This blog is courtesy of an event that keeps replaying in my head over and over. I was in Las Vegas on a family trip and we were doing A LOT of walking. We ran into a band and they were grooving so I danced for about 5 minutes and we continued on. We got to a set of stairs with an elevator right next to it... of course, in an attempt to preserve my energy, I choose the elevator. Someone close to me said “You were just dancing, you can’t walk up the stairs!?” In my mind, I wanted to choke slam him, but I didn’t. I actually let that opportunity to teach him how chronic pain and fatigue works go because I didn’t want it to get awkward. It sucks, but he isn’t the only one who thinks that way. But I got time today, so let’s get into it.
People who have chronic illnesses are sick ALL OF THE TIME. It’s a CHRONIC illness. When you see us smiling... still sick. When you see us dancing... still sick. We are CHOOSING to enjoy ourselves for THAT moment. What you don’t see is how long it took for us to get ready for your event that you saw me laughing at. You don’t see how we almost didn’t make it to your party because getting dressed and doing our hair makes us feel like we just ran a marathon. You also don’t notice me wincing in pain in between the laughs. I can literally be laughing and have back spasms but I’ll continue my laugh (if in public). We are WONDERFUL actors and I think that works against us. We spend so much energy faking being well for other people that when we reveal glimpses into our life with chronic pain, all hell breaks loose. We should not have to put on a mask every day. It’s exhausting! But, we have to at least appear okay to make others feel okay with US being sick, sometimes to keep jobs... otherwise people start deciding that you can’t handle more things on your plate instead of just asking you.
So, if you see a Warrior out enjoying themselves, be happy for them. They are out here trying to live their best life despite the physical and mental pain they’re going through. A healthy person can’t even begin to comprehend what life is like for someone with a chronic illness. So if you see us smiling, smile back boo.
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