Aphrodite was considered to be the most beautiful goddess in the heavens. The type of woman that wars were fought over and for. Yet, her figure was not size zero. She was not the type of woman who chose discomfort over the pleasures in life. Perhaps that’s what beauty is about, not size but the strength to love what you do. To have no regrets with the small life that we have and that, to me, is beautiful.
I have a chronic illness. To me that used to be a death sentence because, to me, not living my life the way I wanted was nothing to live for. It took everything out of me.
At the worst time in the process of being diagnosed I couldn’t help but feel that guilt that comes with making my family watch me go through what felt like a slow death. My mind got so dark I thought that everyone’s lives would get better if I disappeared. I knew that that wasn’t accurate and that would lead to them being more hurt than not. I knew that all my thoughts were not those of my own mind but those of being lost, discouraged, and the feeling that it was never going to end.
My life went from having a social life and going on adventures, celebrating graduating high school, and having fun with my friends to sleeping 14 hours a day, not being able to walk on my own, and constantly having to be supervised. The transition happened within a week and the cure was lost on my many doctors confused lips. The loss of independence hit me harder than any fall I took or seizure that I had. I no longer had the ability to go through all that a regular 18 year old should. I was on the couch and was supervised by my mom day and night for three months. I could barely eat and walking was harder.
The walls moved, jumping out at me and I hadn’t slept in my own bed in what seemed like forever.
The only socializing I got to do was with my doctors which was occupied with repeating the same symptoms and taking test after test. The prickles of needles never got easier even when I got on a first name basis with the techs. The heart monitor stickies were no longer foreign but a regular accessory that never seemed to wash off fully. The head scans that had once been a scary endeavor changed into a sleeping opportunity.
I experienced the symptoms for two years. Went a year before they were completely dabilitating. Was a year and three months before I thought about getting a wheelchair. A year and half with no answers and what appeared to be no friends left. It was a month short of two years when I was finally diagnosed and attending college.
I will never say that it was or is easy to go through any of this. Chronic illness will never be something that I’m glad I have, but it will be the thing that I am the proudest of surviving- not just physically.
I finished my first term of college and get to sleep in my own bed tonight, and for now that is more than enough.
My tongue is cotton.
My voice; a swallows whisper. I sit in worry as I try to get the words out. If my voice was blood that dripped with the life it held, I would be pale and empty.
What world is it that my veins are pure and unwavering. That I am alive like the laugh I try to stifle. What world is it that with every word that gets past my cotton tongue it is heard and understood.
I hold my cotton tongue as he holds me. I fear that the day my cotton tongue is wrung out is the day he decides to leave. I feel as though the world has given me so much and taken it away without wavering, so how can I know it wont do the same with him.
So I ask myself “what are you so scared of young one when you have so much to be thankful for?” and with my cotton tongue I rasp out “I have too much to be thankful for not to be in fear of it slipping from me.”
I worship no man, instead it is the peace that you have shown me that is the gospel to which I pray. My rosary beads are not the soft wood that others hold, it is your hand that I cling to my chest counting your thumbs caress. No it is not a church that I go to for guidance, but the sweet embrace that your words hold. I look at the speck of white that some hold on their collar and I cant help but wish it was replaced with the sight of your flannel, it seems that your flannel is more honest than that small speck of white.
I begged and pleaded for understanding and strength from an empty church pew, screaming at an empty cross that never seemed to have taken my sins like it did the others. Pray those sad thoughts away, pray away your heart and future, pray until it feels like a better day, I had yet to experience those kinds of days. I was punished for things I had yet to commit for a life I had yet to live. I left those with bitter breathe from sour wine and plastic skin, from those lies and hidden sins.
I lay listening to your heart, holding you against my chest safe and sound. Your heart a hymn to the lost and found, the most melodious of sonnets.
I pray to no man, I worship no being, but your sweet laugh would make anyone believe in something bigger than themselves.
You are my compuss through the storm, the light at the end of the tunnel.
I have no control over the waves that crash upon the shore, or the rumble of its greatness. I hold no power over which grains of sand it takes under its liquid wings, how the wind will ruffle my hair no matter how many times I try to hide from it.
I only rule the breathes that I can take, inhaling it’s fervour. The only command that I hold is revelling in its authority.
So today I will run with the waves and not away from them. I will flow with the sands, not against the grain. The wind will no longer be an enemy but the sweetest of kisses along my skin. My heaven will be found in holding my arms out embracing all that it has to offer, wanting to hold the storm it carries under my own skin. I wish to be the strength that rumbles under its surface claiming as much as it gives back.
And I figured out that sometimes life doesn’t have to fall apart for you to.
I know you’re scared and frustrated. The future is so uncertain much like your relationships. I’m sorry I couldn’t have prepared you better for all that you will go through. I wish some things could have been easier for you to witness. I am proud of you though. Of all that you have come out of alive and ready for whatever wishes to pierce your skin. You built yourself a suite of armour I wish you would let a few others into. But I am proud of who you have kept out.
They started calling it a gift when I was in 4th grade. I liked it then; being called “gifted”. It wasn’t until high school that it dug under my skin like a palette knife.
This isn’t a gift…This is not a gift. This is ripped paper and frustration.. It’s an idea that you can’t get out of your head. It’s a competition with yourself, its an itch out of reach and a scream that isn’t loud enough. It is paint in my hair. Charcoal stained fingertips and pencil tear streams. I was told I was born with a “gift” but that’s not how I see it. I see the behind the scenes not just the finished product. They don’t seem to notice the struggle that I have within myself. The constant need to get what is in my head out. Tortured artist doesn’t say enough anymore. It’s a cliche that lives within the walls of my soul that refuses to leave. This water warped paper caused by anger… its and impulse that crawls within my skin scratching its way out, in hopes of seeing light…but they say its a “gift” that I was born this talented. But they completely ignore what came in between my birth and now. Like I came out of the womb with a work of art ready to present…its not their fault that I can’t see the things they do, it’s not. The only way to make them understand is to show them, that with every masterpiece my soul calms. But it is only with those masterpieces that it is blissful. I didn’t make a deal with the devil, and God sure as hell didn’t bless me. This all came from the hope that one day the world won’t seem to live within me, Pressing up against me… suffocating me. No this isn’t a gift. There is no return policy. No sending it back.