A Social Brick: learning again.

I often feel like the only way for me to understand the thoughts in my brain and fully process what I’m feeling is when I can literally read them myself. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about just meeting people in general. As a lot of my life has changed in the past few months and I’ve been put in places where I would once shy from talking to new people out of my own comfort but I am now in a position where I don’t really have a security blanket to hide behind or comfort the strangeness and uncomfortableness of it all. Before I got sick I was always the very energetic, loud, super outgoing human that could start a conversation with anyone,  however after I got sick I became afraid to meet people I was comfortable hiding behind those who knew me and not going out to places with a lot of socialization if I didn’t have to. After a year of being a social brick I realize that I’ve almost forgotten how to be a human in social terms. Meeting and talking to people is a very uncomfortable thing for me, I never know what to say and am often afraid that if I open up to someone too much with my life and what it has become over the past year they will become quick to judge and form assumptions. I guess I have this fear because I now look back and see that I too always formed assumptions of people before ever speaking a single word to them. I fall asleep at night sometimes with the same scenario over and over again playing through my head: me meeting someone new and introducing myself, sometimes the dream goes well and I am able to come off as a normal human that just has slightly different medical needs but then sometimes the dream turns the opposite direction and I am judged and laughed at for having to live in such a complicated way. I’ve always said from the beginning that I’ve never wanted people to feel pity for me, my life is not a pity party by any means I absolutely love the life I have and can’t imagine it any other way. I want people to know that I do struggle and some things are more difficult than others but I’ve never wanted to be the “sad puppy dog”. My life is NOT a sad story. So I guess I struggle with the concept of forming relationships with people who have never met me. It’s very easy for me to be around people that have been in my life for years, they knew me before I was sick, they are able to catch on to when I need the extra help, they pick up on when I’m about to “fall” (literally and not literally sometimes). But for people that have never met me I feel as if sharing who I am turns me into a chore to be around and that’s not who I am, I am a very strong independent person, I am not a pity party, I am not a sad story, I am a happy person that has a body that sometimes tends to fail and hold me back from all I wish to accomplish at times but I am none the less a happy person. I feel blessed to have the small amount of physical strength I do as I continue to get stronger everyday. I think the idea I’m trying to grasp and teach myself is the fact that there are millions of people in this world and wether it’s intentional or not I will run into new people and there’s often no avoiding it but what I’ve gone through and who I’ve become is not defined by the past year of my life. I am not confined to my life of struggles, I do indeed have a life outside of the glass walls of the oh so familiar hospitals. I have been Merideth since day 1 and will continue to be for the rest of my life. Yes, I do things differently now than I might have two years ago, yes I am more reserved and uncomfortable in situations but that alone is not who I am. I’m learning to accept the differences in my life and learn to embrace them. I’m learning to carry myself with confidence. I understand that not everyone on this earth is going to get along with me, and yes I will probably be judged and second guessed more often now then I would have before but that doesn’t have to stop me. I know that truly people will never fully understand what it is like to be in my shoes and that’s okay I will never know what it’s completely like to be in theirs either but they too have something in their lives that is a struggle for them as well wether it seems smaller or much larger than my own. It will take time to adjust and become comfortable in my “new skin” around others but that’s just something I’m going to have to get used to. You would think it’s funny when I say I am more comfortable in my wheelchair than I am on my own two feet but it is very true. When bad days (more difficult than the normal day) come along I often resort to my wheelchair not only for lack of ability but also safety as it can be very dangerous when I fall sometimes. I can honestly say the stares from people when I’m in Bernard (my blue wheelchair) do not bother me at all. Did they at first? Yes of course, people look because there are no casts on my body and I seem completely healthy but over time it started to fade to the point where I just made faces back at the people who look and stick my tongue out at them. Some times I say hi which really catches them off guard. It is easy for me to be myself when in my wheelchair because it is a comfort, a crutch, to aid me in helping people understand that yes I really am not just a good story teller and I do have a crazy thing that also shares a name with kitchenware, and let’s be honest we all thought of it, weed. However when on my own two feet it’s less noticeable I blend in (which is completely what I want) it’s just very difficult to get used to and accept the comfort in myself no matter what. I’m beyond excited for the new school year to begin as always it means new people and that brings the chance for new opportunities but I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t still struggling to understand just how to balance being me but staying in tune to what my body needs at certain times. I find peace knowing that in time I will understand and that some things take patience and in time they too will be okay. I don’t share a lot of my spiritual view on here as I prefer to keep it a platform that isn’t limited or defined by religions but I often find comfort in a certain quote from the bible and I would like to leave it here and end my post with it so that maybe you too, if you are religious can take away from it and if your not well maybe it will inspire you still: “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” -Luke 12:7

3 comments

  1. “However insignificant you may feel in this world, he has your hair counted. While we may see ourselves as dull, boring, even less worthy than those little plentiful grey or brown birds, God sees us as priceless enough to treasure us.” love this Merideth…continue to find your place in this World and soar higher than the most commonplace bird – you are doing this work ever so gracefully. love you and proud of you more and more each day…..

  2. Glad to see the confidence coming back, I was impressed at how outgoing you were with cousin Judy at the Pizza place. Reminded me of the old Meri. I see you getting back into the” swing of things”now keep up the good work , I missed the old Meri so much. Thinking this will be the year for you.
    Gram

  3. Hello! A year has passed since I also have dealt with chronic illness. I have to use a wheelchair for long distances and am scared about the upcoming school year. I also feel excited, but scared. Like you said it’s all about listening to what’s best. The “balance”

    I felt like I could relate to much of what you shared about being a social brick in, and out of the chair. I wish you all the best for the upcoming school year! God bless

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