“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.“ —Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s just one of those days. I’m sitting in my recliner. Sipping raspberry lemonade. Listening to myself think.
I always make sure I keep my thoughts safely inside. That’s because it seems, only a few people understand what I’m going through. Most aren’t aware I exist under a cloud of fear. And sharing those feelings is very scary. So I fool friends and family about my reality.
I deceive everyone with my mouth full of white lies and an arsenal of empty clichés. Concealing the silent rumblings within.
I use my quiet face to tell them, “I’m OK.” Holding my feelings between my teeth. Biting down on my emotions. Hiding behind a pain stained smile of hope. This is all done so the world can think everything is all right.
However, when I’m alone, I put my head in my hands and try to forget I’m terrified. I sit on the floor with my arms toward the heavens, waiting for the storm to end. Waiting for God to send in the clowns to brighten my day. Praying that everything becomes still. Trying to resist being controlled by fear of the unknown. Being paralyzed by thoughts of an ambiguous future.
The whole process is exhausting, draining and toxic. And I’ve grown tired of hiding my scared feelings. So from now on, when someone asks how I’m doing, I’m telling them what’s really going on in my life.
But will my reality make people uncomfortable? Can they handle the fact I sometimes cry when I’m alone? Will they laugh at me when they find out I often struggle to make it to the bathroom on time? Will they think I’m a terrible person once they learn I’m jealous of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis who are healthier than me?
Hearing these facts might be awkward for some. It may even deter friends from socializing with me. But worrying about upsetting them can’t be more important than my well-being. And suppressing my truth is mentally wearing me down.
Therefore, I’m going to put on my warrior’s face and start talking out loud. I just hope it doesn’t frighten people away.
From My New Normals