Since this all began 20+ months ago, I’ve been more or less hiding out. I don’t post on social media much anymore. I head straight for the doors when the sermon ends on Sunday morning. I even walk Kona at times in the day when I’m less likely to run into neighbors.
I’ve been hiding, because I know that people care. They will ask how I’m doing, what I’m up to…and what would I say to them?
“I only move from the couch to walk my dog and go to the grocery store?”
“My doctor told me I probably don’t have cancer?”
“I’m running a fever right now as we speak?”
These are not things that people like to hear. But they are true.
I’ve been in hiding, because I cannot find the balance between being honest about my experiences and answering questions like “how are you?” truthfully, and not making others totally uncomfortable with the all the details of what I’m going through. If I water down the pain and make light of it, I fear that people will think I’m simply exaggerating in a desperate attempt to get attention. If I let them in on how much I actually suffer, I fear they will think I’m searching for pity.
Neither of these is true. I don’t want attention or pity. I want to be understood.
But I can’t very well expect people to understand me if I’m hiding from them, can I? This blog, this post, is my way of emerging from this hidey-hole I’ve dug for myself over the past year and a half. I hope to open up a dialogue…an honest and open dialogue…with those who I’ve inadvertently lied to about being “fine”. I hope that readers will see my heart in writing this, that I long for people to know the real me—the me who is not always as well as she pretends to be—and not the me who is “fine” but never does anything or goes anywhere.
I know that I will undoubtedly make people uncomfortable speaking so frankly about something that is so personal, and that is unfortunate. I’m hoping to change that. I’d like to do my part in helping to erase the stigma that surrounds chronic illness. That begins with me being honest, and that begins now.
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