I recently told someone I was too romantic to cut my grass on a regular basis.
– I love it when it is outgrown and fluffy. When I say “I’m romantic”, I mean it in the literary sense. Romanticism, with nature representing the character’s state of mind. I realised yesterday that my garden echoes the chaos in my head.
He smirked. He thought I used it as an excuse not to mow my lawn. I did not care: he did not really know me nor could I imagine him with a Brontë in his hands.
I had not willingly left the grass take over, I just could not cut it. I knew the instant exhaustion and delayed pain it meant. I had chosen not to care about the mundane and trivial, the same way I did not care if someone I had just met did not grasp my metaphors, the complexity of my self-reflecting, the depth of my chains of thoughts – yes, all of that is in the grass metaphor.
Still, my lawn needed some attention and I gave it mine. As expected, two nights later, I woke up engulfed in pain. I waited it out but something had changed. I did it serenely. I had decided to push that little dark cloud that had been following me around. I had started to care again and my first step was to find in my mirror what most see when they look at me: a healthy person.
“You don’t look sick” could be taken as a compliment but not when it means your aching is invisible. Not when you feel you are carrying your own weight on your shoulder, when you walk as if against a constant gush of wind, when you cannot get up as soon as you wake up because your body decided it needed at least half an hour to follow suit. Not when you feel the inflammation of an inexistent injury. Not when you do not know what the bleep is wrong with you.
But all that didn’t matter two days after I had mowed my lawn because I was only days away from seeing the rheumatologist to talk about the results of all the exams and analysis; I was only days away from a possible answer. Also, I had been to the hairdresser the day before and after a few months of looking frightened in its freeze, my hair finally looked healthier; how I had missed that person in the mirror.
Finally, my dark cloud was named: fibromyalgia. Let’s not be Shakespearean about it this once. There is something in this name: there is knowledge. I finally know what I am dealing with. I finally know what it is that caused the downward spiralling. I finally know I am not crazy.
I effing love knowledge.
I will pace myself, unlike this morning. I did too much… but I will not dread anymore.
I will not postpone but reorganize.
The last time I had cleaned my windows, I had not been my thorough self: you could see where the rag had been on the front door window. Every time I saw it, I would think “I should take care of that” but it was on my way out or on my way in and as soon as I would cross the threshold, I would forget.
Today, I pushed my shoulders too much but I will not mind the pain and exhaustion: as I closed my now clean door window, the sun hit it. I walked away and looked back to the new kind of light seeping in my hallway.
“That murky window was me” I thought, and smiled.