As I write this, I must tell you, a more beautiful day could not be had. The sun is shining from one of the bluest skies I’ve ever witnessed. The temperature, a pleasant 75°F. There’s a slight breeze that blows my hair in ticklish wisps across my face. The warmth of the sun on my pale cheeks feels heavenly. And I am tired, so tired. I am weary to the bone.
I got some decent sleep last night, which is an improvement from the few nights before. Despite what some may call an obsession with Skittles, I eat fairly well. I’m at least a part time vegan. I drink mostly water during the day, including the water in my regular two cups of coffee. I have a glass, ok a glass and a half, of wine each night. I exercise regularly. My blood pressure is great, my bloodwork is stellar. And I am so, so tired.
And that happens from time to time with me, in this broken body. I get tired. I don’t feel well. I find myself in an emotional funk. It’s usually fairly quick to pass. It doesn’t invade my life too much. It’s a nuisance, a pest, a pebble in my shoe. It’s there and it’s no wonder.
My body has never been a shining example of proper health. I’ve been wearing glasses since I was a kid. I have no thyroid function. I have a genetic mutation that caused my body to spontaneously grow a tumor out of the very stuff that was designed to heal me. Obviously things aren’t working so well in this sack of skin. So, it makes sense that from time to time I will feel a little emotionally and physically spent.
It’s something I’ve grown used to, as so many of us sickies have to. Today I just can’t (insert activity here). It’s not something I want to celebrate, rather it’s something I’ve come to a sort of acceptance about. There will be days when I am tired and slow, the words don’t come, I can’t find much to chuckle about, my body just can’t do that thing. It’s not pleasant, but it’s okay. I get it. I understand. That’s just how I am.
It’s not to say I’ve given up or given in or accepted some fate that I’ve fabricated in my head. I will forge ahead always, just ask my stubborn Irish will. Neither of us takes no for an answer. But one must accept reality for what it is. And my reality is that my body is broken. My reality is that I will never always be 100%.
And that’s what makes unsolicited advice and frilly ideas and romantic notions such hard pills to swallow when you’re like this, when you’re broken. See, almost everyone has an idea about how you can simply improve your life by (insert these simple steps). Bless their hearts, they try with their sage advice, but I can tell you they’re not helpful or cute or kind. Quite frankly, they’re insulting, condescending, and downright outrageous.
Take this gem, for example:
This is the kind of malarkey we, us sickies, are inundated with daily. Have you tried essential oils? You should cut out carbs. Do harder exercise for a shorter period of time. Do easier exercise for a longer period of time. Sleep more. Eat less. Cut out alcohol. Cut out caffeine. Don’t focus on your disease. Have you heard of reiki?
Get more sun.
Drink more water.
Get eight hours of rest.
Move your body.
Eat a healthy diet.
I have done (insert all those things). And, guess what? I’m still tired, so tired. I am weary to the bone. Now what? Got any more advice for me?
What I want to say is, try it. Try living in this body for a day, a week, a few goddamn years. Try being exhausted after the simplest of chores. Try fearing putting that first foot on the floor each morning because you never know what might hurt, or where, or how much. Try never knowing why. Try wanting to do more, go further, but your body won’t let you. Try never knowing if your next step will land you on your ass. Try doing the math and realizing the next forty years will most likely be even more of a challenge than the first.
But I don’t. I nod. I say thank you with a smile. I’ll look into that has become my favorite comeback. Then, I shoot you the bird without you noticing. I tell you to fuck off under my breath. I take your handy pamphlet and I crumple it as tight as my aching hands will allow me and I toss it in the trash with a good riddance and a fond farewell.
And I carry on living in a broken body, more tired than you could ever know.
So, before you spout off your pearls of wisdom, before you hand out your glorious advice, try it. Try living in this body first. Or hers. Or his. Or any one of the numerous other broken bodies with their myriad maladies around you on any given day. Try it. Try it for a day, for a week, for a few goddamn years. Try it. Then, maybe you’ll see why Dr. Sunshine doesn’t work for me.
*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay