In fact, I have what you might call an 'undefined' illness. I've recently written a short, stream-of-consciousness style piece on my struggle so far. Hopefully you enjoy it! Again, my profoundest apologies for not posting lately, and hopefully there will be some big guest posts coming up soon!
'Maybe', a Reflection on Illness
Imagine a pain starting innocently,
The small-feeling awkward adolescent going to the sick room at school.
Yes. Imagine a normal kid, with maybe some slightly-more-than-average anxieties,
And add a bit of stomach pain.
Now imagine how a pain could grow.
Maybe he stayed up too late worrying too much?
Did he sometimes eat the wrong things?
Could the pain have started with his mother- That overbearing and manipulative shadow, stalking him with a type of love so genuine- yet not; or was it perhaps his father- that cold, emotionally unavailable one; The one he could not please no matter how he would contort himself emotionally into something that would be pleasing to him. Or maybe the boy didn’t bend at all- Maybe he carried some gnawing resentment towards the fact his own personality was never enough. Inwardly, maybe he shunned his gifts- obscenely pleased to feel different, yet a walking volcano, spewing out shame and self hatred, exerting damage to the rocks and precipice, right down to its foundations, yet leaving other structures intact- this lonely volcano far away from the city. Maybe it was the inward self loathing that was his problem.
Maybe as he grew he noticed more and more the enormous power of being different. This sensitivity to pain could be wordsmithed- cobbled into profound stories- imprinted into powerful memories- helping others to laugh and heal and to feel inside their own existences; yet continually with that struggle, an incredible weakness in running, or sport, or even sometimes normal thinking. Maybe it was depressing always feeling the odd one out, the black sheep, or the square peg in a round hole. Maybe just like the prevailing headaches and mental fog that he wandered through most of his adolescence, he struggled to find a place of love for himself, or others.
Maybe he got married and had a bunch of kids like people do- Maybe, feeling like a child- alone and unprepared for the world, his power and vulnerabilities became worse- A penchant for words that could strip darkness of its power, with the everyday vulnerability of struggling to find a job or a lack of drivers licence.Maybe there were some times when the bags under his eyes seemed etched into the back of his skull that merely existing with civility became a difficult- This tired meandering and achieving what must be achieved through the day would carry a great toll on him over time, yet maybe some days he coped, finding a rhythm that surprised even himself? Maybe. Maybe this resentment- a continual background simmering in his life, raged into a boiling froth spewing over when he saw others
unimpeded and unhampered
by the phantom of some vague indefinable illness that he carried.
Maybe those things were factors to the pain too.
Maybe the sheer power of ‘otherness’ powered his existence. Knowing pain, and the bloody hard fought battles that brought joy over time fueled him. Maybe not growing up, or not feeling able to grow up helped him with his children- To teach them to cherish their childlikeness, to stand in wonder at the world around them- and perhaps to occasionally count their blessings. Maybe the power he had was a paradox. Those who freely sailed life’s incredible ocean could be struck down at any moment by the whims of the storms- at least he knew what it was to be struck. Maybe he knew what is was like to drown a bit? or a lot, at several points in his life? Maybe some of his anxieties were heightened by judgement by the people that ‘in their own way’ loved him? Perhaps they asked the same questions of him he asked so frequently of himself
and why is this young man not working,
or not working harder,
or failing miserably to find his place?
Why is he so awkward?
Why hasn't he changed?
Perhaps they never spoke a word of their thoughts to him. Maybe he just sensed that’s what they were thinking?
Maybe the food he ate still hurt him, and things small and great conspired to keep him sick and tired- The teething baby after midnight, or just the selfish restlessness of a stomach that refuses to rest- or even his own foolishness at staying up too late? Maybe. Maybe he went to so many doctors and specialists that had no concrete answers that he eventually turned around and threw his hands up in the air in a final resignation, like some strange acceptance stage of grief that still contains the anger. Maybe. Who knows?
Maybe there is hope yet for this young man to live a normal life, whatever that is. That much is uncertain, but there is one thing I know for a fact-
I need a damned good sleep .
Enjoy your day,