How can one of the things that give you so much joy and fulfillment, suddenly become so difficult to even think about?
Maybe it’s because you’re afraid you’ve failed. Or, maybe, it’s because it reminds you of how things used to be.
Yes, the big “before everything happened.”
You know, I think that when life presents you with unexpected challenges, when everything seems to be falling apart, when you feel as if you, yourself are about to fall apart at any minute… you often try to talk yourself into believing that you’re strong enough.
You open your eyes, you tell yourself “today is the day when I take back control of my life.” Then, it’s 1.30am and you’re lying in your bed, trying to tell yourself that it’s going to be just fine. The next day you wake up, and once again you promise yourself that “today is the day.” The day when things go back to the way they used to be.
At night, you go to bed feeling like a failure. Again. “It’s going to be just fine,” you tell yourself, but you don’t believe it anymore. Not really. I mean, it’s all starting to sound like a stupid lie you’re talking yourself into, every day as you open your eyes, and every night, as you close them.
I’ve been told (countless times now) that when facing major health issues, you should allow yourself to grieve. For the longest time, I’ve refused to do that. Still do. I refuse to grieve because I refuse to believe that I’ve lost something. Because I refuse to accept the fact that my life might not go back to “normal.” That’s just not going to happen.
I’m writing this post because things have been quiet around here. My posting has been sporadic and I feel like I wanted to put this out here, before publishing any other content I’ve been working on. I still love this blog, I still love writing, photography and everything else that goes into blogging. Sometimes I just find myself feeling incredibly frustrated when I can’t put in as much work as I’d like to. As much as I love it, it reminds me of how effortless and simple things used to be for me, and that stings a little. Then, when I actually do get to do some “blog work” I don’t hyperfocus on the pain I’m in, and feel that spark igniting again somewhere deep inside. It’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, struggling with inspiration and creativity, while also knowing that both are the things that help me stay sane and keep me going.
The truth is that I also feel like I’ve written this post before over and over again, in the last year and a half. I talked about feeling lost, overcoming fear, or staying resilient during tough times. Right now though, I don’t feel so strong. And I think it’s important to talk about that, too.
That part about feeling strong… I mean that quite literally.
Most days I’m in pain from the moment I open my eyes. Sometimes I have trouble keeping my balance or have an immediate need to lie flat on my back if I’m up on my feet for longer than 10-15 minutes. One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with a rare condition is the lack of answers. After nearly two years, fourteen procedures and countless tests, I’m still at a point where I’m being referred to have even more testing done, in order to rule things out. The multiple cysts that I have on my spine are symptomatic in such a rare number of cases that my doctors are having a hard time determining if that is the cause of my back pain and leg weakness. I constantly hear “the symptoms don’t fit diagnostic imaging, we don’t know what the problem is but don’t worry, you’re young, you’ll get better.” It’s tough to see these words as encouraging when you’re getting progressively worse, but still can’t get a clear answer. It’s hard to focus on getting better when you don’t even know what the problem is. Once I do have the answer, I’ll feel more comfortable about going into more detail about everything, and hope this happens soon, as I’m slowly running out of patience.
In all honesty, I hate talking about all of this. I hate bringing any attention to it, I don’t like focusing on the bad, negative things. The thing is, I can’t change it. It doesn’t matter how much work I put into myself, at the end of the day it’s still the last thing on my mind as I close my eyes at night, and the first thing I think about when I open them in the morning. I’ve always believed that it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself a little whenever the shit hits the fan, but I just can’t stand how often I see myself feeling small or weak. I hate not knowing if I’ll break down when someone asks “how are you feeling today?”
I wrote, then deleted this post a couple of times now. When I started writing it, I had tears running down my face because of how much physical pain I was in. As I’m finishing it, I’m having one of my better moments and I’m not sure if I should actually publish it. I also feel like I’ve already talked about it all, so what’s the point?
Putting all of this into words makes me feel weak, and I don’t like to think of myself as “weak.”
By putting all of this into words, I also remembered just how good it feels to just… write. It’s a little different than writing in my journal. This, right here, I can show to the people I love and let them know- hey, this what I’m feeling. When I say I can’t go out and do things with you, it doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you or don’t want to spend time with you. When I’m having a better day, it doesn’t mean that I’m healed or that I exaggerate when you happen to see me on one of those “bad” days. When I lose my temper, when I raise my voice or repeatedly ask to be left alone, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you or that I want to push you away. It just means that I’m frustrated and that despite having all of you around, sometimes I can’t help but feel very alone in all of this. When I’m sometimes quiet for days at a time, it doesn’t mean that I’m not curious about things that are going on in your life, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think of you. Some days I’m just so fed up with myself and stay quiet because I don’t want to burden anyone else with my shit. I know that it might not seem like it, but I’m still the same person. All those things that make me “me” are still there.
I’m still here.
By putting all of this into words, I’m reminding myself that being “weak” isn’t something we should be ashamed of. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a human thing to feel and it happens to us all- some of us just experience more challenges than others. I still have a lot of gratitude in my heart, and I practice it daily as there are many beautiful people and things in my life for which I feel incredibly grateful. On most days I have moments when I just want to run away from everything (more like crawl away, as running isn’t exactly an option for me right now, lol) and hide. Gratitude is what helps me see that despite the pain and the struggles, life can be pretty amazing and you really don’t have to look far to notice that.
So, this is why I wanted to write this before resuming posting. To let you know, and to also remind myself, that this space is still very important to me. I still have the passion for the same things (beauty, makeup, photography, self-growth) I’m just having a tough time maintaining the focus and structure in my life, when my body refuses to cooperate with my mind. It doesn’t have anything to do with “needing a break” or taking time out to focus on my health. I know that keeping my mind healthy will play a huge role in my healing process- whether I choose to go the spine surgery route or focus on alternative treatment. I cannot give up on doing things that bring me joy and fulfillment- blogging happens to be one of those things. I will not grieve and I will not let this stop me from living my life.
This post might seem like a bit of a mess, but you know what? This is just where my mind is at right now. And, I mean, my life is just a little messy at the moment, so I think it’s okay. :) I know that I’ll be okay because even though I do feel weak and frustrated on most days, I’m not giving up on myself.