• Cosette Grider

If I Only Had Two Years

Preface: I'm about to get morbid with a dark fantasy of mine. Let me be clear first that I do NOT want to die any time soon, I do NOT look forward to my demise and I hope to exist on this planet with my loved ones for as long as I'm allowed.

While luffa'ing myself in the shower a few moments ago, I thought I felt a lump in my arm pit. (Don't worry, Mom. It was nothing.) Immediately, my mind wandered into the cancer zone. In 2011, my mother survived breast cancer at the age of 67, however, a couple of years earlier, her older sister wasn't so lucky. I have no idea if I'm genetically predisposed, but assuming that I might be for the sake of this fantasy, I thought....."ok, what would happen if I found out I had breast cancer at the age of 37?"

Then, and because I so desperately want to quit my job and be a full time artist for the masses, I darkly fantasized (not all fantasies need to be pleasant, by the way) that I find out I only have 2 years to live and it would then be extremely obvious that I would HAVE TO quit my job. I imagined the magic number of "2" because it would be enough time for some desired traveling (South Africa, Spain, Iceland, Mexico, Peru) and art making, without the guilt of having to provide for my family. Upon finding out my fate, I would have a private sit down with my team at work behind closed doors and through choked back tears, and lay it all out: "I am dying of breast cancer and I only have two years without the ill advised chemo and radiation. No disrespect to any of you, but I'm obviously leaving this place and going to live my best life before I depart." They'd understand, of course. They'd cry. They'd be in shock. They'd give me words of support and encouragement. I really do work with some amazing people!

You guys obviously know that I don't REALLY want a death sentence to allow myself to live this "best life" of guilt free travel and creating art. Antoinette had plans! I put myself in her shoes every single day since October 21! She had the surgeries she had to finally start living HER best life! She got rid of those nasty breast implants after 12 years of those foreign objects making her feel sick all the time so she can live a healthier and happier life! She opted for a tummy tuck while at it because it was obviously something she had been wanting to do for herself....a "mommy makeover" if you will. She was ready to gain that confidence and energy that she had lacked to live that best life for herself and her family. But it didn't work out that way, unfortunately. She would never get to know what that life could have been like after the age of 36. It fucks me up every time I think about it.

Last Saturday, a beautiful Laguna Beach memorial for Antoinette with some of her closest friends.

Sketched on paper, cleaned up on Photoshop, I designed the tattoo Tamar and I would be getting.

Redge Pineda from Inkcrafta Tattoo in Canoga Park permanently inks my sketch onto my inner right forearm.

Despite the daily grieving, I'm happy. Happy-ish. I am almost fulfilled. Time is running out and I can never know how much time I actually have here and that's a terrifying realization. I want to have 8-12 pieces of original artwork shown at a gallery with the hopes of one or two high ticketed sales. I'm lucky I have travelled as much as I have, but there are many more countries I want to visit and cultures I'd love to experience. I feel like I can't quit my hamster-wheel of a job, as nice, cushy and secure as it is because I am 50% responsible in providing for the household and family. I did the math and if I reduced my full time job to 4 days a week, I would lose about 1K a month. Right now, the way things are, we would benefit from an EXTRA 1K a month. How can I so willingly toss that away just to pursue my dreams? Can I pursue my dreams in the minimal free time I have on my weekends? Paul says I would need to give up a lot of social engagements in order to achieve this, without dropping 5 days of work to 4 days. I hate to admit it, but he's not wrong. Family and friends are extremely important to me but so are my goals! I am constantly seeing people achieving their goals in the most fulfilling way. Also, I'm tired of feeling guilty for having these very valid feelings. I'm tired of judging myself before anyone else gets the chance to judge me. I'm learning to cut that shit out in my therapy sessions. I'm learning to be kinder to myself.

Matching cousin trio/angel tattoo with my black haired beauty, Tamar. Antoinette will live on with us forever.

Absolutely LOVE the white highlights in the angel wings and the different colored hair that has made our photos together so iconic.

Anyway, it's a lot to figure out and it does give me anxiety. I guess it doesn't matter if I don't accomplish all that I want to accomplish once I'm dead. You don't exist in the capacity to regret anything, anyway....so what's the point of this anxiety? Still. I refuse to give in to that notion and give up my dreams.

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