I think it’s a fair thing to say that the more we get older, the more jaded we get- we have less patience, we have less faith in others, we become more cynical or realistic, depending on your perspective. I think for me, I have definitely become more cynical/realistic with age. Whenever I go through something difficult, I think, why does no one know or feel my suffering? Why does it feel like I am even more isolated and alone? Instead of having faith in others, we fear reaching out because we don’t trust that anyone actually cares, or sincerely cares. I think this is the logical path that people follow that can lead them to such a dark place, to the point of even suicide. At this point, it seems like your life doesn’t count anyway, and it won’t matter.
For me, I get frustrated because in chronic illness, the suffering doesn’t end. It’s not like a cold or a break up where your circumstances may improve eventually; they don’t. You do. Your mind sinks or swims. And then I hide my fears because I’ve had it proven countless times to me that in the end, it seems I am the only one who can fully do anything about what I am going through. Besides my dad and sometimes my mom and a few close friends, I am pretty much alone. Almost no one else is there beside you every second living your life, observing it, experiencing, as much as you, having that strength of endurance. People will enter and leave your life, maybe be a blessing even for the short run, but they can always fade at any given time.
We are all so scared of showing vulnerability, of laying out our cards and letting everyone else judge us, embrace us, or reject us. Especially when we go on social media like Facebook and Instagram, and we are flooded by images of hot, fit bodies, attractive portraits of people laughing, having the time of their lives with their significant other on their vacation, surrounded by friends, or eating delicious food. It is true that the positives and highlights are part of our lives, but they are only a small snapshot of the entire rhetoric. Our whole society encourages us to hide our insecurities and to only portray our best selves, but it isn’t always the whole picture, the whole truth.
I do the same. I only put up pics of my happiest moments of when I look good on Instagram. It does make me feel better to take pride and look at these images and tell myself “Wow, my life is not bad!” It does make me feel more or less validated when I get many likes. But I also wish to be brave enough to allow myself to receive likes on my ugliest, saddest, most depressing snapshot of my life- even more so, I want to be brave enough to be okay with no likes if that’s what happens. I may be afraid of judgment, or of dragging down other people’s happiness- but so what? We gotta inject some sincerity and realism in what’s really going on in our lives, to show others our scars so that they can be more accepting and forgiving of theirs.
People don’t see me through the moments where doctors discuss my life span and ask deep cutting questions like “Have you ever had suicidal thoughts” and me, reluctantly admitting “yes.” People don’t see me when I wake up in the morning and count the amount of meds I daily pop into my mouth or inhale. People don’t see me when I am at home, physically and mentally too tired to complete simple tasks like laundry. I fight everyday to live a fraction of energy and memories that others take for granted.
Maybe part of this is my fault, for not being more open, and for withholding part of the truth, I actually get more judged than not, because people see a “normal” young woman abusing a handicap sign, people see my beaming grins on my Insta, and people see me when I am trying my absolute best to participate happily in life.
I guess for me, faced with the morality of my being, and always reminded of how small of a drop of water I am in the ocean, I keep questioning, how do I make my life count? It is not going to last forever, but that is out of my hands.
What I wish, is for people to think more on this question, on how they impact others, and to be part of a greater plan for us all to have faith that if we fall, the ones around us care enough to catch us, as cheesy as that metaphor is. To come to terms with our true selves and the imperfection we are- taking pride in our strengths, accepting our flaws and vowing to work on improving them. So that we give encouragement and faith to others, and in turn can let ourselves fall in faith. Knowing that we are trying our best, even if that’s not what it looks like, even when others tell us we are crying wolf and victimizing ourselves, them telling us we’re fine, but us knowing for ourselves that we are not okay, and knowing that continuing to do our best is okay, it is enough.