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Dude! Let’s talk about boundaries: The “High Times” Semi Streaming Consciousness Edition

I have been a proponent of calling or texting ahead of time to seek permission to visit and appreciate this being reciprocated.


I have an issue regarding house shame, it’s a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my house but I feel bad that I can never maintain perfection regarding organization and tidiness. I had this before my cancer diagnosis, I always felt like there was never enough time to get everything done or right, it was just too overwhelming. I just read an article about “house shame,” of course the woman writing and suffering from the condition had kids, apparently the only acceptable reason to be a mess 😜 I know that’s not really true (that last insecurity brought to you by the failure of my uterus to bring forth the miracle of life 🙄).

Before cancer I would binge clean, often tying this into a planned visit and the countdown until visitors landed on my porch. Cancer has messed with my life in many fun ways not the least of which has been my energy and I need a LOT more time to achieve the least embarrassing outcome for my messy abode. Since the goal has dropped from “passable” to “Oh gawd, when did I get spaghetti sauce on the ceiling? Maybe nobody will notice if we turn out all of the electric lights and visit by candlelight.”


Now let’s add an incredibly high feeling from dosing with RSO to this recipe, not that altering your mind sometimes can’t be fun, though I am not a fan of continuously floating my brain out of my body but this is a means to an end, so when my childhood friends showed up on my front porch yesterday out of the blue, I was extra annoyed but slightly too mush brained to explain why.

Let me paint you a picture:

As I came in from cleaning Airbnb apartment I heard our doorbell. I looked through the peep hole and spied 2 put together women whom I have known since the late 1970’s…

Me: My hair was messy, the color grow out about an inch and a half, a rubber band slightly slipped as hair stuck in weird ways on lips and glasses. I was bra less and wearing an air guitar t-shirt with the characters name emblazoned in pink glitter across the chest. My colostomy bag visibly bulged off kilter through the shirt, I willed it to be invisible knowing what I was about to do. My head felt like it was encased in marshmallow and my unbrushed teeth felt gross, there was no hiding in the dark nor pleasing lighting to soften this horror...Not sure why I decided to open the door.

Though I ended up not letting my grade school friends into my house and asked them to come by later for an outdoor visit thus maintaining some kind of boundary, I still felt shame for what I was hiding in my house and knowing that they knew that I knew that they knew what I was hiding. This made me think that the “house shame” really is a reflection of self shame, of never feeling good enough…All this thinking with a marshmallow head, it’s exhausting.

Is cancer just a fucked up way of making us participate in these soul searching conversations with ourselves? Is cancer a sort of “Scared Straight” program for those of us that don’t figure things out the easy way?

(Insert Jerry Seinfeld voice here.) “AND what’s the deal about this cancer?!”


Something I have noticed about having this kind of diagnosis, my boundaries have been pushed and tested at full volume, often by really well meaning people. I don’t enjoy these perpetual dances but I appreciate the experience. It has made me realize what I put up with and deemed acceptable in the “before times” doesn’t work now. When you have a serious disease, in my experience, the ability to put up with bullshit disappears.

There is no way for me to get out of this situation unscathed and unchanged. I feel as if I have been pupating for an eternity.

Until next time ❤️

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Jessica Dover
Jessica Dover
Aug 10, 2021

Feeling the childless-and-SIGH-yes-my-house-is-still-messy shame thing 100%!

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