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Posts Tagged ‘walter white’

Something a little silly and fun for today….

One of the very cool things that Geoff and I got to do over our Christmas road trip was drive by the house used as the exterior shots of Walter White’s house in Breaking Bad.  To both of us, it was a mini pilgrimage, a holy shrine dedicated to one of the best shows television has ever produced.  (Seriously; we were talking about it the other night and couldn’t think of ONE single time the show had miss-stepped even slightly in its entire run.  What other show can you say that of?)  I brought my Heisenberg hat along the entire trip just for this one moment, and it was completely worth it.

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I tried to be cool, but inside I was fangirling and squealing over the fact that I WAS STANDING IN FRONT OF WALTER WHITE’S HOUSE OMG.  It ended up being a very Breaking Bad Christmas all around; AMC ran a series marathon right around Christmas, and Geoff and I both gave each other some very fun Breaking Bad gifts.  His stocking contained some “blue meth” sugar candy from a great shop on Etsy 🙂

While running the marathon, AMC’s website had some really fun Breaking Bad extras for fans to enjoy, such as a quiz which would tell you which villain you were most like.  I was perversely proud and pleased when the quiz told me I was most like Gus Fring.

Copyrights belong to AMC.

Copyrights belong to AMC.

I even saved my results because they were so fun.  And you know?  I can kind of see it.  Were I to take the path of the bad guy, I probably would be that scariest kind of quiet, seemingly peaceful villain who, when the mask is dropped, threatens to kill you, your wife, your son and infant daughter, then slits a man’s throat with a box cutter in front of you just to prove his point.

So who am I?  Gus Fring?  You’re goddamn right 🙂

All Hail The Queen, my Breaking Bad homage.

All Hail The Queen, my Breaking Bad homage.

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During the five years of being chronically ill to the point of having to change my life to revolve around my illness, I have tried to keep my spirits up.  I’ll readily admit I’m naturally more of an Eeyore, but I also know that having a positive outlook can have a huge impact on one’s quality of life.  So I try to train my brain to be on the lookout for silver linings; for the beautiful amidst the ugly.

Of course, I can’t speak for everyone with ME, everyone with fibro, or everyone with other chronic illnesses.  These are just the shiniest of the silver linings that I have discovered personally.  Yes, there is a lot of bad along with this good, but that’s a subject for another time.  For now, I want to highlight the positives.

 

1. You Become More In Tune With Your Body

I, for example, have learned that I am quite sensitive to nearly all medications, even more than my small frame would account for.  There is a certain cold feeling I get in my stomach which is the warning for a bout of coldsweats and vomiting coming.  While I used to drink lots of caffeine and couldn’t get through an afternoon without some kind of energy dose, I now drink black tea in the morning, and rarely anything beyond that.  My body felt noticeably cleaner and fresher after I made the switch, and again when I became vegetarian.  You learn to listen harder to the signals your body gives you and take them more seriously.

Vanity's Murder

Vanity’s Murder

 

2. You Learn Who The True Friends In Your Life Are

After the fifth time in a row of my having to reschedule an outing due to the unpredictable whims of my body, most people would stop trying to make the outing happen.  I have been extremely fortunate to have wonderful people in my life who are as understanding about my forced flakiness as anyone who doesn’t have a chronic illness could be.   They know by now that evening events, large crowds and physical exertion are especially hard for me, but they continue to invite me to dinners and parties, always letting me know that it’s ok if I’m not up to it.  I love them for continuing to invite me, even when I have to say no 90% of the time, but even more for not holding it against me.

To The Lost

To The Lost

 

3. You Come To Terms With Your Mortality

Everybody dies.  That is an unavoidable fact.  I’ve found that I, along with many of my chronically ill peers, have given our lifespans much greater thought than our healthy counterparts.  Whether our disease is something known to shorten your lifespan or whether it’s a roll of the dice, we are generally able to come to peace with the knowledge we won’t be around forever much earlier in our lives than is typical.  This can even lead to what I call The Walter White Effect, which essentially says that when you have faced the fact that your life may not be as long as you had once believed, you are motivated into working much harder in the present.  It’s true, any of us could go at any time in an untold number of ways.  But there seems to be a quieter acceptance of this inevitable fate when you’ve had your body occupied with chronic illness for a long time.

All Hail The Queen

All Hail The Queen

 

4. You Life Distills Into The Most Important Components

I have days when there are only a couple hours (often scattered through the whole day) when I can actually get anything done.  Usually I’m able to get a little bit more done than that, and it helps that much of what I do can be done laying in bed with my laptop, but if you only had three or four hours to accomplish anything, what would you use that time for?  Lunch with friends?  Taking care of your pets?  Showering?  Taking photos?  Making love?  While chronic illness robs you of so much time, it also forces you to look long and hard at each of the things you do choose to engage in.  I won’t, for example, spend time editing photos which I’m less than satisfied with.  Which activities you choose to keep can say a lot about what’s truly important to you.

