This is me

Who are you?

That's always been the thing for me. Who am I? Who the world sees and who I am are two different people. They see this married beautiful woman with a great husband and family. That is what they see today. (I will confirm I do have a great husband and amazing family, that part is correct.) They assume they know me. They assume I must be part of that typical lifestyle that he provides. I must be light minded. I must be free with my thoughts and my cares. I must lunch with ladies. I must shop to stay up with the fashions. I must exercise to look good in my clothing. I must shop at the fanciest of stores. Some days I feel like that but the other 96% of my life I don't. I would call those days the days I am free from my mind.

If I were those things majority of the time I think I would fit in better. If I was I think I would have grown up feeling more part of the crowd. I certainly looked like one of the "cool kids" but was I. Inside I certainly didn't feel that way. I don't feel that way today either.... I feel deep down I'm an introvert. A loner at times and perfectly happy with it today. I like to think, create ideas, and thoughts of possibilities in my mind. Other people aren't happy with it because it isn't normal or cool. I can sit and think for hours. I find it hard to relate at times to so many others. There are so few people in my age group that have seen what I have seen and lived what I have lived through. Its hard to explain where these experiences have left me. Maybe numb in some areas. Way happier than what is typical in others. I feel more. I sense more. My spectrum of happy and sad is wider than it would otherwise be. I know a deeper sadness and with that I know a greater joy. Until someone has lived that its hard to feel and emphasize. I guess I dissect it a lot too. I dissect all my life experiences. As I mentioned before I spent 10 years of my life in therapy anywhere from 1-3 days a week. Talking, talking, talking......trying to talk the pain out, trying to talk the fear out, trying to talk the anger out.

Here's a little flashback....

I think I was 15 and my sophomore year. I was at basketball game. The crowds arms went up in cheers and my mind lit up in fears. Surrounding me were happy smiling faces of teens having a fun Friday night out at the High school varsity basketball game. My friends (I had tons back then) were gathered around. Yet when they stood up to cheer my brain darted to my mom's image on the chair in the corner of my family room right before I left the house that night. Her face no longer her own. Sunken eyes and flat mouth I had never seen. I assume lost in thought of the cancer returning while the chemotherapy from the week pulsed through her veins.

As I stood in the stands I could feel the heat inside me rising. The tears swelling up. I dashed out of the stands abruptly wanting to hide my face. These girls, my friends at the time, ran after me. I ran into the bathroom, to the floor. I didn't want them behind me but at the same time I didn't want to be alone. I didn't talk. There was nothing they could do. There was nothing I could say. I just sat there thinking I don't want people to see me here like this again.. That was it. I didn't venture out much after that.

Fast forward to my senior year. I was walking down the hall to my class. I had managed at this point to never be seen crying in public again. I never really went out much anymore after that basketball game. I didn't hang out with those girls much either. I just couldn't. I had maybe 5 people I talked to regulary at school. My mom was having her stem cell transplant at a hospital maybe 35 minutes from the house. She was living there at the hospital during this procedure where they basically bring the patient as close to death as they can inorder to kill all the cancerous cells but of course while doing so kill nearly all the healthy cells too.

I want to go on to remind you. I had a good grades, I was a star athlete breaking school records, receiving a full athletic scholarship. From the outside world I had a great life. I was perceived as a happy carefree student....

So I was on my way to class. And then it happened. A teacher walked by me. They kindly said, "Hey Emily how are you?" and not waiting for a a reaction because it really was more of a friendly statement they kept on their way.

Point blank...."How are YOU?" Well it hit the center of my heart that question. How am I? Well I responded Fine but do you really want to know. How am I? I powered walked into he bathroom and sat in the stall as the final bell rang. Then I answered that question. I dropped to the floor and cried until my body ached. I cried until no more tears could be produced. I cried alone in that bathroom. I cried alone. I guess it always seemed like I was alone and I cried about that too. I cried about the cancer, I cried about not having people that could relate to my life, I cried about not having a mom at home, I cried about the drugs that weren't working, I cried about the drugs that did and were killing every good cell in her body, I cried about the immune system she was getting robbed of, I cried about putting on a front, and then I cried about that teacher asking me how I was and lying.

