5 years ago I spent about 4 months inconveniently ill. My skin, never particularly strong to begin with, basically turned to tissue paper. I became unable to walk, riddled with abscess infections, golfball sized growths burrowing under my skin. I was continually filled with antibiotics and pain killers. I had almost daily trips to the clinic to have my infections opened and drained. Luckily, I was unemployed and living at my mom’s house at the time. My family took care of me; driving me back and forth to the doctor and paying for my medication.
It wasn’t the best time of my life. I still have scars.
Every so often a new infection starts and I have to spend a couple days treating it. Two days ago I was having trouble walking. Upon investigation I discovered a patch of dry skin that had begun to open up. The beginning of an infection. I weighed my options: take a day off work and try to halt any progress that ended with me bedridden for two weeks or power through and hope for the best.
Obviously I took the day off.
Yesterday I laid in bed, watched craptacular TV, and fielded calls, texts, and emails from work.
Today was picking up the pieces. Apparently, my students managed to get into quite a bit of trouble while I was gone. There were facts to collect, apologies to coerce, children to redirect, parents to appease. It’s my least favorite type of day, because I pretty much phoned-in the academic instruction. Every second was filled, but I just wanted to use the Force and make it go away so I could get on my way.
I think I needed to be sick. You see, I went to a friends’ house warming party on Saturday night. I had a wonderful time, but I left disquieted, a feeling that grew on Sunday and Monday. I felt surrounded by a sadness. Sadness in realizing that I’ve finally reached the point that as an unmarried non-mom, I have little in common with the women I interact with as part of the larger social fabric in my area. With close friends I don’t often feel that distance, but on Saturday I finally saw the lack of common ground between stay-at-home-mother-of-2/3/4/110 and single-overworking-shut-in.
I was angry when I saw that red streak of skin causing me pain. Wasn’t I done with this shit? But all the doctors told me that I would need to manage this condition in the future. I use special soap, try to keep my skin protected from extreme weather, and am careful about the fabrics I wear. The better I regulate my diet, the fewer flare-ups I have. What a pain in the ass, dealing with such an annoying problem.
But there isn’t a cure for your own skin. And there isn’t a cure for not being someone else. Some days no amount of preventative measures are enough and you get sick. Some days you see that your life is different, not better or worse, and you get sad. I easily get ahead of myself, convinced that I’m supposed to be somewhere I’m not. I shouldn’t get sick anymore, I should be sad that I don’t know what it’s like to be loved as a wife and mother. I beat myself up because I’m not “over it” yet.
Yesterday I had no choice but to stop. If I wanted what was best for myself in the long run, I had to accept some immediate frustration and helplessness. I needed the reminder that my life is not a checklist to be completed. There is a process, a work that is both to create and revise. I was losing my patience with the gentle unfolding of God’s plan for me.
I had forgotten that I’m not done yet.
(3 Years and 2 Months Sober)