I’m here to make another installment to my Life Lessons section, but this time, with the words of a very special guest blogger. And I don’t say very special because they are well-known, famous, or something like that. But they are, in my opinion, one of the most amazing people to exist. My dear friend–who has a birthday today, no less!–who has impacted my life in more ways than I could count, wrote this several days ago, and I thought it was way too important not to share (especially since they agreed to write something for you all sometime this year!).
I’m really tired of “not talking about your illness” equaling “being a stronger person.” No. It is healthy to talk about what you are going through.
Illness is not something to be shoved away and ignored like it is dirty and shameful. No. Illness, disability, old age, and dying are a part of life. It is natural. It has been with us forever.
Every single human being that has ever lived has dealt with it in some fashion. Every single human being has died, or will die. If they live long enough, those still among us will will watch a loved one die. They will get older. They will encounter disability in themselves or others. They or somebody they love will get sick.
For me, it would be unhealthy not to talk about something so inevitable and universal.
I talk about my illness. I am sure it makes some people uncomfortable and has driven some people away. But it affects nearly all of my life right now, and I see no reason to pretend like it does not.
— the author of Black Cat Saturdays
No one should be made to feel like they have to deny a part of themselves or a crucial part of their life in order to win the affection and/or acceptance of another. As with anything in life, it’s all about balance. We have to find a middle ground between talking about what we are going through, honestly, and yet not being consumed by it. I know people on both extremes–those who never talk about it, and those who talk about absolutely nothing else. It is detrimental either way. The person who never talks about it–perhaps to keep people around, not make others uncomfortable, or stay in denial about their own circumstances–ends up feeling cheated, abandoned, and can lose self-respect. The person who talks about nothing else, forgets who they are entirely, and sees themselves only as “the person with such-and-such disease.”
But we are more than sick, or disabled, or terminally ill. We still exist, and we still have purpose and love to share. But in order to get to that place, we have to realize–and hopefully be accompanied by people who realize this, too–that we are also people who have to grieve in a healthy manner, who have to express ourselves as we go through this part of life, and it’s not our job to make sure everyone else stays comfortable while we do it.
As written above, we will all go through these things at some point. It’s just that we, who are already going through it, simply don’t have the time or extra energy to spend worrying about someone else’s opinion of how much we’re “allowed” to share before they feel inconvenienced…
♥ a rainbow at night & black cat saturdays
I feel the need to share again: “The Silence of the Dying,” by the Sara Douglas.