It may surprise many people, and it certainly surprised me, but there are a few deeply positive things that can come from being chronically ill!
Before you go running off looking up words like hypochondriac and the like please allow me to explain…
I checked my email this morning and as the usual junk emails dropped in I started deleting the nuisance ones and sending them to internet hell, I began to realize something quite profound and it goes like this… Amongst my daily emails and spam I could see their subject lines all leaping out at me. Thing like BE A SUCCESSFUL POWER WOMAN, TODAY! And ARE YOU AT YOUR BEST YET? … And my old favorite HOW TO STAY THIN OVER 30… followed closely by … HAVE YOU GOT IT ALL YET? [WE] CAN SHOW YOU HOW… and then, finally, HAVE THE BEST SEX AND FEEL YOUR MOST SEXUAL!
all these emails represented the very forces that used to drive most of my life before I got this ill. I realized that as I now go about my day to day fight none of these things have the slightest bit of significance to me anymore!
I have learned something a little deeper about each of these topics. Things like…
The Power Woman: I don’t see the power woman as being this larger than life, successful business woman/persona with a huge bank account, gorgeous children, godlike partner, a Ferrari and a tight body. Nope. I see the power in every woman now. Every woman that keeps fighting on to live life and be loved for who she is.
Being The Best: the best person I can be now is someone who I like, not one that everyone else my like or want to be. I am looking for and finding her much more easily now than I did before I was this sick.
Having It All: Having it all doesn’t make us better or happier, nor do I think it is even possible or necessary. I don’t wake up looking for things to have but looking for hope and believing that finding love and peace Is having it all. I am getting closer, slowly.
People often confuse success with excess. I know I did, and still do sometimes. But it’s like a picture that is becoming clearer to me, thanks to being ill.
The Skinny Girl Diet: I often marvel at some of the sh*t I am sent to body shame me into buying something, or making someone else rich off of my lack of self esteem or low body image. It’s never ending! Since I am often too ill to read or watch some of the propaganda that comes pouring in through the internet (and many other sources) I find I don’t spend as much time self loathing and looking for cellulite and wrinkles. Sure I know they are there, but is it worth obsessing about?
Simply put, when I am crying with pain and straining in agony I don’t look down and see if my thighs are the right size.
The Best Sex: I always start by saying that I can’t speak for others, so of course what I am going to write here is solely about my experiences, so here goes…
I have had my share of sex and had varying degrees of sexual satisfaction in my lifetime. I don’t consider myself an authority, but I believe I now know what sex means to me. Years ago sex was a way of discovering who I was and gauging how desirable I might be. Today is very different. Like night and day. Today I value intimacy above all other things. I look for a deeper respect, emotional and intellectual understanding behind the act and I have come to see it as an expression of how much someone is committed to me and my life. No matter how difficult it can be at times.
Especially since at this point in my life sexual contact means varying degrees of pain for me, I invest a lot of love and giving into each intimate moment. The pain reminds me of what it is I am prepared to go through for love. And isn’t that a big part of love? Doesn’t it take us to places we would never know and through pains we could never understand unless we surrender ourselves to it? Sure there are things we can do to try and minimize our pain and risk in life, but the person who truly loves us will also appreciate us and respect us for our pain and sacrifices.
Since being sick sex is no longer gauged my sea life by how often it have sex or by how colorful my sex life can be, it has far more meaning and significance now. The BEST sex I can hope to have now is where I feel connected, valued, important and understood. I yearn for experiences where with someone who truly knows me in every possible sense (mind and body) and wants to stay in touch with that.
I will also admit that when my health started to decline I did worry that my partner would also lose sexual interest and therefore love for me, like so many of the relationships of my past, but I forced myself to confront these fears and to speak openly about these things. I admitted that I feared that I wouldn’t be able to satisfy someone sexually anymore and this is a courageous act that I wouldn’t have done before I got sick. I would have just let myself slip into nothing and never given myself a chance to see sex in completely different ways. Ways in which no email or lingerie catalog will ever understand or sell you.
So as I deleted 99.9% of my daily email I realized that from all the junk and rubbish I may have encountered through life with illness and my life with this email account, that there is still some good stuff to be found.