One random day before tucking into a film, I checked my emails and received a shock. Brandon was upstairs making popcorn with salt and a butter (substitute). Something completely unexpected happened. To put this into context, since becoming chronically ill and disabled I only have emails from receipts of purchase, businesses or spam. My phone never rings and the landline receives only scam calls. This is not obscure for the chronically ill, it is our common experience. Now, getting back to my inbox which contained the name of a person from my past. A random email out of the blue, that might as well have been spam or junk. Let me explain.
In the current year of 2022, I am an artist who lives with chronic illness and disability. The person I was in the past, is gone. Not my choice, that is a choice my body made for me when I contracted a virus from another person. Now I am living with an unhealed virus inside of me that mutated and highjacked my cells. The first thing one must do living with chronic illnesses and disability is accept this into ones life. In order to do this you start anew, what was the past is that. You no longer are that person, all those cells I once had in my body have mutated. To live with chronic illness means living in the present, from one moment to the next.
Hence, when I received an email from a name of the past, the email really isn’t for me. My name is the same, the email account continues to be mine. However, I am not the same person with the name and email from 4 years ago. I have no interactions with my former self. Nothing.
I once declared early in the onset of my illness that people I once knew are simply awaiting me to get better. Like pressing play on a boombox, things will just continue after a very long pause. People don’t know what to say or how to interact with the chronically ill. Furthermore, people don’t understand chronic illnesses and the simple fact that the ill person is not of ability to do anything which they may have done in the past. It is foreign like a far off language that other people have no interest in learning. In fact, I believe it scares them, they are fearful of chronic illness and especially disability.
Therefore, I let my past go several years back now. If you have been with me on my journey then you know me now. If you took time to reach out with a card or email, then you know me now. If you simply dropped me when I literally lost my life, you don’t know me now. I have very few memories from the past few years other than pain and suffering. If you were with me through pain and suffering, you know me. I simply don’t have the physical energy within me to catch people up with my traumatic goings on over the past few years. As well, I don’t have the physical energy to deal with being dropped once again once a person learns of the life I live with chronic illness and disability.
I have been making lots of like minded friends in my new journey. In fact, I began a call out for pen pals this year which has been super exciting and successful. I reached my capacity rather quickly. I have domestic, U.S and International pen pals to write to. I look forward to getting to know these sensational woman better through written correspondence. Such fun!
It has also been my experience that friends have places in our lives, like chapters. A friend in chapter 1 is not likely a person you can relate to in chapter 5. The being playing with primary coloured wooden blocks on the carpet of a nursery school is not the same human being who is beginning to paint at mid life. Most of the friends I played blocks with in nursery school have nothing in common with a middle aged artist.
With that said my writing is done for now. My thoughts have been said. I feel peace once again. And on the cusps of beginning my fiftieth year of life in what may be Chapter 5, I am super excited to get the creative flow moving forward in my studio. Time to bring in the love and happiness to this new year. Time to bring peace, love and happiness into my days through paint and brush.
May you find peace, love and happiness in your days.