I am attempting the Wego Health Activist Writers’ Month Challenge. A post each day in April. So, now that I told you I am going to do it, I oughta follow through, right?
On the occasion of your thirtieth birthday
Dear Mary Fran,
This letter is coming from 1 year 2 months and 7 days ago. Not too long ago, but just long enough ago.
I am hoping a couple things for you by now. First, I hope that someone made you a fabulous gluten-free birthday cake this year. Because, really, birthday cakes make birthdays.
But there are some other things I hope you have learned, and accepted in the past year.
I hope that you have learned how to work with your body.
In case you need it, this is a reminder to love your body, even if it does have some faulty wiring. As I am writing this, you have been sad about losing the ability to run and workout intensely for far too long. It is never going to work the way it did before the pain. So I sure hope that you have moved on. It’s ok not to run. It’s ok not to be able to do Zumba or yoga. I truly hope you have found a way to get your physical strength back now that your spinal cord stimulator fixed.
I hope you have learned how to listen to the signals. If 10 minutes is all you can do on the elliptical, that is ok. I hope you have learned that it is ok to have to prioritize commitments. To not push your body to its breaking point. To have to pick and choose how you socialize so you don’t have to pay the price later.
I hope you have learned how to let people in.
You’ve been struggling with this one for a while, I know. You want MammaCakes to be ok, you’ve seen the worry on her face one too many times. Heard the panic when you call her because you are not ok enough to take a train. And I know that you have spent a long time trying to minimize those moments. But you have got to let people in. You can’t keep telling your friends that is nothing. They deserve the truth. You’ve answered the phone when they have needed someone, and I sure hope by now you have learned that it is ok to need someone else.
I hope you have learned that despite the pain you deserve to be loved.
This is the one that I know you are going to be struggling with for a while. I hope you have stopped thinking that you don’t deserve the kind of love that others do. I hope you haven’t settled again.
Remember how miserable you were in your relationship after the diagnosis?
How talking about the diagnosis was something that was avoided? When your boyfriend would barely hug you after you had your spinal cord stimulator implanted? When he didn’t want to hold your hand when you had an drug pump and tubing coming out of your spine? Or when he never once made it to the hospital even when you asked? And you stayed thinking you didn’t deserve more? That treating you like you were just tolerated when you were in pain was acceptable?
That he was doing you a favor by staying with you when you found out that you would be fighting for your body for the rest of your life.
I hope you haven’t put yourself through that again. I hope you have found someone who treats you so very well. Or if you haven’t, I sure hope you haven’t given up.
Dollface, you deserve someone who loves you, pain and all.
You are on your way to making peace with your illness and finally finding joy as I write this. And I truly hope you have gotten there.
And that you are still making delicious gluten-free baked goods
-Your 28 going on 29 year old self.