My best friend, Bob, would consistently visit me a few times a month for two years when I lived in Boston; he also took a week off in 1991 to watch my son when I had surgery. That was 24 years ago. It's still extraordinary. But I repaid those measures ten-fold. Because, when people do good things for me, I double my good-efforts on their behalf.
I've never asked for anything truly extraordinary, except once. That was this fall. And if you're a fan of my blog, you know how that ended: Extraordinary, but extraordinarily bad. The chance that the opposite was possible, even quite probable, was worth the extraordinary risks. Because when I ask for the extraordinary, I do not expect to just receive it, to take it without putting in extraordinary effort myself.
I have friends who are lovely people, many of whom have given generous emotional support during my time of crisis. That is extraordinary. And very much appreciated. I'm not even sure I'd be alive to write this without them. Or to make what I now call "anti-suicide smoothies," because when you taste it, it's so good, it makes you want to live at least until the next morning so you can have another.
I've taken people on extraordinary vacations. Bob took me to the Bahamas 22 years ago. Other than that, I've been the only extraordinary benefactor of my extraordinary vacations. Will anyone ever do the same for me now? Save up to take me somewhere like Hawaii, a place I've wanted to go since surviving cancer 14 years ago. Or Israel. Paris. Ireland. Even something simple like Cape Cod would suffice. Just one time, I want to be treated like a queen, and not have to pay people to do so. Is it really so much to ask?
I'm smart, talented, accomplished, educated, fun, adventurous, energetic, and yes, quite beautiful. Yet nothing extraordinary has ever happened that did not include my direct participation in some way. I've never even gotten out of traffic ticket! And no one has ever said, "I'm taking you to Boston. We're spending five nights in a great hotel, two nights on Cape Cod and wrapping it all up with a romantic stay at a quaint New England bed-and-breakfast." Well, I said it. To myself. I took myself there in 2014. Paid for Fenway, all kinds of activities at the Museum of Science, the Aquarium, dinner at the Four Seasons, room service, brunch overlooking the wharf, a two-day beach pass...my, I'm generous.
I've made extraordinary parties for people, too--for anniversaries, weddings, baby showers, birthdays--but no one has ever done that for me. I've made my own parties, and usually, paid for them. But not always. My bestie Bob footed the bill for my PhD-bash, complete with a mojito-bar. At the time, that was my thing. Today, it would be a shot-bar, stocked with tequila and whiskey (the more difficulties we face, the harder the liquor). Of course, I made all the arrangements. Purchased and delivered the florals. Even sent out the invitations. It was extremely fun and I was so proud of myself for going back and getting that degree, but I had to ask for it. The party. And I don't want to have to ask. I want someone to want to celebrate me, to celebrate my accomplishments, without being prompted. I'd really like for at least one person to proactively consider what I might enjoy and not wait until my funeral to do so. That after-party will definitely suck. Unless my instructions are followed to the letter, in which case, limo rides, rap music, Corzo, and Maker's Mark for all!
I want someone to simply think of me, without my prompting, or expecting anything from me, or my having to offer to do it all, or pay for any part of it. More importantly, I deserve that.
But we don't get what we deserve. We get what we give ourselves. Unless you're one of the lucky few I've loved...lucky indeed.
I hate that my perspective has shifted thus--hate it because it makes me scared. That I feel like #love doesn't conquer all anymore. That happy endings are for movies and children's theme parks, not real life. That no one will take you on a vacation you don't plan or pay for yourself. That, you can (happily) turn 40 after surviving cancer (three times) and no one even thinks about making you a party. Except you. And, that even when you pursue happiness with everything you've got, you can't have it. Ever. Even if you financially support it, take it on vacation, make it "anti-suicide smoothies" every morning, and move entire mountains.
There are so many wonderful people in my life whom I cannot adequately articulate my utter appreciation for with appropriate eloquence. Please know this is in no way commentary on what you have or have not done. It's not about you. It's about me.
For the first time, in 43 years, I wanted to say without hesitation, or apology, or fear of social scrutiny, that I WANT HAPPINESS. And I want someone to want to give it to me as much as I've given it to them. I want to be remembered the way I've remembered others. I want to be taken on an amazing vacation just because I exist.
But most of all, I want to be loved without limits by another human being. In the very same way I have given love myself. If I had one wish for the expanse of my lifetime, it would be that.