Days of weakness. Days of strength.
“Tu sei debole,” my Italian professor says pointedly to me. “Io sono forte. Quindi io vinco e tu perdi.”
It is a discussion on verismo and positivismo–the idea that we are what we are until we die and that there is nothing we can do to change it.
Fibromyalgia is the body that will not rise, even when the mind commands it; the mind that will not rest, even when the body requires it; the emotions that rage; the emotions that calm–the pendulum of the self that swings wildly with the change of the weather…the change of the seasons.
Fibromyalgia is the body that overcomes pain, even when the mind surrenders to it; the mind that overcomes suffering, even when the body submits to it; the thoughts that beseech; the thoughts that concede–the pendulum of the self that settles slowly with the transformation of self-perception…the formation of self-acceptance.
“I am a person who has a chronic illness,” I say to myself and others. “Fibromyalgia and I are not one and the same.”
My professor is staring at me. He can see that my movements are slow. I am in pain. It takes me a long time to rise from my seat, to pick up my books, to pick up my coat, to put my bag on my shoulders. It is not a good day. There have not been many good days since late autumn.
“Is it always like this?”
Shamefacedly, I raise my eyes to meet his. “Often enough these days.”
I have no excuses. I have learnt well enough by now that people will judge you as they will–but he isn’t judging me–and if the judgement is harsh, then you can only apologise for having disappointed–but he isn’t disappointed in me–and move on.
“Have you ever written about it?”
“I have tried in the past.” The question is not unfamiliar. Indeed, it was only a little over a year ago that another professor from the Creative Writing Program made the same inquiry. “I decided to take some space from it.”
It is momentary, the dance of excitement that control his features before coming to an abrupt halt. Here is an opportunity. I know it is an opportunity.
My mind already understands the words that have yet to be spoken to me. My mind has already resolved itself to the task that is to be required of me. My body feels heavier than before, the skin and flesh of my chest press too much against the bones that encase my lungs. My body feels more alive than before, my shoulders and my head are relieved of some invisible burden.
“Whenever you cannot be here,” he says before continuing to gather his things. “I want you to write about it. Write about your fibromyalgia.”
In this moment, he is teaching me something I had once learnt, seemingly long ago. He is teaching me that self-acceptance is a dynamic process that evolves from self-confrontation.
It is time once again to look in the mirror.
Thank you again to those of you who continued to visit my blog even though I have not posted in some time. More recently, I have been struggling with my FMS symptoms and have had to prioritize the tasks I needed to accomplish during each day. As such my writing fell temporarily to the wayside. I have decided to dedicate my blog writing to dealing with topics related to FMS until the end of May (which is the FMS Awareness month), including reviewing books as well as activities/tools that have helped and are helping me in my process.
Until Next Time!
- How Exercise Fits In to Fibromyalgia Treatment (everydayhealth.com)
- Fibromyalgia Pain During Your Period (everydayhealth.com)
- Hoping for a New Beginning (lbwebb.wordpress.com)
- Fibromyalgia prevalence at 2.1 percent of general German population (eurekalert.org)
- How to deal with people who think fibromyalgia is not a disease (fibromyalgiacareblog.com)
- Fibromyalgia Week Roundup – Fibro Awareness (cinderellasglasspr.wordpress.com)
- What Is Fibromyalgia? (drpattyschronicintractablepainandyou.wordpress.com)