I think I have sugrophobia.
Yup, pretty sure. It’s paralyzing. It makes me anxious, distrustful, suspicious, reclusive and wary of people. It makes me not want to make new friends. It makes me keep to myself, even in the workplace. It’s like viewing my life via slotted side-eyes.
What do you realllly want?
What are you realllly about?
Is the character you’re projecting realllly you?
It is Thanksgiving Eve as I type this, sitting at one of the three Buford Starbucks Jenni and I frequented (Don’t hate. Buford doesn’t have any indie coffee shops except the one Jenni once owned). At this time last year, we were on a Caribbean “cruise to nowhere.” The trip got its nickname because, in true “only in Jenni’s life” fashion, the fog was too thick for the ship to depart Port Tampa Bay on time. Apparently, the only time in history this had ever occurred. Consequently, the captain was forced to skip Grand Cayman and instead dock an extra day in Cozumel. It didn’t matter to Jenni and me where the vessel went — as long as we were away and not in Georgia. As usual, we experienced hilarious, unique adventures, because, Jenni’s life.
Tomorrow will mark one year ago when Jenni and I dined on a comically inedible Thanksgiving dinner on the cruise ship. Needless to say, this holiday time will be hard.
This final installment about Jenni includes all media that surrounded her, from podcasts to videos to fundraisers, to demonstrate the outpouring of goodwill that came her way the last year-and-a-half of her life. It was jaw-dropping to see people from around the world (no exaggeration) — literal strangers — take a genuine interest and care about Jenni’s well-being.
It all started when Jenni contacted Lea Thau, producer of the Strangers podcast. Jenni’s pitch: she stared a stranger in the face every day — herself.
Jenni did not give up on herself. I want to make that clear.
Her choice not to revisit cancer treatments (chemo, radiation, surgery) had to do with a diminishing quality of life, and pain management. It was the stuff below the surface of cancer: breathing issues, dysphagia, trigeminal neuralgia, trismus, hoarseness, sleep problems, altered sense of taste, and lack of appetite just to name a few. Not to mention the mental and emotional baggage along for the ride. Eventually, Jenni would have required breathing and feeding tubes — procedures which were impossible to carry out because of the multitudinous tumor activity in her neck. On that note, add to the list liver pain, where metastasis occurred.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Me: By the way, I’m sorry, this lady is batshit and is stressful. I’m just going to be polite.
This text exchange demonstrates Jenni’s and my friendship perfectly.
Jenni had a knack for attracting all kinds of characters spanning the Crazy spectrum. It didn’t matter if it was family, acquaintance, or a stranger on the sidewalk — the universe was sure to launch a lunatic into Jenni Rowell’s world. The situations in her life were like Curb Your Enthusiasm… only less funny. Or, perhaps, more funny. I’m not sure which.