Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

pink tutus and yellow hair

Last week my mother told me a little story about my childhood. When I was very little I went to daycare at the Thueringer home. There were a lot of kids at this daycare, and all of them were white. All of them except for me. Apparently I came home one day and said, "Mommy, I'm brown." I was maybe 3 or 4. She told me that she would never forget that day.

I can remember growing up knowing I was brown. I remember in ballet, we were the Rainbow Ballerinas, all of the girls were given pastel tutus- light pink, mint green, soft yellow, lavender - except me. I was bright red. I will never forget Amanda, and her pretty pink tutu, with her blond hair and blue eyes, when she pointed at me and said "You have to be red because you are brown. Only white girls get pink." I tried to argue with her, but honestly what did I know? I was brown and that was my first (and only) ballet class. Maybe she knew something about ballet that I didn't. Maybe in Ballet you had to be white with blue eyes and yellow hair if you were going to wear pink. Stupid pink tutus.

Eventually, I was like everyone else. My skin isn't that dark and frankly the further into adulthood I got, the more the girls I knew went tanning and were my color or darker than me anyway. I just fit in and my tan skin became the norm. I stopped thinking about being brown, because I just wasn't that different.

Now, after years of spending my summers indoors under the florescent lights of my grey walled cubicle, my skin is definitely "olive" but not so brown. My eyes turned greenish from a run-in with the sun at Disneyland. I typically dye my hair a little lighter than it's natural black.

As I am preparing myself to walk into the geneticist appointment on Wednesday, I am sitting here thinking that once again, there is this brown smeared over what "should" have been white. I'm still not fit for pink tutus.

But I make red look good. Blue eyed girls, with yellow hair, may look awesome in Pink, but it takes brown to really rock the red.

(and no matter how sick this stupid birth control makes me, I will rock the red. No stupid disease is going to tell me what I can and cannot be. Today I have managed to keep down just water. I hate most food today... and I cannot tell you how gross dairy and meat are. Seriously. I can't even have them near my face or I will lose it).

Friday, September 17, 2010

An interesting incident

Today has offered me a little insight into my life. Here is what happened...

I was at work, working like a hurried and busy little bee (it's just that season and frankly I am terrified that I may lose my job). I was chatting momentarily with my boss when the front desk girl came up and began to whisper in a very concerned and terrified tone, "Rebecca, there is a man asking for you, and wait (as I turned to see who it was), there is something wrong with him..." At this point my glance over my shoulder told me that my father had come to see me at work. I nonchalantly said, "Oh! That's my dad!", with more enthusiasm than I would have thought normal for me, but I was apparently excited to see him. "Hi Daddy!", came my next words. I glanced at my co-workers face and found her beat red and unable to make eye contact with me. I ignored her embarrassment and went to greet my dad.

After my father left my office, another co-worker, who knows more about my father's current condition, jumped in and asked for an update. I gave it to her, allowing more information than she actually needed so the new girl could feel not so embarrassed. She looked at me smiled and said, "I'm sorry". I told her not to worry, after all there is no way she could have known.

The best part is that I was not embarrassed. Not only was I not embarrassed, but I was just happy to see my dad. It was normal for him to come into my office. It was happy. It was good.

All of those emotions surprised me, but those emotions are not normal. But they are happy, and they are good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hebrew and Genetics and that tiny little pill

Much to my chagrin, today is the first day of that tiny little pill. The last time I took that little pill, ten years ago, it racked my body and made me both ill and rather insane. I am not looking forward to those affects and hope and pray that they will not come this time around. Along with dreading side effects, my heart has begun to feel the sorrow yet again. I have no idea what the next months of doctor appointments will bring for me and my knowledge of this little disease, but I do know that I would much rather not have any issues.

My genetics test is on September 23rd. I have talked with my aunties and gotten the information I need about their respective bouts of cancer. They are all alive, and it has been years since any of them has had any sign of cancer. I am not afraid of losing my life. I am not really even afraid of losing my ovaries. I am afraid of losing my ability, newly gained ability, to have children, and what that will do to my ability to marry, which again, is not even necessarily an ability I want. It's amazing how hard you can hold onto something you are not sure you want.

Hebrew is my heart. The flow, the rhythm, the dimensions, and depth of the words; I cannot escape my love for that language. Bryce is learning Hebrew and I am helping him. Watching that same love that is in my heart dawn on his face is so very sweet to me. That my dear friend can know and experience this deepest love of my heart is very powerful for me. I am having so much fun helping him and remembering so much of a language that once monopolized my life.

A very little moment of honesty: I would rather avoid my disease than deal with it. I would rather not know whether or not I have the cancer gene. I would rather just assume that Jesus was doing this. I would rather just be angry at him for ruining my life. I would rather just be a victim.

But I'm not a victim. And cancer gene or no, ovaries or no ovaries, I am a woman, but not a victim.

"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman that of her who has a husband. Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left..." Isaiah 54:1-3

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Rainbow Connection

Who said that every wish could be heard and answered
when wished on the morning star.
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it,
look what its done so far.
What so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it the rainbow connection...
the lovers...
the dreamers...
and me...

I love real life. Because it's not my dreams, or my wishes, or my hopes. It's not the fantasy inside of me. My dreams would not be nearly as exciting if they came true all the time. Stars and dandelions and Disneyland wouldn't be magical if they really worked to turn our childhood ideals into our adult realities.

When I was a little girl I wanted so many things. I wanted to be a lawyer or a pediatric surgeon. Notice how much more specific the doctor wish was. That was what I really wanted. I wanted to graduate valedictorian of my high school class. I wanted to go to the University of Washington. I wanted to kiss a boy and then magically get married in a white dress and very soon thereafter have a precious baby of my very own that I would of course have time for even though I was the most accomplished 20-something pediatric surgeon on the West Coast. I wanted red hair and freckles. I wanted to be skinny. Very very skinny. I wanted green eyes (or to have one blue eye and one brown like Jamie Johnson's sister. She was a model.) I wanted to be 5'10 like Cindy Crawford.

Even now I have little daydream moments of happiness. These little dreams that save me from my day for just a moment, where I imagine perfect boys that don't play games that sacrifice their very beings for me that they may love me that much more. I have sweet moments spent far away on a cobblestone road or a dirt path on the well beaten tracks in Ireland. I fall asleep every night in a big house by the sea (the only problem is the obnoxious "University" soundtrack outside my real window rarely fades).

But I don't want to know perfect boys. They are actually really annoying. I don't want to ramble aimlessly alone on some path in Ireland (well I do... but not in the way I do in my daydreams), and I most certainly do not want to live in a big house... or by the sea. I love these places, these dreams, because they are other. They are not what I know everyday and so they are the magic and the hope and the rest for my soul.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I've heard it too many times to ignore it. It's something that I'm supposed to be.
Someday we'll find it....
the rainbow connection...
the lover...
the dreamer...

that's me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blessed Assurance

Jesus is mine.

Sometimes I just have to have a day or two where I am completely excited that salvation happens and that it happens for me. And for you.

Here's the deal: I am rarely excited about salvation. True to my nature, I hate grace. I require it, but by golly it is my least favorite thing. I shouldn't need grace. I should be able to force myself into a level of goodness that surpasses grace. However I can't. Dwelling on thoughts of salvation often causes me anger or deep immovable sorrow. So I ignore salvation... not a great practice.

Here's the kicker: Once I realized not only my need for grace, but God's need to give it to me, I suddenly decided to live grace as fully as I could. I took grace for a walk and said, "Alright, let's see what you can really handle." Grace can handle a lot more than I can.

I get tired, so quickly, of pushing the limits of my view of God. I've come to a point, and have been stuck here for quite some time, where I have the foundations firmly set, but everything else is ambiguous and up for discussion. For example, I love God, and believe him to be the creator. I love Jesus, and believe that grace and hope come through him. I love the holy spirit, and believe that he dwells right here with me. Beyond that, I'm pretty open. Some days that is really comfortable for me, and other days it scares me a lot. Studying theology simultaneously freed me from guilt and obligation, and bound me into the apathy that so often accompanies ambiguity.

So then I am so thankful for those days, like today and the last few days, where I find myself just really happy to have faith and to celebrate that. I get to forget momentarily that I have chosen to live in the tension between different celebrations of the Christocentric faiths, and rather revel in the peace that came with my choice to celebrate a broader depiction of the Man who first loved me.