I haven’t talked about it much because it’s a real bummer. For me frankly. I’ve had to live through it, so I haven’t exactly been eager to relive it and think about it enough to write something about it.
And it’s a bummer for other people, too. It’s so easy to not realize other people are struggling with things. And it can be so painful to know someone you care about (or sometimes even someone you don’t, don’t even know all that well) is struggling with something. And that there’s nothing you can do about it.
I think that’s part of why if you talk about health stuff in public that people will be quick to give low-hanging-fruit suggestions about self-care. And the more info you give them about your condition, the more copious and specific this gets.
It’s uncomfortable I know. But not every illness is preventable. Sometimes your body full-on betrays you. And managing a condition will be imperfect. It happens.
Anyway, the past five years or so I’ve had some big health challenges. A pile of mild to moderate chronic issues. Some of them make the other ones worse.
Yes, I have good care. Yes, I do a great job managing it. But it doesn’t magically make me better.
And yes, I know I could have it worse. I used to work transcribing medical charts, I’m well aware how sick and unlucky other people can get. Powerfully aware.
Anyway, I do my best managing it. I do think it’s part of why I haven’t actively dated in forever. Anyone new I’ve seen has just kind of shown up randomly when I wasn’t seeking anyone out.
And I was confronted with strange feelings the last time someone confessed a strong interest in me. It created a blind panic, cognitive dissonance to a much higher degree than I’ve ever experienced.
The reason why, I think, is because I don’t feel sexy. And I haven’t felt sexy in a long time now.
And if I take a second and look over my journals and really contemplate when this pattern cropped up, it’s related to chronic illness. I felt betrayed by my own body. And I don’t trust my physical body as much as I used to. It’s been hard to be in my body lately — let alone imagine it as something desirable to other people.
The funny thing is… that I’ve felt this way for a while, but it’s definitely been something I didn’t want to admit to myself. And I’ve been scared about talking about it too, especially with partners. Because the last thing I wanted to do was come off whiny (which can be unattractive to other people, I know) or to draw a lot of attention to the unpredictable state of my body.
But you know… I’m tired of this entire pattern. I think it’s time to admit to myself how I feel. Because shame lives in the shadows. And I don’t want to be stuck there anymore.