It’s been a long time since I have been able to really look at myself and feel good. Not just physically, though that is, was, also a big part, but mentally I was struggling. I honestly didn’t know if I was coming or going, I was beginning to lose myself in my illnesses. And it was showing to the world I am sure. In what I posted, how I spoke. It was all I knew.
Let’s face it, I have never really known who I am, what I am. Other than the obvious human aspect, I always struggled to fit in any where. My identity has always been tied to others; daughter, sister, wife, mother, worker, and rarely – boss. I never really had my own identity.
So, when my illnesses came along, it was something that was mine, sure, others had similar or even worse, but these were mine. I allowed them to shape who I was. I became my illnesses. I have begun to steer out of that in the last few days, after years, almost a decade, of being my illness(es). I just don’t know who I am? If I am not my illnesses, who am I?
Yes, the obvious, go back to all the other things. But that isn’t ME. The core me. That is what I need to work on now. Using descriptors, maybe I can narrow things down, help myself figure things out? But I think I will leave that for another post.
Back to the original thought; It’s been a long time since I have been able to look at myself and see something other than sick. Tonight, I had my first glimpse.
I have been dealing with Allergies, asthma, bowel issues, Endometriosis (suspected), flu, general intestinal problems, SAD, thyroid, and a myriad of other minor things. All of this collapsed on me this past week, when, while at work, I had breathing problems complicated by the flu and all my other issues. It set off actual anxiety in my brain. Not to say I have never had anxiety, just in this nagging, always wondering sort of way.
I had a decent day, my husband has learned to putter, and you can see it in him! His weight loss, the change brought on by his changed anti-depressant medication, his whole out look! He is still struggling, always will. It is a life long battle. But to see him actually …. dare I say? Happy? It eased my heart. It released a grip on me I hadn’t felt any more. I damned near broke.
My son is slowly improving from his bought of flu, and my baby girl (a cat) is actually coming to handle her medications like a major trooper! Even asking for them if I am late!?
My last dose of Prednisone was tonight, and while cough is not fully gone, it is easing. Could ease enough to stop needing pee pads, but that will come in time.
I decided to shower, help clear the lungs a bit.
That’s when I looked in the mirror. Not in the “let’s make sure I am not growing a horn” sort of way, but a “who are you” way. I hadn’t shaved my mustache in almost a week, I hadn’t plucked any random long black hairs from my chin, or shaved the uni-brow away. I hadn’t even looked at the dead peeling, scaly skin around my one eye that had begun to spread to the other eye. I did so then. I REALLY looked. I looked with a critical eye, with an eye I thought a stranger might use. A bitch stranger.
What I saw? Surprised me. The dry skin under my eye was 99% gone, I had to really squint and lift my lashes to see any evidence that the tiny blisters it came from were even there (one, for the record). I could see a few darker hairs on my upper lip, but it took moving my finger upwards to even feel them, and they were softening (the hormones SHOULDN’T be work already?). I had no dark chin hairs, and the ones that are always there seemed finer, lighter? Hell, I couldn’t even see any grey hairs trying to poke out.
Then I REALLY looked. Closer, deeper. I liked what I saw. Maybe the combination of being sick (flu), Prednisone, and Progesterone was doing something to me? I even have COLOUR on my cheeks. I can’t remember the last time I had. I am talking before I hit teen years. So ancient times. 😉 I have always need blush if I wanted to look “healthy”. Or at least that’s what my Mom would tell me, and magazines, and strangers. To be honest? I have quit using even just blush years ago. IF I had a “good day” and wanted to do it FOR ME, I would occasionally wear makeup. But maybe 3 times in 5 years?
So, I looked. I looked at me. I can’t tell what, if anything has changed. Not really. It could be the medications, or it could just be a better mental place. Whatever it is? I hope it lasts for a while. My pores seem tighter, skin a bit softer, less dry. My eyes don’t look so …. dead. Even the dark circles I have had the last 5 years seem to be fading (though, the lateness of the day has them coming back). Whatever it is, I like it.
I am even sitting here, listening to music as I type this. Enjoying it.
I don’t know if I will ever really figure out who I am. And really, that’s okay. I know I am awkward, weird, standoff-ish, bitchy, whiny, lazy, and a bunch of other words I have heard used I don’t like. But you know what? Whatever I am? I am me. All the good, all the bad.
I am FIERCELY loyal – I will fight your enemies to the death, if they hurt you. If I let you in, love you, it is for life. But if you abuse the trust, that love (and that takes … WOW that takes way to much), then, it is unlikely it will ever been earned back. If it is? Trust me, don’t break it a second time. I am AMAZING at freezing and ghosting you out of my life, and you will know why.
I am actually pretty easy-going, but with odd “has to be this way” type quirks. shrugs hard one to explain.
I might disagree, but I will listen to your side, and it may not seem like it at the time, I may even seem like I am ignoring you, but it is stewing in my brain. It might take time, or may never happen, but it sits there and I do try to understand you. I will be softer next time you bring up the subject. I do listen even if it doesn’t seem like it.
If you need me, I WILL be there. It may not be instant, it may not be long, but I WILL be there. To the point of dropping my own life in the ditch. If you need me? I am there.
Thing is? I don’t do ANY of it for anything. You owe me NOTHING. I don’t care. I don’t do “favours”, I don’t do the whole “if I do for you, you must for me”. The ONLY time I MIGHT say it’s a “favour” (TOO MANY QUOTES!!!), is if it means money. If I have so little, but you have greater need. I will give it to you. But I may ask for it back by a certain time. BUT I tell you up front. Never will I guilt you, not if I can help it. I will be straight forward. Some times to the point of hurtful, without meaning to be. If I do something wrong? TELL ME. I might be hurt, but I will get over that. I would rather know and fix the issue than let it fester. I’m a big girl. Just tell me.
Look, I am a jumbled mess, sometimes contradictory in nature. Like I said, I may never know who I am. And that’s okay. Because I am me. A mess, awkward, loving, loyal.
Just know? I am in a good place right now. And I have YOU to thank for that. You stuck by me, even if just in thought. And that has made ALL the difference.
What I do know? I need to stop letting my illnesses define me. Yes, they are a part of me, part of what makes me who I am. Sometimes that isn’t good.
I am not innocent, or perfect, or maybe even likable, I don’t know. And it doesn’t matter, not really. What matters now, is I work on liking myself. Without seeing the sick parts. It may not happen over night, hell, we have no clue if the hormone therapy is what will work, but without being able to do any test to figure it out, it is trial and error. Eventually something will work. Until then, I work on seeing myself for a person that is there in spite of the sick parts.
Just bear with me. I will still have my bad days, I will still probably bitch about it. But I am hoping that will also come with better days, more days, where as I learn to like myself again, I have the good days.
The trick will be to share the good as well.
I will try.
You have stuck by me (you KNOW who you are! Hubby, Kid, Cat!, family, Friends. I love you!), I will try to do better for you as well. If I can do better for myself, I will be able to be there more for you.