Good Thursday morning everyone. This morning we are going to talk about cancer. We dance around it a lot and today we are going to actually talk about cancer and what it does to those of us that it doesn’t actually fucking kill. And we shall all know how Coral walks in this world…it’s going to fucking hurt you to hear it and so I send you all of my love. You really ought to know though…you know…what my world is like. And so I offer you this morning’s blog.
For about twelve years and beginning with my dear friend Sylvia…I started shaving for people I love who need strength to fight the cancer they just got diagnosed with. Cancer threatened my friend Sylvia. Would you believe me if I told you that my friend was more worried about losing her hair than she was about the cancer…in that moment I spoke to her on the phone? Sylvia’s biggest fear was losing her hair. I was on lunch break an as soon as I got off of the phone with Sylvia, I went and bought some clippers. I told my friend that I would be by after work and we would lose our hair together, and we did. Every week, until her hair began to grow back, I shaved my head. I shaved my head like Sampson…to give the strength of those long and beautiful locks to my dear friend Sylvia. I had no idea what I was doing or even why. I had long and beautiful hair. Something told me I must and I did and now I do. I will always shave my head for those who need my strength. Truly…all you’ve got to do is ask me.
On Monday, December 3rd, as I struggled to breathe, missing my mom who died onDecember 3rd three years ago, I received a text from my best friend Sigrid . The text said this ” Silly eric and i just found out a good friend (young – in his early 20s) has stage 4 stomach cancer with metasticized to his liver. Hes in chemo. Will y@ou shave for him?.” Of course I will shave for him silly. I will shave as soon as I get home tonight and I will shave every week until Zach beats this. That is how we fucking do it. That is how we are always going to do it.
I lost my mom to cancer. Hearing the word cancer…and the God awful words that followed…the word terminal…palliative care…end of life…hospice…well I will just say that hearing these words in relationship to my mom has changed me forever.
We do run out of time . We do have only this moment. I don’t remember any other words…I don’t remember anything but hitting the fucking floor when I heard the word cancer bust in and wreck my fucking life and take my mom from me. And actually, if memory serves…the word was “lesions”…all over my moms brain and liver and lungs were lesions…cancer…Stage four breast cancer with metastasis to her liver, her lungs and her brain…and this girl, with no qualms what so ever, says FUCK CANCER…unapologetically…unabashedly and without a second thought…and that is how I do it. I get to choose how I do it…just like you do, don’t I? Yes…yes I do get to choose. I may not be for you and hey…believe me, I get it. You may not be for me either and I hope you get it. I don’t do loveless anything anymore. Period. Love me or leave me. Simple as fuck, right?
I could allow my sorrow to ground me. I could stop shaving because my Mom wasn’t spared. I could be full of doubt and resentment and I’m not. Full of a sadness that I cannot articulate…full and flowing over…my tears could drown a small village. And I will tell you this…even cancer cannot truly take us from one another. I shave to remind each of us of that.
When you find yourself getting a cancer diagnosis or hearing that diagnosis for the person you love the most in this world…don’t forget to remember that you can call me. I unfortunately do know how you might be feeling. I have been in your shoes and I will pick you up in my arms and I will carry you through. I will pick you up in my arms and carry you home, just as I did my mom, three years ago when cancer finally had its way with her. I will be here and I have got you and I fucking feel you and know you and I love you. You can count on this…I promise you that.
The other side of this for me is the prejudice and hate and ugly words launched at me…dyke…faggot…loser…poser…The other side of this for me is getting literally refused service, for how I look and for who people think I am. Our supplier for the feed for our animals…you know…”hay it forward”…hates me and his staff hates me. Literally…they hate me so much that they have refused to serve me. The owner/manager came to my fucking home and launched bails of alfalfa at me in hate and disgust as my baby goats watched me cower down the driveway, in a feeble attempt to escape the hate. I shave in love and doing so reigns down the mother fucking ignorance and hate on top of me like a mother fucking vice, squeezing me and crushing me under its pressure. I shave in love to be hated in ignorance and intolerance. I walk into stores and lines get shut down. Registers that were open for the person in front of me close for me. I see more contempt and disgust on the faces of people when I cross their threshold than I see love. And you want to know something? I learned how to handle this. As I drove to every fucking feed store in the east mountains and introduced my gay self in person…I interviewed them to see if they were a good fit for us. I went in and I decided who gets to fucking serve Coral and her Sanctuary. Yesterday, needing straw to cozy our babies, with money in hand, my search took me all the way to fourth street and upon walking through the door, even though I had already made the call for tax exempt paperwork…even though I tried to do my due diligence, as I approached the register, I was greeted with intolerance. And I decided I would not stand for it. I asked him straight out if serving me was going to be a problem for him. He almost shit himself and then we turned it around. He wanted to say it was a problem and I wouldn’t have it. My money…me…I…am fucking good enough and I will damn well get the same service as the cowboy in line behind me or the pretty little gal who you’re carrying her two pound water bowl out to her car while I’m throwing 50-100 pound bales in my truck. I could give up. I could give in. I could be and have been silent. Not anymore. If I make you uncomfortable, and I do, maybe you want to look at you? My sexuality…which people assume, by the way, is none of your fucking business. Who and how I fuck…again…none of your fucking business. Why I’m bald? Maybe you ought to fucking ask me…you know, instead of assuming whatever you’re assuming about me. You don’t fucking know me.
My name is Coral. I am an incest survivor. I am a daughter whose mom died of cancer three years ago. I am the co-founder of the most amazing animal sanctuary you will ever visit. I am in love with and in committed relationship with the most amazing woman in the world. My family left me when my mom died, with very few exceptions. My Dad left too…in his own way…he left me too. I fucking hurt, a lot, right now. Do me a favor would you? Love me through this, like a verb, or leave me the fuck alone. I’ve not time to be tolerated. I deserve to be loved and treated with respect. If you can’t do that…please find the door that I’ve left propped open for you.
This girl had no ties or obligations…no rules or expectations…no limits and no barriers…Love me like you mean it or leave me the fuck alone. Thank you. Have a beautiful day. I love you. I really do love you. I want to be loved too…you know? Like I love you…I want to be loved like that and treated like that. I want to and I will because I will not allow it any other way anymore. For all that I am not, there is much that I am. For all that you are not, there is much that you are. And so it is.