For just a few hours today, I thought I had escaped you.
The sun was shining so brightly through the windows in the kitchen and I felt a motivation to do that I haven’t felt in such a long time. With the PT starting to make a difference and the hope of using just one crutch I trekked up the stairs to clean.
With the music on I started to sing along-something I haven’t done in weeks- and then the most amazing thing happened; I put both crutches aside and I walked. I walked back and forth and around the room and as my confidence grew I moved faster and faster until I was cleaning, crutch free, around my whole room.
I turned the music up louder and I sang along, smiling and seeing the end of this season of struggle finally come into view. My God, I even danced a bit while standing in place and I felt joy I haven’t felt in such a long time. I felt like myself.
But you couldn’t have that, could you? You had to remind me that I am lazy and sad and boring. You had to crash into me; wave after ten-foot wave. Drowning out the happiness that was sprouting and soaking me to the bones in sadness.
How dare I feel happy when I make others feel so weighed down?
Well, I suppose you’ve won this round, because here I sit, stunned and numb while I recount the ways I am so much less than the people I spend my time with.
I keep pushing myself to go out with friends, breath different air. I plan new menus and tell myself I’ll get back into a routine this week. But it always ends the same; the outings with friends leave me tired and feeling like a faker and the dinners never get made. The food gets wasted or half prepared and eaten at strange times when no one really cares what’s on their plate.
It’s just that everything is so much of an effort and rarely ever just my own. I require everyone around me to participate in order to have a somewhat consistent life. Rides to go even the shortest distances, people to carry things to and from and hold open all the doors. You don’t realize just how much of an “able” world we live in until you are unable. Rather than accommodate you and apologize for excluding you, the world makes it clear that your inability to function is an inconvenience. This is incredibly hard to forget.
I keep telling myself that you are a temporary guest here. Unwanted as you are, you won’t go until you’re good and ready and I can respect that, but I don’t like it. I try to banish you with prayer, with artificial light, and with music. I consume feel-good movies and cozy up in blankets that make me feel warm and loved.
But I’m struggling to make eye contact these days, you know. Afraid they can all see you there in my face. I’m starting to wonder if you’re contagious if I can pass you on to anyone that gets too close. It feels like I could because I am just so sad I can’t possibly carry all of you on my own. But then isn’t that just like me these days? Pushing my struggles off on anyone who will take a load.
For now, I suppose we will need to find a way to coexist here. I will give you the space you need to stretch out and cover me with homesickness, so long as you allow me moments like today; when I saw my own face in the mirror.
We can stay here like this for a little while longer if you need, but ultimately my hope is that you will go. Summer is my very favorite time of the year and somehow I just know that if you stay you will block out all of the sunlight.