To be honest, if I didn’t get cancer so many times and been told things looked grim at least four times in my life, I wouldn’t go to my high school reunion. I really don’t know where I’m at now with my health. No point thinking about it until I get my next set of blood and scans. I had a mini vacation from tests and hospitals and am grateful for that. Although in lieu of that, I attended a funeral and learnt of a good friend’s spouse death. I know that I am at that age where I know more people, have had cancer, so it’s natural that people tell me about death and cancer deaths. Please don’t. Today, I’m okay. I’ve been concerned about some symptoms that could be muscle pain, injury, arthritis – freaks me out because RA is linked to funny B cell activity and in its severe form is treated by a chemo drug, peripheral neuropathy…or the elephant in the room. No. I will not think about it.
I’ve watched too many episodes of Downton Abbey and have the theme song running through my head as I type this.
So I think I’ll drop by the high school reunion. I went to two different high schools and because staff and students did transfer over, I get a bit confused where I know people from. I looked at the reunion pics of my second high school and I didn’t know 99% of the people there. A younger friend of mine says that she didn’t go to her reunion because everyone she wants to be in contact with is on Facebook. Another doesn’t want to go to hers because it’s the popular kids who are organizing it and she wants to forget about high school.
20 years is a long time. I think if I hadn’t gotten cancer, I wouldn’t have bothered going. The reason I am going is because I promised a high school friend who found me through all this publicity that I would go if I was still okay on the day of the reunion. I also feel like I have to go because there is at least one person who was looking forward to it, and she’s dead.
I joke about returning to my reunion with Keanu (no word from him. Maybe he thinks I mock his acting skills ), but when I really think about it I don’t think I had any vision of my future. I didn’t really have goals. I had a path that was set for me and when I decided to veer of that path, I had no idea what I was doing with my life. I kind of just wandered around and then became a teacher because it’s what a lot of people who didn’t know what to do did. I had many opportunities to do almost anything, yet I was really unmotivated. I kind of crash and burnt out. In fact, until I got cancer, I didn’t really put too much effort into most things. The only thing I have ever really wanted in life really badly is to not die.
I think my advice to people who don’t know what they want to do when they are younger, is to do whatever something you don’t hate and that seems difficult to older people. Everything seems so easy when you are young and you are in the routine of doing things you don’t love. And don’t feel bad about not knowing what you want to do. There is so much pressure, especially if you are from an immigrant Asian family, to be successful. I felt like a loser for many years because I never took my interest in arts to post grad level, the closest I came to completing a law, accounting, engineering, medicine, degree was enrolling for a week in law. I felt like more of a loser when I ended up teaching in some really bad schools. I was pretty hard on myself.
Then I got cancer and was glad I had lived my life. Then I survived cancer and thought, oh maybe I do have regrets. Then I got cancer again and got some perspective again, then I survived again but not long enough to worry about “normal” life stuff. I guess I am not far out enough from treatment to care about the stuff normal people my age care about.
A friend told me some teacher from school said our year was not a successful year. I don’t know what he is talking about. He must grade success in different terms. A lot of us had a lot of potential, but so what if most of us are happy just to be alive.
Other than the elephant dangling over my head, I’m pretty content with my life. Sometimes I feel kind of frustrated that I can’t sweat the small stuff and that cancer completely decimated my ego. I want to be able to join in conversations where people bitch about the inane or politics. I know people who are so grateful that cancer taught them lessons about life, but it’s just making the best of a shit situation really. We are all just grateful to still be here.
I think I’m going through the anger stage of post cancer survival, but I still don’t feel I can let it rip yet because I’m in that critical waiting stage. I’m still holding myself together. Or maybe that’s just who I have become now. Who knows.
I hope someone completely random whose existence I have completely forgotten turns up at the reunion.
I know that my memories of high school should be dominated by classrooms, orchestral halls, lessons, teachers and fellow students. But I keep thinking Hoyt’s, movies, buses and state library.
I am not going to use my cancer card and I think I am too old to contact the make a wish foundation. Although I might try to contact my local branch if I pass their offices… Hmmmmm
But I am jumping ahead here so…
Dear Keanu, or Canoe as we used to call you down here (Helen razor from jjj started that one)
I have my 20th high school reunion coming up and when I was a kid, I thought I’d be bringing you to it as my partner.
Do you want to come with me?
Don’t worry I am not a psychotic stalker fan. I’m a happily married woman with one child, and my husband is quite a spunk, but the problem is that he doesn’t want to pretend to be you at the reunion. He is really bad at accents and acting in general. He attempted modeling once but couldn’t get any jobs because people said his acting was like “pushing poo up hill”. I’m sure you can’t relate. The highlight of his career is a close up shot of his right shoulder in an LG mobile phone ad that was only screened in Korea. He can only act when he is dressed up in a Harry Potter costume or modeling hearing aids.
I come from Perth, Western Australia. It’s the most isolated city in the world. I think you came here with your band in the 90s. I didn’t see you play because I had to work. If you went to the best dim sum place in the city back then, you may have seen me working there. I hope you didn’t eat there because I think there was a cockroach infestation around that time. Perth has changed a lot since then. We still have cockroaches but that didn’t stop Jamie Oliver from opening up a restaurant here. de Niro came and opened up a Nobu. The big casino bosses came and expanded our one casino that used to be by a swamp. I know you are older now and probably need your creature comforts. The dingy bar where you played no longer exists. I can’t remember what that place was called but it was somewhere along Wellington street opposite the entertainment centre. That was knocked down some years back. There is a large arena there now where 80s rock stars perform because our economy did well when the rest of the world was in recession. Thing is you can’t get $2.50 soup and rolls from Fast Edddies anymore.
My friends tell me to take my hubby because he is better looking than you and you are past it.
They don’t know about the man of tai chi and that you are directing your first film. It’s okay I have defended your honor. We don’t have to just talk about you if you tag along with me. I’ve read a lot of books and travelled a bit, so I think we would have a lot to talk about. We could talk Shakespeare.
I am not a stalker even though I’m starting to sound like that guy Stan from Eminem’s song. If I stalked I would stalk Emilio Estevez because I can quote lines from his early films. In fact I know the entire script to Young Guns 1&2. I remember that Emilio bagged you saying that you couldn’t act and what the hell were you doing in Bertolucci films. It was a difficult time for my teenage self. I didn’t know what side to take. In the end I took yours because Emilio is a lot older, we are closer in age, and you are part Asian.
Remember, I only stalk people if i want their stem cells. I used to be a teacher so I have federal and state police clearances.
Have a think about it. I will leave the ball in your court.
P.s. I can also offer you some work on my Emily needs stem cells youtube channel. I got future superstars doing ads for me, but you could really get hapa and Asian Australians talking about donations. I am assuming you are not a Jehovah Witness or have any thing against donations of blood or stem cells.