“Talking to you is rooting in a sense. The circumstances of Covid but also things I’ve been through the past years changed me in a way I don’t always like. Last night’s talk threw me back to a time and place where I belonged and gives me hope that I’m still in there; I am not lost.”
I pressed “send” and felt overwhelmed by emotion. What was it? It wasn’t sadness… it felt… innocent. It felt pure and naïve and undeniable. I let it be.
That same day, I was wondering why I was getting irritated by people being people, saying things people say, why I wanted to roll my eyes so hard I would fall over backwards to make the obvious point they were being annoying. That wasn’t me. When had I become that?
After sending my message, I realised I hadn’t. I hadn’t changed. I just couldn’t recognise myself.
But people did.
It had rung a bell that afternoon when someone I’ve gotten close to at work told me that one thing she knew about me was that I genuinely cared about others. Those were the exact words used by another beautiful soul last summer. Quite the unusual compliment, it wasn’t coincidence; it was synchronicity.
It took me to text that I wasn’t lost to realise that people still managed to find me. It took me to write it down to understand that my not recognizing myself in the mirror had taken a spin I hadn’t been conscious of.
On the 31st of December, I started a basic treatment. Not sure if the diagnosis is correct but the core of the problem is finally taken care of. I now look at my reflection and smile in recognition. “Hey, there!”
People thought they were being nice when they said “You don’t look sick”. People should know that that is the last thing someone who is chronically ill and undiagnosed wants to hear. Tell them they’re pretty if you want to play the compliment card but don’t tell them they look healthy. Not only does it invalidate their pain, but chances are changes are so subtle only themselves and their mothers can see them.
For months, I only had small windows of opportunities, a few days here and there, when I would catch a glimpse of me in the mirror and actually see myself. My face would be normal again and I would think “There I am!”
I had no idea it had lasted that long. I knew I did not like what I saw but it’s only now, now that I see my “normal” face every time I look in the mirror, now that I recognize myself every day, that I am aware of how dissociative the whole experience was.
So much happened in the past couple of years, so much drama, so many tragedies, I have been wanting to add a subtitle to my story lately: I swear, I am not actually like that, for new acquaintances not to comment “There’s always something happening to her”.
I hadn’t linked all instances. I hadn’t seen how tightly they all were intertwined. I could not recognise myself but it was not just my face, it was (still is) my body, my personality. I swear, I am not actually like that.
I was not lost, I was blurry. It seems I am getting back to being who I love to be… Clearly me.