming anxiety.
April is an anniversary month for me. It used to be one anniversary, but now it's two: the happiest / the most terrifying.
April is the month of mine and Miah's wedding anniversary. We were married on April 4, 2009. I picked that day because April 4 was my beloved cat's birthday. Our wedding was small and short - less than 50 guests, a brief ceremony, followed by dinner. We planned it this way to mitigate the risk of a migraine attack. I didn't want a large, expensive event. If I got sick with a migraine, the money would have been wasted. Miah and I are not materialistic nor are we traditionalists. We had no trouble going the sweet and simple route. Our friend, poet and artist, Oroki Rice, was our officiant. As Miah and I stood between Oroki and guests, the entire world disappeared. All I could focus on was Miah's face. I knew Oroki was talking, but I couldn't comprehend anything. All I could think was, "Miah is marrying me! I am marrying Miah!" When it came time for me to say my vows, I opened my mouth, and promptly started crying. Normally I am able to control my emotions, especially when I am "on stage." But at that moment, the happiness I felt overtook my body. Years later, Miah told me those pure, unfiltered cries were the sweetest thing he's ever heard me say.
But now, April shares another anniversary - the terrifying - my bilateral mastectomy to remove breast cancer.
My surgery occurred on April 13, 2022. I'm 1-year cancer free.
Being a Libra, I'm all about balance. Maybe that's why the Universe planned it this way. I don't know why and I also don't really care. I used to enjoy figuring out the meanings of things and why they happened in a certain way. But everything looks so different now, post cancer.
My favorite affirmation used to be, "I am good enough. Life is easy and enjoyable for me." I had it taped to my bathroom mirror from 2014-2019, long enough to memorize it and incorporate it into my ways of being. It protected me from the uncertainties and challenges of life. I did a lot of self-improvement work during those years. Some involved mental health professionals, some involved support groups. A lot was just learning to accept my disabilities. I needed a clean break from the pressure I had put on myself to be a star. So I stopped playing music, I sold all my gear. I started healing from my perfectionistic, workaholic tendencies.
But a soul's purpose has a way of creeping back in. Shortly after I began my recovery in 2014, I realized I was meant to write songs corresponding to tarot cards. Suddenly, it all made sense. That's why my life had been so hard! That's why I'd struggled so much! That's why I was always into paranormal and psychic and witchy things! That's why I was a talented artist! I had been given all the tools, but I just didn't know what to make with them! I needed to experience those hardships so I could really tap into the energy of each tarot card and translate them into songs.
At that moment, I resolved if I ever let music back into my life, it would be to create the tarot songs.
But I wasn't in any rush. I decided to let the Universe tell me when it was time.
The Universe spoke through Miah, in 2018, by him asking if we could bring music back into our lives. He said he missed hearing me play and sing. He knew I only wanted to create The Music Tarot, and he also knew I was hesitant. I had fears:
- What if I tried and couldn't write the songs?
- What if I was wrong and this wasn't my calling?
- What if the songs weren't any good?
- What if I became a workaholic perfectionist again and all my recovery work went to waste?
Part of me felt safer keeping it a dream, so if it didn't take off, I wouldn't have to remember another failed attempt at being a professional artist. Part of me enjoyed having it sitting there, as something to look forward to. I told a couple friends about it, "If I ever make music again, it's going to be to make The Music Tarot."
And yet, never, ever, did I have any fears about my health being a threat to The Music Tarot. This is both strange and obvious. Strange because my history is packed with health problems. Obvious because I had been in denial for most of my life about my disabilities. When it comes to music, I always thought because it was my soul's purpose, nothing could stop me from achieving it.
From 2010-2013, I made myself very sick trying make a career out of my music. So this time, for The Music Tarot, I wanted to do everything differently, in a way that respected my boundaries and limitations, while also giving my talents a chance to fulfill their purpose. I had learned a lot from my previous attempt, and this time I was equipped to keep the monsters at bay. And I did well with that, until a monster named Breast Cancer entered the picture.
“Time will never move the same again. In your life after cancer, when it feels like time is flying by, it will scare you. When it feels like time is crawling and you're dying to get past a difficult phase, you'll feel guilty for not appreciating the time you have, and being grateful for any battle that isn't cancer.
It will simply never be the same again.”
By Rachael Yahne, Contributor, Huffpost.com
As a result of breast cancer, I have developed a debilitating anxiety over fear of recurrence and not being able to reach my goals for The Music Tarot. In this place of anxiety, my creation is blocked. I have been trying to use my mindfulness tools, but they aren't working. I wasn't able to tolerate the side effects of tamoxifen. There are other options I can try to prevent a cancer recurrence, but I am afraid to try them because the tamoxifen was so devastating and took so much from me. And thus the anxiety has begun to run rampant. I am unwilling to attempt another therapy, and I am struggling to be at peace with my decision.
The Survivors in my world used to be contestants on my favorite CBS TV show.
Now they are something entirely different - survivors of one of life's most devastating and deadliest diseases.
Before cancer, simply being able to create the songs was enough, and only having my friends listen to them made me feel great. But post-cancer, I'm back to worrying if I can't carve out a place for myself in the music business and get my songs heard on a large-scale, I will have failed my life's purpose. I will not have accomplished what I came here to do.
I need focus, energy, and faith to create all 78 songs and have them embraced by the collective. Right now, I am struggling with all of that. I have met with Psychic-Healer-K several times in the past few months. She is getting bold, clear messages from the Universe that I have exactly as much time as I need in this lifetime. I need to get out of my head, and into my body. I need to stop worrying and analyzing and trying to think my way out of this.
I decided to clear my space, reorganize my home, and purchase some new furniture for my studio/office. Last month, I upgraded my digital keyboard to an upright acoustic piano. I went all out and purchased a brand new one because I always wanted a brand new acoustic piano but never thought I should spend that kind of money. But post-cancer, I changed my mind. I want to see how it feels to own an acoustic piano that's only been used by me. I want to write my songs on a real string instrument. Miah was an incredible support helping me pick out the piano and arrange for its delivery.
After spending so many decades overcoming so much already, I don't understand why this cancer surgery anniversary is bringing me so much anxiety. I don't understand why I can't accept that cancer is just a part of life for some people's bodies, and mine happens to be one of them. I don't understand why the three different mental health professionals I saw over the past 14 months didn't help me avoid ending up in this awful place.
Maybe these are some of the lessons for the 45 songs I have yet to write?
End of 19 - Happy Anniversary?