Over the last couple of days, I have written about things that people say to me that only make me feel worse. Many of you – both people who know me offline and those who don’t – have requested that I let you know what makes me feel better, so here goes.

  1. Hugs are always welcome. Real and virtual. (If you’re a tall, single, sensitive, Jewish, straight guy, your hugs can be longer. Since I’m 31, I’ve dropped the “no criminal record” requirement.)
  2. Anything related to The Sound of Music. Anything. (I probably have about 10 eggs left at my age, and I have named them Leisel, Fredrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigita, Marta, Greta, Uncle Max, Baroness Schraeder, and Captain Von Trapp.)
  3. Knowing my friends are there for me at any time, even if I don’t utilize it. I haven’t gotten angry yet by anyone saying they’re here for me if I need it. I think it actually makes me feel better.
  4. The Britney Spears song Womanizer. Only becuase it’s the only song on the radio that has no chance of making me cry right now.
  5. Seeing my friends drop what they’re doing to come to me when I am falling apart (thanks T Nugget and O The Dos for The Truth About Cats and Dogs the night we got the devastating news).
  6. My ballet and lyrical classes. 90% of the time they change my mood. I love my teachers, I love the people who dance with me, and I love the dance studio, though I would love for the bathrooms to smell better and for the studio 3 floor to be cleaner.
  7. Sarah McLachlin’s Mirrorball CD. That’s my desert island CD.
  8. Seeing this unexpected outpour of support from people who I don’t know.
  9. People making me laugh in the most random ways. Thanks, RivkA. Much appreciated.
  10. Knowing people care so much that it affects their mood. This makes me feel bad, too, but knowing someone cares that much is very special.
  11. Cap’n Crunch and Life Cereal. I wish we had the cinnamon kind, but I”m OK with the regular kind. If it was good enough for Mickey, it’s good enough for me.
  12. Knowing these feelings will, eventually, go away, or at least subside.
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Yesterday I wrote a top 10 (that became 11) list of things I hate hearing. There is actually one more, but it deserves it’s own post.

The absolute worst thing anyone can say to me is “be strong” or “you are so strong.” I am not strong. The fact that I don’t break down at any given moment is not due to my “strength.” No one knows what’s going through my head, and what I’m thinking or feeling.

I’m not in denial in any way. I know what’s going on. But when tumor #2 happened, and especially #3 (The Paralyzer), I developed a mechanism that, to this day, makes me feel guilty. I basically remove myself from the situation and almost “pretend” that it’s not my mom that I’m looking at.

Sometimes I accidentally switch the off button, like last week, which caused me to cry for 4 days straight (to the point where I didn’t even go to my ballet and lyrical classes, and anyone who knows me knows that I don’t skip those EVER).

It’s a double-edged sword. Either I fall apart (read: not strong), or I pretend that what’s happening is unrelated to me (read: not strong, just chicken, with a dollop of guilt).

This is the only way I get through my days, and especially the hospital visits. Seeing what’s become of my mom, in no time, is too terrible to be able to deal with if I wouldn’t pretend. Especially since none of this should have been happening for at least another 30 years.

Silence does not equal strength. Silence is just silence, at least in my case.

In no particular order, the following is a top 10 list of things I HATE hearing. They don’t make me feel better, they only piss me off. Most of my friends already have this list memorized, though most of them don’t know this blog exists:

  1. You’re in my thoughts
  2. You’re in my prayers
  3. G-d is with you
  4. Really, anything involving G-d
  5. Everything will be OK (Yihiye Beseder)
  6. This too shall pass
  7. Everything happens for a reason
  8. Things get worse before they get better
  9. Cheer up/smile/anything along those lines (stop trying to make me feel better!)
  10. Go to your dance classes/go to a party/go out with friends/don’t stay home (I go out all the time, if I’m not in the mood, don’t try to make me.)
  11. Don’t stop telling me your problems because “they aren’t as bad as mine.” If I don’t want to hear your issues, I won’t answer your phone calls.

Update: Number 12 received its own post.