An Open Letter To: My Best Friends

Dear best friends,

I know I've all but vanished off the earth completely, these past few months. I'm sorry. 

Apparently I'm sick. Like, actually sick. Believe it or not, this is just sinking in. I've been well aware for a long time that having a disability is real; it's something you can't will away or pray away or cure by eating vegetables and whole grains or exercising or practicing mindfulness. I know that. I'd never suggest to other people that their disability isn't serious, isn't real, is an excuse. 

But with myself? 

I'm so sure that I'm making excuses for myself. 'I'm not really tired. I just slept all day because I'm lazy and need to get my shit together'. Or, 'There's nothing wrong with my joints. They don't hurt that much. I'm complaining over nothing'. And worst of all, I'm afraid that you believe I'm making excuses because I'm too lazy or self-absorbed or... I don't even know what, to come see you, or even call you or text you.

Here's the thing: I'm not making excuses. My joints do feel like fire. I am so exhausted that I sometimes sleep for days and lose track of time. I am anxious and in pain and depressed. There's a reason I've barely left the house once a week (if at all) this winter.

I'm afraid that I'm pushing the world (and worst of all, you) away by choosing to be this way. But when I take a step back, consider whether I'd 'blame the victim' if she were anyone but me, if I'd tell someone with fibro and CFS and anxiety and SAD that she's making it up and being lazy and stupid and pathetic, I say, "Fuck no!". 

I'm empathetic. I'm kind. I'm a decent person, most importantly, so I realize that disability isn't a choice. Part of what makes a disability, a disability, is its horrible impact on a person's relationships and quality of life.

My quality of life has gone further down the drain with every new symptom. And it'll just get worse if I stay in denial. I need to go easier on myself, while pushing myself to give as much as I can to my loved ones and my business and myself. It's a fine line to walk, but maybe if I let you in, you'll help me.

I know you've always been here for me. Even when you didn't understand what I was going through, you were always there. When I had a crush on Alec Baldwin. When I said I dreamed of taking a bite out of every single chocolate in a box and you bought me one for Christmas the next year and said "have at it!". When I came out. When I was vegan. When I decided I wasn't vegan anymore. When I had Selective Mutism. When you switched schools. When I switched schools. When I obsessed over Freud, and Green Day, and potato buns, and Julianne Moore. 

So I know you'll be here for me through this too. I'm just sorry it's taken so long for me to let you in. I've never doubted you. I've doubted me.

Love always,

Ice: 1; Becca: 0

I keep dreaming of the day I'll be able to portray myself as this flawless, ever-confident business mogul who never cries, never fears, never 'gives in' to the way biology made her. Who never succumbs to fatigue, depression, or agoraphobia.

But that's not me. Right now I feel I couldn't be further from it.

This is what I was thinking about moments ago, when I ashamedly retreated to the house after 30 seconds outside. I was terrified of slipping on the ice which I hadn't realized had formed overnight. 

Most people dislike icy sidewalks, just like most people don't enjoy needles or spiders or colds; but then, most people's hearts don't start racing at the thought of these things, their hands going clammy, their chest feeling tight, their vision blurry, feeling they're dying.

Most people don't have phobias.

But what about those of us who do?

Maybe I should be content to bare all, even the parts that embarrass me, scare me or exhaust me (like my chronic illnesses). I try to be honest and open here, but sometimes it's hard. Sometimes I want to be perfect. Don't most people?
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