I am a 30-year-old nap enthusiast, former high school English teacher, world traveling vineyard laborer, and picture book librarian, pursuing her life-long dream of being a ‘real’ writer.
Throughout my twenties, I wondered: How can I be happier? What is the point of my life? Who am I? Who wants to play ‘Edward Forty Hands’ with me? I taught high school English language arts in Brooklyn while getting my MS in education at night. It was really hard when a student called me a “turtle pussy” and everyone laughed, but rewarding when we had ‘Jamaican Dance Party’ Fridays and everyone danced.
When I moved to New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand on my own, I had to work to travel. I survived vineyard labor, skydiving, white water rafting, a tattoo, milking cows, loving a possum trapper, waiting tables at a ski resort, bossing people around at a beachside restaurant, swimming with wild dolphins, climbing lots of rocks, hitchhiking with drug dealing English ex-pats–I didn’t know!–while alone in a Thai island jungle, and living in a flat, couch, car, van, and tent among other places.
I survived major depression, over and over again.
I had cancer for two years but now I don’t. I survived. I asked everyday: how long will I live? It’s been 19 months and 18 days since my rebirth day, May 2, 2012, the day I got a stem cell transplant.
Radiation treatments damaged my spine. I pee by self-catheterizing and walk with a $20 fading tiger print cane purchased at a Safeway Pharmacy. Is it permanent? Yes, but it’s not all bad. Dirty toilet? I can pee standing up. Pooping is a different. I use a squatty potty and pretend I’m a bear doing her biz-nasty in the woods.
These days, I write and watch Wendy Williams in the morning, and tutor elementary school children in the afternoon. I throw dinner parties and sort of hope everyone drinks too much so we can have a slumber party. They never do.
I published my first article ever on Gawker. Here it is: “Positivity Is Bullshit When You Have Cancer.”
Bob Madigan, WTOP News, interviewed me and my buddy Kristina about my fav cancer non-profit, Hope Connections for Cancer Support in Bethesda, Maryland. I’m the one with the sexy radiation rasp: WTOP Hope Connections Interview.
I am writing a memoir about my twenties before cancer when I fell in love a lot, traveled a lot, drank a lot, and cried about falling in love and traveling and drinking a lot, and after cancer when I fell in love with my life, my boyfriend, and only cried sometimes. I also write short stories.
I live in Washington, DC with my super cute, smart boyfriend Paul, and two cats, Nico and Cricket. They prefer to be called Stinkatron and Poofy Face. Paul goes by Paul. My cute boyfriend says I’m funny, although Stinkatron and Poofy Face never get the joke.
Email me at lauren(at)laurensczudlo(dot)com if you want to publish my memoir or give me a job writing stuff.