Tag Archives: Star Wars

No Vera. It Was Just A Really Good Day

20 Dec

“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.”

— Leia Organa

leia

The day before my last cancer treatment I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I adored the movie – found it to be the most feminist Star Wars that has ever existed and while I love Rey and Rose, it was Leia that stuck with me. Partially because we lost Carrie Fisher, yes, but more so because it was Leia that I had as a little girl to look up to. Leia who never once faltered in her belief in goodness.

In her belief in hope.

That night I had a nightmare that I missed my appointment and had to walk from my hometown about an hour north of NYC to Mt. Sinai Downtown. Needless to say I woke up feeling pretty anxious.

I know that seems silly. It’s been three and a half years since diagnosis. Three and a half years of active treatment. Three and a half years of injections and constantly hauling myself onto the scales to ask am I good enough? Am I doing enough? Am i trying hard enough? Am I somehow going to be free of this burden?

Who wouldn’t want it to be over?

But it being over meant I wasn’t seeing my doctor every month to look at my charts and tell me I’m okay. No, obviously he couldn’t tell me if I was popping off another tumor somewhere but he could tell me what my estrogen levels looked like and that was important. It was reassuring.

It felt like a safety net.

And now it was over.

When I was at my appointment I double checked with my doctor. I asked him, “You sure it’s okay to stop now?” and he told me the same thing he’s been telling me the whole time: There’s no scientific evidence that continuing with the ovarian suppressant beyond three years yields a better outcome.

I nodded. Okay. I believe in science.

I left him and went down to the treatment area for my last injection. Again I’ve been coming here for three years so it’s a bit of a Norm situation when I walk in the room:

Image result for norm cheers gif

That’s what happens when you have treatment for three years and every time you go in you’re the youngest one in the room.

My nurse, Avada gave me my last injection. I was lying on the cot and she took one look at me said “What’s wrong with you?”

“It’s my last injection,” I said. “I’m done.”

zero

I had been photographing myself for the final five months counting down to the last shot. Day Zero.

She was so happy. Gave me a big hug. When we were finished I hugged my other nurses and NPs, especially Camry whose been there from Day 1 when I walked in that office so afraid my hands were shaking. They all told me to come visit when I get my check up in 3 months. I thanked them for taking such good care of me.

Camry said, “That’s our job.”

Nurses are amazing people. One day you’ll need them, and they will be there. No matter what.

I walked out and cued up Lady Stardust by David Bowie.

 

And I stepped outside into a chilly winter morning and I felt……alive.

Free.

Done.

Wonderful.

I felt like I was floating.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I’ll still have scans and MRIs for years to come but in a very real way this chapter is closed. I feel like the board has been reset. In a way, I can join the rest of you who never know what’ll happen. Who don’t wonder and worry every day. Who pass through their life in the moment.

Those who just live.

That night I went out with some very dear old friends to celebrate. It was a truly wonderful time full of much laughter and tears and wine. At one point we tried to guess our waitresse’s name. I guessed Danielle.

When we asked her she told us her name was Vera.

She was wonderful and dutiful and because we were making such a ruckus at the end of the evening she asked, with a wide smile, if it was someone’s birthday. Clearly we were celebrating.

We all sort of stopped and I looked at her and I said, “No Vera. It was just a really good day.”

It was just a really good day.

I woke up this morning feeling fantastic. Truly completely fan-fucking-tastic.

As this terrible year winds down, I hope all of you feel as fan-fucking-tastic as this ex-cancer patient does. I hope you have hope that gets you through the long night. I hope you have joy and wonder and beautiful friends to share it with.

I hope you all live in the moment.

No matter what always remember, it’s a magical world. Here’s to the New Year.

Let’s go exploring.

magicalworld

 

Peace, Love and Starbursts,

Ally

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Everyday Sexism, with a Twist (more spoilers) and some Thank Yous in the New Year

5 Jan

Happy New Year kids!

Before we talk some more about Star Wars, I need to do a little recap and say thank you to some people who were end-of-the-year awesome.

First off, thanks to Mark Lindberg who wrote this really wonderful review of This Is Sarah (which you can buy here for 99 pennies!) including the following:

Colin’s hope and single-mindedness is infectious, it’s hard not to believe him, extremely hard not to root for him, but at the same time, we hear the people around him constantly telling him he has become dangerously obsessed and possibly delusional, which it’s also hard not to believe. A fantastically complex place to put me in as reader!

You can read the whole thing here.

And if 99 pennies is more than you want to spend you can throw your hat in the ring for the 2 copies that we’re giving away on Goodreads here. I’ll sign them for you! Entries are open for the next 13 days.

Secondly I want to thank Susan Tepper for her really wonderful review of my new poetry book How To Be An American:

Every poem in this collection is rock-solid and jarring. If you care about the world at large, you might want to read this intelligent, captivating book by Ally Malinenko who is not afraid to speak out. Most highly recommended.

*Blushes*

You can read her whole review here. And if you want, you can also enter the Goodreads giveaway (also 2 copies) which also ends in 13 days!

Yay books!

Thirdly, many thanks to Peter at Portside for giving this poem about East Germany a home. I have done an absolutely terrible job of sending out poems (or writing them for that matter) so the fact that I have anything to share at all is basically a miracle.

And finally, I started a new novel while the other resides in submission hell causing me to refresh my email like a psychopath and habitually curse out any spam that appears. The new thing is still a gooey mess but a) I don’t hate the first 3K plus words (which is a miracle) and b) I’m excited to work on the next few chapters (also a miracle).  Oh and I’m trying really hard to not say “What Would Rey Do?” every single time my MC opens her mouth….. just every other time.

