Just say Fork it!
It is Saturday, and it is Halloween. There was a cold mist all morning, and it has been a cloudy and dreary afternoon. We live out in the country, so I knew we would not have trick or treaters.
I had no reason to leave the house, so I thought it would be a stay-in-the-house-pajama-day. I decided it would be a day of researching, writing, laundry, cleaning the spare bedroom, as well as watching a marathon of The Librarian movies and TV show.
Our Daughter is now too old for trick or treating, but never too old to get dressed up. She was invited to go to a friends house to hand out candy. My husband decided to go fishing for the day leaving the dog, cat, and myself at house alone.
After they both left, I started folding and stacking the laundry on the couch. I have to keep changing what I am doing every 30 minutes or so to keep my body from getting too stiff. I find it is easier for me to do the laundry if I sit on the couch and have the laundry baskets and hangers on the floor in front of me. Besides folding the laundry, I had been researching/writing so I had my computer, notebook, pens, and a blanket by my chair in the living room. I had started cleaning the spare room(dump zone) and going through clothes that needed to be donated to Goodwill, and piled them on top of the kitchen table so that I could bag them all together.
I received a phone call from my husband telling me that my daughter and her friend were on the way over. I called her and said “You do know that I am in my PJ’s, haven’t any makeup on and the house is a disaster because I am working on the laundry. How soon until you are here?” The answer, Soon. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if it was someone that she has been friends with over the past years, but she is a friend that she just started hanging out with this school year. She doesn’t know or understand about my illnesses. She doesn’t know about the fatigue, pain, fog.
I hung up and quickly went into panic mode. I put on a pair of capri-workout pants, a top, and pulled my hair back. I shut the door to the spare room and threw all the Goodwill items into a garbage bag. Just then, I heard the girls laughing as they were knocking on the patio door.
There was nothing else I could do but let them in. My daughter who was dressed as Audrey Hepburn and her friend as Marilyn Monroe came into the kitchen. They were so excited to show me the costumes and have me take pictures. All I could think was “what is this girl thinking about the house?” It wasn’t the first time that she had been here. Every time that she had been there before I had been “put together”, and the house had been picked up.
I looked at my daughter and said “I just want to strangle you ~ bringing a friend here when the house is such a mess”. I then looked at her friend, and asked her if my daughter had told her about my illnesses. She said no, but she did know about my writing. I explained to her that I have been diagnosed with 20 diseases/syndromes and that during the week I am just too tired to do any work around the house so today was my day to do the laundry etc.
I was explaining myself to a 18 year old. Why?
I started to wonder. How many of us find ourselves with unexpected company coming over and then using all of our energy to get dressed, do our hair, make up, and pick up some so that we look “normal”. Afterwards, we end up experiencing more pain and being more tired because we had to rush to get all of these things done. Those of you who know The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino will understand how it takes away so much of our energy for each task we do and how fast we do it.
Do other chronic pain patients do the same thing? Do we care so much about what others think of us that even in our own homes we will put on an “act”? Or is it just me?
I found myself realizing that I was raised that when company was coming over whether planned or surprised, that the house needs to be cleaned and you are not in your pajamas.
There was a time when I had a clean house, made dinners nightly, and would be dressed even on the days that I had no where to go. My house is picked up (not clean like before). Our dinners, because of our daughter’s schedule, are usually “everyone on their own” nights, or my husband will do a skillet dinner or throw something on the grill. This is the real me. The one without the mask.
I don’t hide my illness. I shout about it because I want others to know what it feels like to live with a chronic pain illness (Fibromyal
gia and it’s evil sidekicks). I tell those in my support group to do what is best for them.
I need to learn to stop using all of my spoons to try and hide who I really am when at home,
a Fibro Warrior~Living Life
Just say Fork it!
Melissa Swanson is a chronic pain patient, advocate, and author. Through her Facebook page, she offers positive encouragement, medical information, resources, and support to 10,000+ fibromyalgia and chronic pain patients. In addition to her own blog, Melissa has been published in “Living Well with Fibromyalgia”, the NFMCPA “Advocate Voice.” and is a writer for ProHealth.com. She is a graduate of the 2014 Class of Leaders Against Pain Scholarship Training sponsored by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association and is a member of the Leaders Against Pain Action Network.