You know what I did next. I did what I always do. I washed my face off, pulled my sh*t together and walked out of that bathroom like I owned that fucking school. Walked late into my class, sat down and acted like not a thing happened.

You know what else I did within those next few months. I broke the all time scoring record at my high school, I graduated, I had a long term boyfriend, I practiced soccer all hours of the day. Do you know why because that is what I had always done. I kept on marching. I kept being strong. I kept it that way so my parents didn't have to think or worry one god damn thing about me. So you tell me. If you didn't know me what would think from the outside. You would look at me and say "yeah, Emily's totally fine...." Something to think about......

There is a song called "Angels on the moon". The lyrics go

"Do you dream that the world will know your name. So tell me your name. And do you care about all the little things or anything at all. I want to feel all the chemicals inside. I want to feel. I want a sunburn just to know that I'm alive. To know I'm alive.

Don't tell me if I'm dying 'cause I don't want to know. If I can't see the sun maybe I should go. Don't wake me 'cause I'm dreaming of angels on the moon. Where everyone you know never leaves too soon.

And do you believe in the day that you were born. Tell me do you believe and do you know that every days's the first of the rest of your life."

After my mom died when I was 22 there are a handful of songs over the next years I would play. This one came out maybe 5 years later but it hit my body like a ton of brick. I would play it alone in my room. I would play it alone on long walks. Just absorb the words over and over again on repeat.

The last year of my mom's life just haunted me at the time. The suffering as the cancer spread. Tie that with this song and I would just walk for miles and cry. I would think about my life. I would think about some of the more crazy things I had done to know that I'm alive. I was terrified of the cancer that killed her would find me and do the same. I just didn't want to know. I fought every minute of everyday fighting that fear from living in my brain. If I can find a happy place in my day where my brain didn't wander to the sadness that surrounded my mother than as the song goes don't interrupt me because only god knows that it didn't come often. Finally I believe every single day is an opportunity to make it whatever you want. Back then I didn't have ability to see things the way I do now. The song just connected with me. I played it for years. It haunted my soul and connected me to the pain I felt.

So that was around the time I was 28. You tell me. How well do you think I connected with those around me when this was the audio of my soul? Do you think I could small talk well about all the little things or anything at all? Do you think girls hanging out together and being unkind to another girl that isn't there and bashing a "friend" to her other friends was something I could join in on. To be part of that group. If you can't answer this then you didn't read this blog very well. I would rather walk alone. I would rather sit alone. I would rather hang out alone.

This is me. Sometimes I like to dress up and wear make up and look pretty. Other times I don't and wear what I call my mom uniform. Black leggings, black tank, button down shirt, black vest. I can be seen in this specific outfit probably 60% of the week. I actually have it on right now. Sometimes I just think life can be too short so I'm going do whatever I feel like doing and wear what I feel like wearing even if it doesn't go and doesn't fit. I also like to go out to lunch alone. When I used to go to the movies I would go alone all the time. I traveled and vacationed alone. I didn't want to miss out on something incase that cancer ever came for me because I needed someone else with me to feel ok. So I would just would go and do what I wanted. I became great at following my heart. I became better at not caring what others thought. I became ok with me. Being me just the way I am even if it meant at times alone.

Today here I am chasing a wild dream. Doing it because tomorrow is not a guarantee. Because I don't want to lay on my death bed knowing I didn't give my time here on this earth my all. I don't want regrets. I don't want to leave any stone unturned. So my eyes on the prize of being a nationally known model. Gracing the covers of magazine and sharing my story. Will it happen? Only time will tell but in the mean time I am going to enjoy the journey. The song I listen to on repeat now is "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons.

This is me.


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© 2017 by  Emily Ishbia

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