Okay so STAR WARS…..POSSIBLE SPOILERS YOU’VE BEEN WARNED

I posted some spoilers last week after I saw it and it included my excitement that my niece Neve will have a character like Rey to look up to and because I knew that my sister was having trouble finding a Rey toy, I offered to brave the Disney Store in TIMES SQUARE (that’s how much I love Neve) to see if they had anything. They didn’t. Neither did the comic book shops. Or book stores. Or anywhere toys are sold.

Because apparently Hasbro screwed up big time prompting a #WheresRey hashtag.

So they got this:

Rey

Annie Rose, ladies and gentlemen, taking us to church!

Hasbro responded with this:Rey

Right, sure. Insert massive eye roll here. Because, lest we forget both Mattel and Hasbro neglected to include Black Widow in the sets for Age of Ultron and worse THEY GAVE HER MOTORCYCLE TO CAPTAIN AMERICA AND FREAKING IRON MAN.

So while we were in Forbidden Planet we saw this, hanging on the wallorphan black

That’s hands down the most bad ass Orphan Black t-shirt, a show I adore, in which Tatiana Maslany plays 4 amazing clones. My husband is also a fan of this show and when he saw the shirt he audibly squealed and then said, “What do they mean, ‘women only’?” because next to it was a little sign saying exactly that.

That shirt is available in women’s sizes only (i.e. cut tight). No sizes for him.

There were other “women only” t-shirts on display at Forbidden Planet. They included Ms. Marvel, Lumberjanes (which won the Eisner btw) Ghost World and Orphan Black.

All shows/comics with women in the main role.

And it’s not really Forbidden Planet’s fault. The makers of the shirts didn’t bother to make a male version. Because what red blooded American Male would want to walk around with a WOMAN on their shirt??? How embarrassing. And what boy would want to play with a  GIRL flying the Millennium Falcon?? GASP!

mf

Hmmm…Chewie, BB8 and Finn. Last time I checked, neither BB8 nor Finn flew that fucking ship. Ever.

Makers of things: Men can’t be allies against sexism if we don’t give them a chance to be proud of strong female characters. That’s pretty obvious, right?

Everyday sexism, kids, with a twist.

It’s 2016. We shouldn’t be having these conversations anymore.

 

Thoughts on Star Wars: Sick with Spoliers

28 Dec

images (1)

In the waning days of 2015, I finally managed to carve out some time to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

While I was happy to complain that I was the last person left on Earth who hadn’t seen it, I realize that is not the case so skip this entire post if you don’t want spoilers.

Okay again, SPOILERS abound!!

Last time, SPOILERS!

So of course I loved loved LOVED the movie. But I knew that I would. There is very little that JJ does wrong in my opinion and even going into knowing pretty much all the spoilers I loved it.

I audibly cheered in the theater when they showed the Millennium Falcon for pete’s sake. I’m THAT guy.

And while Han’s death scene was rough, it was a fitting end to a great character. I’ve read some posts about how half the movie is about getting Han there on the bridge emotionally but I didn’t feel that way. I thought it worked.

John-Boyega-as-Finn-in-Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens

What I didn’t think worked was Finn’s motivation. And I say this while ordering my I LOVE FINN t-shirt because I absolutely adored the guy. He was funny, smart, clever, and full of heart. He’s a reformed Storm Trooper! What’s not to love? Except…maybe THAT. At one point he tells Rey (more on her later) that he was taken from his family and raised as a Storm Trooper which means that is the ONLY reality that Finn knows. I understand that the argument is that once he’s ordered to kill, he can’t do it and that’s fine, but Finn had zero inner conflict about killing other Storm Troopers who were essentially his only family. I sort of wish they had made it like a conscription thing – like serving as a Storm Trooper is some sort of punishment or what not so that he would have knowledge of another kind of life. It takes incredible amounts of courage to abandon the only life you’ve ever know (hence the power of cults). I wish they had shown Finn struggle a little with this choice. Eager is not a character choice.

Rey

Now to Rey. There’s been some talk about Rey being a Mary Sue (too perfect of a character). I completely disagree or at least no more of a Mary Sue than Luke was. And if Rey were RAY this conversation wouldn’t even be taking place. No one worried about Han being too….everything!

This is why the term Mary Sue is inherently sexist.  (Click that, it’s short and concise and really fooking good)

 

What is so great about Rey is that she’s never ever going to cause a little girl to sit on a back deck bored out of her skull watching her friends with light sabers.

Let me explain. As a kid, the majority of my friends were boys. There was my best friend, his little brother and their male neighbor and me. As the only girl in the group, when we played Star Wars, I was Leia. I argued for Han but was overruled that a) there had to be a Leia because otherwise who would get rescued and b) I was THE girl.

So I spent a lot of time, watching my friends run around the backyard, swinging their light sabers while I waited to be rescued.

I hated it. I hated that even though Leia occasionally used a blaster, she was still a Princess. In need of rescuing.

So, enter Rey.

Rey who rescues herself.

Rey who goes toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren.

Rey who weilds a light sabre.

Watching that moment my heart nearly burst. There it was. There SHE was. The character I wanted so badly as a little girl.

And I realized that when my niece, Neve, is old enough she’ll see Rey and she’ll see herself. A strong, brave resourceful girl. And when she plays Star Wars with her friends and her brother, she’ll never ever spend it on a back deck, waiting to be rescued.

She’ll call Leia, “General” and not “Princess.”

Because fuck princesses.

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