Entry 2: BONUS BLOG: Perspective & Keeping It Real
February 13, 2014
This week, after viewing my vlog, a few friends asked how long I had been dating Boyfriend. I told them I had been with Boyfriend for almost two years. They responded,
“You’ve been dating that guy in the video for two years?”
“No. That guy is an actor. His name is Matt. We are not dating. I am dating Boyfriend. The vlog is just pretend.”
“I thought the vlog was real.”
I realized then that I am doing something new, and it requires a little explanation. I am calling the genre of my vlog “Reality Sitcom” as per the suggestion of my friend Joe Martin. The vlog is based on reality. Everything you see really did happen and it really did happen to me. I write the vlog and I star in it. However, these events transpired a few months ago. Since then I’ve written them down, and now I’m filming these scripted snippets of my life with actors.
I think documentaries are awesome (Hot Coffee recently rocked my world. Seriously. Tort reform is fascinating. Who knew?) But, I think this genre I’m working in has some advantages. One advantage is that I am able to tell my story with the distance and perspective of a little time.
Six months ago, when it happened, my search for a mammogram didn’t feel weighty, because I didn’t know I had cancer. Other things (my diagnosis, beginning treatment, etc.) felt really overwhelming because I didn’t know what I know now, which is that five months later I am well enough to write and produce this vlog.
Perspective is everything. We tend to see life from the perspective of “I” and “now.” But, sometimes it’s necessary to step outside of that. I think this limited view of the world is why receptionists/people are sometimes assholes.
SPOILER: I have cancer.
I know. You’re shocked. And still I call places (as I did in the vlog): doctors, social workers, cancer support networks, cancer awareness associations, etc.; and often get people on the phone who are dismissive, rude and/or mean. Just this week, a social worker made me cry over the phone, telling me she felt I was too over committed to attend a cancer support group and that calling their organization was a mistake.
I thought, “What the fuck, lady? I have cancer. You are an organization that offers support to cancer patients. You are being an asshole. Did I mention I have CANCER?”
But, from this lady’s perspective, all she does all day is listen to people who have cancer ask for help. So, I’m not special. I’m just another person with cancer. That’s her whole world. Her whole day is people with cancer calling asking for things. Just like the receptionist in the video. All day, sick/pregnant/scared/itchy/horny ladies call this gyno’s office and Receptionist is supposed to act like their needs are interesting to her and then set up an appointment or take a message.
Now, Receptionist should do her job better; but at the same time I would think it’s easy to become desensitized to this kind of thing. I would guess when illness is your whole business playing “the cancer card,” doesn’t get a person very far.
I am guilty of this too—even as a cancer patient.
Last fall, Boyfriend and I were sitting in my oncologist’s office, and this very important looking woman walked in with a large portfolio under her arm. She was tall and thin, with pale skin and dark hair. She was wearing a very stylish suede mini skirt and gorgeous chocolate brown leather boots. She march past several other people up to the receptionist’s desk and practically shouted,
“I have an appointment with Dr. Closefriend. He’s a friend and told me if I brought my scans in this morning he would see me.”
“Okay. Do you have an appointment?”
“No. I just told you. I’m a friend.”
“Alright. So, he’s expecting you?”
“Yes. He said he would squeeze me in.”
“I’ll call him right away.”
“I have another appointment I have to get to this afternoon.”
“Look. I don’t think you understand. This is very serious. I could have cancer! Don’t you understand? I could have CANCER.”
I wanted to punch this lady in the face and say,
“Look bitch. You’re standing in the middle of an oncologist’s office and you maybe MIGHT have cancer. I DO have cancer. Basically everyone in this waiting room has cancer, and we don’t have $300 boots to tromp around in while we complain about it.”
Needless to say, Boyfriend prevented me from executing this monologue.
Maybe that woman looks back on that day as the scariest day of her life, or the day her life changed forever, or the day she decided she needed new boots. I can’t say what that day was in her story. I can only tell my story.
That’s what I’m saying. The vlog is true from my perspective, where I sit now able to see the things I did right and wrong, able to see what was tragic and what (with time) would be funny. It's all truth. It's just my truth.