‘Sometimes, apart of being strong means knowing when to be weak’.
This is something I tend to say to myself a lot, and occasionally to others. This is my go to quote on the days the tears don’t stop pouring, and the frustration I’ve stored for however long it may be, wants to break free and scream.
I used to get angry. I still do as a matter of fact. Frustration builds, brick by brick till it has you round the throat. I used to get angry at the world, at the doctors and at myself. Never did my anger turn violent or harmful, instead it just turned into crystal tears that’d fall to my pillow at night. But then I felt weak.
I never felt completely justified to cry. What I went through and still go through everyday is horrific; mentally, physically, emotionally. It takes a toll on every part of you and after a while you just seem to accept that that’s that and that sucks. Even lying in bed, unable to walk and too weak to even get dressed by myself at 13 years old, I felt weak for letting it get to me. I should be better than this I thought. I know, that’s absurd but what can I say?
Its catch 22 though. I tried not to cry and scream and shout, and I kept a lot locked away from everyone. I remember sitting at the end of my bed, not crying, not talking, just staring at my hands and wondering if this is all my life would ever consist of. Pain and jealously for those who had it all. I was 13 and stupid and way over my head, yet I did not allow myself to cry. I just felt numb.
It’s always been an issue for me. I can pour my heart out and cry at Angry Birds but I cannot cry for me. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m at my most vulnerable and my shield is down. I don’t know whether it’s because I feel stupid and weak for letting something I’m so used to, getting to me. I don’t know whether it’s because if I cry, if I stop fighting for one second, I fear I’ll drift further than ever from my dreams.
I was told my many people when I got ill ‘you should be thankful, there’s so many people worse off than you’ or ‘count yourself lucky its not cancer’. I appreciate everything in my life, every single damn thing I have, can do and will do. I can do a lot despite my limits and restrictions but I also have the right to be upset about the things I don’t have and cant do. Better yet, I have the right to be upset about pain being a constant, never ending factor in my life till the day I draw my very last breathe. I have the right to get upset because while you were telling me I should be thankful, another minute of what should of been the start of my teenage years, passed with myself being in a wheelchair. I am grateful, I appreciate the smallest things in life, the smallest and the biggest, but I can be upset.
Only if 13 year old me knew that. The ‘you should be thankful’ is what I suppose started it off for me. I didn’t feel justified to cry because I should be thankful instead, so I stored it away (for the most part) and waited patiently for the explosion at the end of it all. Boy, did it go boom.
I however, am thankful. I am thankful of my up bringing because it set me up for what I thought could never be done.
I fight, every day and every day I will fight till the battle is over. What I’ve realised over the time span of being ill, is that I am strong. I am stronger than I or anyone thought I could be. I am a fighter and I have been always. I will never give in, its not in my nature to do so. I will take back control of my life, and I will do it will all my strength. I am strong.
My fight is never ending, forever testing my mental ability to stride forwards. My fight is never ending, I will always feel pain and frustration. I will always feel the bad side of life, the side we think will never happen to us. I don’t plan to suffer from my circumstances and I don’t plan on ever stopping. I have learnt I can cry while fighting, I can scream, shout, punch, kick and swear my way to the finish line BECAUSE I WILL NEVER STOP FIGHTING.
It’s okay to cry, I am aloud to feel weak. To fight is to constantly push and struggle, something most people don’t experience till they’re somewhat prepared for it. My life hasn’t even begun yet I am stronger than most adults. To cry means I’m trying, to cry means I feel and to cry means I’m pushing back. To cry means I’m trying through all the pain, and I will not be beaten.
I know I am strong and I don’t have to prove that to anyone. Being strong is pushing with all your might, but being strong also means knowing when you need a rest, to take a step back, breathe and prepare for the ongoing battle that is your body. I have realised, I am not weak to cry. I am strong by allowing myself to break, allowing myself to feel and allowing myself to breathe. I am allowed to feel weak and vulnerable, it takes a certain amount of strength to realise that in order to carry on, that’s what you need. To allow yourself to be vulnerable and in a place you could possibly appear weak is a braver act than many. I am strong because I know when to be weak, when to brush off the tears, get back up and laugh. As long as I always get back up, I will never be weak.
I am not a victim to my illnesses.
I am not a victim to my circumstances.
I am not a victim.
I can cry.
I can scream.
I will not give up.
I am not a chronic illness sufferer.
I am a chronic illness fighter.
And fight I will.