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3 A.M. Soap: ApparentDepth Journal

Hi. I'm Natalie. I'm 35 and living in Los Angeles, California, USA. Some of you may have read this column as "The Daily Depth" on my now-defunct webzine, ApparentDepth. I've been asked by 3AM Magazine to continue relaying the little soap opera that is my life. How very cool.

by Natalie Du Pont


October 2, 2000

Today was my follow-up appointment from the preventative cancer surgery that I had two weeks ago. Don't freak out; I don't have cancer and they didn't cut me open. They just lasered me through available openings, as it were.

All things considered, it's been a pretty mild recovery even though I was quite stressed for the four months prior, what with all the tests and biopsies. As is true with almost anything my anxiety was way out of proportion to the actual event. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a walk in the park. For one thing, they had to put me under anesthesia twice in the same day because the laser broke and they had to order a new one. Still, it certainly wasn't as bad as the alternative: 6-10 weeks of chemotherapy.

My oncologist says everything is healing wonderfully and I'm all clear of those bad little cells. (Yay! I can dance & have sex again!) The bad news is that this is the second such preventative cancer treatment I've had in 12 years. Since I have a virus that's associated with gynecological cancers, it may show its ugly face again. The good news is that my doctor is one of the leaders in the field working on a vaccine for this virus. So maybe I won't have to deal with it much longer.

Just before I left, the oncologist said something really nice about Ken, my boyfriend, who endured this whole ordeal at the hospital with me.

She said, "You know, your boyfriend really loves you. When I went to talk to him the first thing out of his mouth was, 'Is she okay?' He was very concerned about you. Believe it or not, I often hear, 'When can I go?' But Ken impressed me. He loves you a lot. He was a saint, waiting for the new laser all day bored and hungry, without any complaints."

I was floored that she would offer me this anecdote right out of the blue.

Thing is, I felt lucky even before she told me all that.

October 4, 2000

Three weeks ago my best friend, Candy, dumped me like a sack of unwanted puppies. I don't have any idea why she unceremoniously ended the friendship with a curt, cold e-mail. We'd had a fight, but we'd had worse arguments before. To me, it was a run-of-the-mill disagreement that would blow over when we both cooled off. She saw it differently, wished me a nice life, but refused to explain herself. These last weeks have seen me struggling with the aftermath of rage and hurt.

But this morning I woke up with the feeling that Candy's absence has actually enhanced my other relationships and calmed me down. I'm much happier with my life now that she's not making me feel inadequate. I can FEEL more -- especially passion for Ken -- without her controlling influence. I'm still angry and hurt, but at least I can see that there's an upside to her departure.

October 5, 2000

Work finally gave me a raise and a promotion. Of course, irony dictated that I also had screaming, flaming cramps during my review. (Can't I have just ONE day of yin without yang? Please?) I went from being Project Manager 1 to Project Manager 2: Customer Insight Engineer. What does that title mean, you ask? Hell if I know. Guess I'll find out soon enough.

For those who aren't familiar with my day job: I work in database marketing. Which means I'm a geek with a two-drink minimum. So of course Ken and I went out to celebrate with a few sour apple martinis. Yum!

October 8, 2000

I just had the worst weekend of football in my life. Not only did my beloved Florida State Seminoles lose to the hated Miami Hurricanes, but also I got booted off the $300 NFL "Survivor Island" pool. Stinkin' Jets!

On Saturday, I finally got to go back to swing dancing again!! It was my first night back since before the surgery. Oh I had the absolute BEST time! The live big band played all the good stuff -- Goodman, Ellington, Miller, Sinatra -- and some new stuff they'd written. All my friends were so happy to see me back. I was fighting off partners with a stick. There was a time a few months ago that my ego would've been seduced by all this attention, but last night all I wanted to do was dance with Ken. It felt very good.

October 9, 2000

Late last night when I left Ken's apartment I had another idiotic freakout. (I can't tell you how much I hate Sunday nights.) Sometimes I feel so insecure because he is so good looking. I wonder why he's with me instead of some little actress.

I got new glasses yesterday. They are much hipper than my goofy old square ones.

October 14, 2000

I was in Vail, Colorado for a software users' conference last week. This was my first work conference and I was surprised not only by how much I learned but also by how fun it was.

Vail in autumn is fairly pleasant, even pretty where the aspen leaves were turning yellow. No snow and temps in the 60s. The most exciting thing, I guess, was the little 9-row puddle-jumper planes that bumped more than flew between DIA and Eagle. Yowsa! We had 2 female pilots on the way back... pretty cool. I doubt I'd have any desire to go back -- I don't ski -- but it was nice to say I'd seen it.

I made a new buddy at the conference, Travis from Iowa. He was a 25-year-old analyst. I take that back: he was a FLIRT. I think he underestimated my age. Made it clear right away that I was spoken for but he still chose to hang around. We had fun exploring the cheesy gift shops. He distracted me on the most turbulent portion of the flight by singing me Winnie-the-Pooh songs and recounting WWF storylines.

The funnest thing we did was to hold a mock Olympics. We divvied up teams by arbitrary country. Ironically, I was picked for France (my name and primary ancestry) is French. We participated in events like "Throwing the 6-foot stuffed fish into a bucket while blindfolded." And the "Tricycle / skateboard on your stomach / hop with a ball between your knees Triathlon." We were all pretty well "into the tea" by this point. I'd had two white Russians which packs quite a wallop in the 8,500-ft altitude where your blood is lucky to get a handful of oxygen molecules swimming through your blood any given minute. Needless to say, France came in dead last. If only I'd done better at the hula-hoop finals. Or at least cheated a little more.

Vive la France!

Last night was wonderful. Even though my flight didn't get in until midnight, Ken still picked me up at the airport. He didn't bag out even though I gave him ample opportunity when my flight was delayed. We went back to my apartment and stayed up even later. YUM! *sigh* He's ssooooooo wonderful.

Today I gave myself permission to do absolutely nothing but indulge in football and some reading. Another night of dancing later.

October 20, 2000

Gave Ken a poem I wrote on Tuesday:

Thoughts Before Making Love

He smiles.
His eyes reflect green sparks in the candlelight.
He is Apollo, dragging daylight across my sky.
Even on our first date, he warmed
my hands while we walked
through the cold December night.
I wonder if he rereads the poems I wrote for him,
replaying them like old Warren Zevon songs,
re-wearing them like a brown button-down shirt
soft with age.

I smile.
The candlelight betrays a flare on my face
that rises from the glow filling my chest.
Poets call it fire,
but I think that's a shallow metaphor.
when I look into his eyes, smell his skin, touch his strength.
But flames pale, cool and swift,
next to the earth-hot lava which Pele forges
across eons
under the vast, deep sea.

October 23, 2000

At the end of the first week of my "Millennium Fitness Quest." Lost 3.5 lb. last week. Yay me!

I've started meditating at night, Buddhist Vipassina meditations to start. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to know when it starts working. I have noted some more vivid and metaphorical dreams lately. And I've also been getting more creative ideas late at night. I mainly started it to help me deal with some of the fears the surgery engendered. Lately, I'm using it to deal with some of the anger from the Candy situation.


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