Recently a new friend of mine introduced me to someone and said, “Basically, anything that can happen to someone has happened to Nikol.” At the time, I took it harshly, because I am aware that I talk too much about my life experiences. I felt like he was pointing out some flaw about me.
But the reality of it is that, yes, the amount of things I have been through and done is remarkable to the point that it’s unbelievable. If I were a character in a movie pitch, the execs would reject the film on the basis that it’s too much.
At a New Year’s Eve party, when discussing where I grew up, the person who’d asked said, “Military brat?” and I said, “No, foster care.” Later in the evening the same person was talking about their mom’s chemotherapy and I started to give them advice about things that helped me during chemo. “So, foster care and cancer? Are you trying to win an award for going through things?”
It’s an odd thing for me to be sensitive over, but I am. Sometimes I have massive panic attacks thinking that there’s no way anyone could possibly love me with so many broken things that I can’t change and so many ongoing things that I have to work on about myself. I’m an exhausting person.
As I think over the past two years of my life I realize that I continue to be a complicated person, and it makes me wonder when that’s going to calm down, if ever. Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day, I was able to get out of bed long enough to make chocolate mousse tartlets with my son. Exhausted from the chemo, hairless, and coming out of a really ugly MRSA infection, those days were blurry and painful.
The next Valentine’s, after pulling through radiation, chemo, surgery, and more radiation, I spent with my best friend, partying our faces off. I can’t be too candid about the night, but I can promise you that I had a full on record book good time.
This year, for Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend is hosting one of my favorite comedy shows, Set List. I love watching him on stage, and I think I get as much out of watching an audience react to him as he does. He’s mind-blowingly brilliant, patient, kind, and I can’t get enough of him. And when I am next to him, I feel like we make absolute sense. Our lives have been polar opposites, our temperaments are polar opposites, but we make each other laugh, and even when things are a mess, we understand each other. I don’t know how he’s able to patiently deal with the levels of complication in my life, but he claims that he sticks around because I make a decent cup of tea.
And while I know how much can change and how much tends to happen, I’m at a point where, when people ask me what’s going on, I say “Not too much, really. Things are just stable.” And I hope I get to say that for a long time.