Sorries, Sorrows, and Shaking It Off
So, today was a new day. I imposed an end to my day of sloth and self-pity, although it’s possible that wine and chocolate are still featuring in my evening. I feel the need to apologise to you for yesterday’s post. For my expression of my weakness, exhaustion, my admission that sometimes it’s just all too much. But I’m not going to.
You see, I’ve spent most of my life sick and in pain. I’ve also spent most of my life pretending I’m not. Hiding the pain. Performing on stage and running off after the bow to throw up and collapse. Both in my work on the stage, and in my real life: my acting career didn’t pause when I left work. When people have caught me out, when I’ve been upfront about my illnesses, when someone’s suspected something, I’ve laughed. I’ve assured them it sounds, or looks, worse than it is. I’ve let them believe my illness was more a formality than anything else, I wore it like a badge of honour, but quickly assured I was still completely capable of anything, everything, life throws at me. And for the most part I have been. I made myself be. I’m stubborn. I’ve excelled and succeeded in areas that ‘healthy’ people would struggle to. Even if that meant making my husband carry me into my office and place me upright behind my desk and hover close by for when I needed him to do something physical for me, like answer the phone, or pick me up off the floor.
And in those rare moments when I’ve been completely caught out, when I couldn’t hide it, when the cane came out, when I had to take time off, when someone saw my crying, or wobbling, or collapsing, I apologised. I was so sorry for making a big deal of it. I was sorry for causing anyone inconvenience. I was so sorry for people seeing me like that. I was sorry for my weakness, my exhaustion, causing a scene, disturbing the peace, upsetting routine, being ‘abnormal’. Being less than. Being imperfect. Oh how I apologised! Did I need to? Probably not. My perception was always tainted by my own standards of perfection for myself. But then again….
In my last major position, I was upfront about my conditions when I took the job. I worked crazy long hours under even crazier conditions. I lived and breathed for my job. Despite my illnesses and pain I showed up every day and night. I worked my ass off. I achieved. I received compliments on my work. I took two days off in that time – one day after being taken to hospital after passing out, and another for having surgery. But then something unexpected happened. I had a ‘health scare’. A different one. A completely unexpected one. Doctors in Brazil told me that I had breast cancer. I rushed home to see a surgeon in Australia, and took 6 weeks off work. It all turned out ok. I went back to work. I’d had two surgeries, I was exhausted, but I showed up. A week later I had to leave my job. Because of my health. It hurt. More than any pain I’d ever felt. It was all my nightmares, my indignities, everything I’d refused to admit, to reveal, everything I’d apologised for….. And my dream was gone. And I said sorry. Again.
I won’t apologise anymore. That is my resolution to myself. Sometimes I feel a little sorry for myself. Sometimes I cry, I’m weak, I crumble. But that’s ok, it’s normal. I know there are people worse off than me. I know it could be worse. I know I ‘don’t look sick’. But it’s ok to admit that I’m tired, that I hate it, that I wish I didn’t have to deal with this, that I’m scared, that every time I hear of someone dying from Lupus I shake uncontrollably, that I’m just plain pissed off with this whole situation. It’s healthy. I vent. I release. I write off a day, I rest, I cry, I face my fears. Then the next day I get up and face the world again with a smile (and codeine!)
So am I sorry for my self-pitying indulgence yesterday? No. But I’m grateful you’re still here 🙂
Do you apologise too much? Have you ever felt ‘less than’ for something that you can’t control?
Posted on June 2, 2013, in Living With Autoimmune Conditions, Relax! and tagged Anxiety, Autoimmunity & Chronic Illness, Balance, Depression, Energy, Happiness, Lupus, Pain, perfectionism, prednisone, Sjögren's syndrome, Stress, Touring Life, Unemployment. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.