Beloved Of The Crown

Beloved Of The Crown

 

5. You Look At The Big Questions

Can you believe in a god who would allow you to live your life so sick with no cure?  Would that strengthen your faith or wipe any trace of it from your life?  What kind of legacy will you leave behind?  If you’re too sick to work and thus always short on cash, how do you define success in your life when society places so much emphasis on status, power and wealth?  If you, like most of the chronically ill, had to scrap your original plans for what you wanted to be when you grew up, how will you find meaning in the life you’re given?  What is the meaning of life when that life is often confined to a single room?

In Between Awake And Asleep

In Between Awake And Asleep

 

This is, of course, an extremely subjective round-up, based mainly on my own experiences.  What will my distilled, concentrated life look like?  What causes will I champion and where will my energy reserves go?  Where will yours?  Chronic illness tends to create mini philosophers, whether we will have it or not.  And while I will never have all the answers, the questions are still worth pondering.

 

Fae Light - Dedeker looks like she's pondering Big Questions.

Fae Light – Dedeker looks like she’s pondering Big Questions.

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It was brought up in a recent interview I did that I am pursuing my art career somewhat “aggressively,” as the interviewer said.  Which is not a negative thing, he was just surprised by the intensity with which I am trying to bring my visions to life, and also make art my full-time career.  And while I hadn’t thought too much consciously before he asked me about it, I know why I’m like that.  For one thing, I rarely pursue anything halfheartedly; I’m either all in and completely obsessed or not in at all.  That’s just part of me being me.

But there is another cause, which I’m calling the Walter White Effect.

Someone put these two screen captures together which is so handy for this post!

Walter White, from the AMC show Breaking Bad… he begins the pilot episode as a repressed, quiet, brilliant but afraid, somewhat henpecked, overqualified high school chemistry teacher.  He and his wife have a surprise baby on the way and a teenage son with cerebral palsy.  To supplement his family’s meager income, he has a second job a a car wash, which he truly hates.  Then he’s told he has cancer and his prognosis is not good.  His internal clock immediately starts ticking.  He looks around at his life, his family and realizes he will have almost nothing to leave them with if he dies.  So he jumps into action.  He begins making meth as a way to quickly make a lot of money to secure his family’s future.  I’m not spoiling anything here, this is all set up in the first episode.  Where his journey takes him is another matter, and is very, very worth watching for yourself.  I, for one,  am counting he days until we get to see the final episodes of the show.

Now, my plight is nowhere near as desperate as Walter’s is, and a show about my life would be incredibly boring to watch.  It would be mostly watching me spend hours and hours and hours editing photos in my pajamas, sprinkled with taking pills, doctor’s appointments, letting Calantha in and out and watering the flowers.  No one wants to see that.  My internal clock is not as loud or desperate as his, but I do hear it ticking away.  There’s no reason to expect that I will get sicker from the ME… but there’s no evidence that I won’t, either.  There is just so little really known about it.  So I do feel a self-imposed pressure to make as much art as I can while I have the ability to, to further my career as much as I can now so that it might support me when other means of work are no longer options.

We finally have our first official death listed as ME on record.  Poor Sophie; I’m sorry that she had to be the one to break this ground.  No one really knows how many of us die from ME, since we’ve had such a hard time just getting validation  about our illness being real.  From speaking with doctors, and what I’ve found out from my own research, we rarely die directly from ME, but it plays a heavy hand in things… organ failure as a result of taking pain meds for decades to combat the ME-caused pain, as an example.

Let me be clear, I do not expect to die soon, and I also don’t expect to get suddenly much sicker and be unable to create.  The future is wide open, and I need to embrace it.  But I also have to keep in mind possible changes and try to be prepared for them without giving in to them.  That’s another thing I can learn from Walter White.  He never threw his hands up and decided he was just going to wait for the cancer to consume him.  He fought it with every part of his being.

This photo made me laugh, but it does illustrate what I’m trying to say.  The future is cloudy.  No one knows what will happen.  But it’s wise to try and fight against, and prepare for, possible negative outcomes.

So fuck it, I’m making art.

I would deeply appreciate any of you taking a moment to sign this petition to change the name CFS to ME.  It’s greatly needed, so a huge thank you to anyone who signs it!

All Hail The Queen - my Breaking Bad-inspired self portrait

All Hail The Queen – my Breaking Bad-inspired self portrait

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