My shirt says, Everyday I Fight. My shirt is a lie. I bought it to support the cause, my cause, desmoid tumors. I wear it because it’s soft. Because I don’t mind sweating in it. Because it fits my mood and my wardrobe, both mostly black.
As it tends to go when we die, those of us diagnosed with serious illnesses often find ourselves hoisted to a saintly status. All of the sudden we’re faster, better, stronger, more beloved and more wise than ever before. And, just like my shirt, that’s also a lie.
I got sick. I found a funny lump. I had a surgery, some physical therapy. Then recurrence and meds, meds, more meds until things died down. Literally and figuratively.
I got sick. I’m not a hero. I’m not a soldier or a warrior. I’m not on a journey, in a battle, waging war. I got sick and I did what I could to try and get well. It’s as simple as that, nothing more.
My t-shirt is a lie because it implies that somehow my fight is bigger than yours. It suggests that I wanted to fight it, that I’m somehow more prepared. It tries to tell you I’m tougher because of it, but I’m not. My shirt lies.
The thing is, I do fight every single day, but I always have. As have you. As you do. My tumor didn’t suddenly make me brave. Chemo didn’t make me strong. I’m not better, faster, stronger, more wise because I had to use a cane. Those things come in time, in life, thanks to the myriad challenges I’ve faced in life. The ones I’ve faced just like you.
I fight my brain, its demons and lies. I fight insecurity and doubt, the dark and nervous thoughts that creep into my waking hours, that break my restful sleep.
I fight my body, my aging frame that creaks and pops. I fight the aches and pains that beg to be still. I fight gravity. I fight time.
I fight your love and your help, your compliments too. I fight the voice that tells me I’m worth it. I’m stubborn and foolish. I should really be fighting my pride.
I fight traffic, chaos, weather, appliances, vehicles, dumb luck, and bad timing. I fight my kids and my spouse. I fight my dog. I fight you.
I fight the urge to say mean things. I fight my tongue, as not to cuss, as not to scar. I fight the scowl with a smile. I fight the screams so no one hears.
I fight this president, if only in my mind, until the day comes when I can fight with my vote. I fight the sorrow and sadness of so many things out of my control.
I fight money or a lack thereof. I fight the water bill, the cable, and electric. The doctors and the phone. I fight the stacks of paper. I fight the climbing debt.
I fight a tendency for sloth and gluttony and the envy I feel for those who don’t.
I fight my own shortcomings, but sadly, not often enough.
I fight stigmas and ghosts, preconceived notions. The whole lot. I fight what you see and what you don’t. I fight the weight of keeping so much inside.
I fight heartache and loss. I fight the heavy veil of grief.
We’re all fighting these and all the other kinds of small and large battles every single day. Do mine add up to more than yours? I don’t know. I haven’t kept score. All I do know is that we’re all doing it. We’re fighting and battling, we’re waging a war. Against ourselves or others. Against time and angst and a million little trivialities that add up to mountains we all must climb.
I fight, sure. I fight every single day. And you fight too. We all fight in every way, every single day. Mine are no harder, no easier, nor more noble. I’m not more than you. Sure, I fight every single, but I do it just like you.
*Featured image courtesy of Pixabay