Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Being home is weird. I very nearly lost my temper and had a big screaming fit when I first got home from Utah and needed to pack for my next trip, only to find my room had been vandalized and all of my clothes were missing (Note: When I say vandalized, I mean by my loving family, and not actual vandals.). I didn't, mainly because it wouldn't have been helpful at all, and I eventually found my clothes anyway. Life at home used to always be the same- I don't have any memories of specific holidays (with the exception of the year that I invited That Guy to Christmas) because life falls into patterns and it doesn't matter if I'm 20 or 7, my home life is constant. Things are starting to change now though, and it's very strange and off-putting, like hearing a cover version of a familiar song.
I can't really draw any attention to myself these days, and while that's something I'm totally ok with, my inner Middle Child is having a hard time coping. It's slightly awkward to write about, but I went to the gynecologist today and she yelled at me for not getting a mammogram after Emily was diagnosed. And then she told me that I need to go Right Away because she could feel something during my exam, even though she is pretty sure it's nothing. I would really like to freak out about this, but I don't think I can, and I know I can't freak out to my family because Emily for sure has cancer and so needs to be the focus of their attention. I wouldn't be worried if she didn't have cancer though, and so I wouldn't need to be reassured, but since she does, I am worried and I do need reassurance. And if it is something it'll seem like less of a big deal because everyone was already shocked by a young, healthy Altreuter girl having cancer, and so now they're used to the idea. And I'm not sure I could be as brave about it as Emily, so I'll look like I'm stealing her thunder and then being a big baby about it. And even if I am a good soldier it won't matter because Emily did it first.
I have plans. Big life plans, and I don't want them to be threatened, but everything is always so uncertain. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow and never go to Africa or become a midwife, or even graduate college, and I hate that. I feel like the universe should really respect my careful planning and just let me be. I have things mapped out, and I don't need any curve balls right now, thank you very much.
I'm terrified to go back to school, but I think I need to leave home now. My optimistic outlook that I gained from spending my summer in the inspirational West is draining away, and I need to get back to the ambitious optimism of Smith to recharge. Really though, I want to just go back to the beginning of this summer, or even farther back, before Emily got sick, or even farther back, before I was lonely and miserable at a new school, or even farther, before I was lonely and miserable at my old school, or even FARTHER, when my sisters and I didn't all take up so much emotional room that our house wasn't big enough for the three of us. I usually live in the future, but now it's too scary, and I just want to crawl back into the comfortable familiarity of the past and be back at Olmsted. Because right now, that's the most recent time in my life when things made sense and felt safe.

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