For those of you who don’t know, I was born with bilateral club foot, and after several surgeries, I still have chronic pain and mobility issues. In all basicness, my legs with get really painful or totally numb, and they will just give out, rendering me sprawled on the floor until it subsides (if it subsides). Most days I’m pretty okay, but as I’ve gotten older, mobility has gotten harder and harder, with some pretty significant troubles even on good days.
Today was a bad day.
I was out with some friends playing video games, and my legs were being particularly temperamental. I couldn’t walk at all, even with my friends being ridiculously helpful (on most bad days I can use them as a crutch until the pain and numbness in my legs subsides). The excruciating pain just wasn’t leaving my legs.
My friend can only have one person in the car with her at a time, so whilst she left me on a bench to drop off one of my friends, I broke down in tears.
Almost instantly, I felt extremely guilty, and I’m going to attempt to deconstruct why I felt the way I did.
I don’t know if a lot of people necessarily experience this, but one thing I noticed was that there was this extreme pressure for me to constantly be optimistic, and while I’m not going to deny that being optimistic is definitely beneficial, what bothers me is the fact that the second my optimism wavers, I get a ton of backlash, even from people I know and love.
I don’t think it’s intentional, but it’s often in the form of statements such as “well, it could be worse” or “be thankful you can do _________. Someone would die to be in your shoes”.
I understand that this is well-intended, but what this begins to create is a pressure to be positive all the time, and invalidates other feelings that I may be experiencing, such as frustration. So in turn, when I feel these emotions, I’m immediately met with guilt, as though I needed to feel worse than I already did.
My best friend was my saviour here. After she dropped my friend off, she came back and sat with me as I gathered strength to get in her car. The first thing I remember saying was this:
“I’m sorry you have to see me so negative, but I really can’t be positive right now.”
In that moment, she gave me a weird look and responded with:
“Well, you don’t need to be. This sucks.”
And that’s the kind of response we need in the world right now; we need a world where we regard people with sympathy and understanding. After all, at the end of the day, all we are is giant specks of dust floating in space trying to understand the world around us.
“I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.”