“Just what could you be doing for so long on the computer?”
It was an unexpected question, but it was not surprising, especially coming from my mother. It is true that I spend many hours strapped to my laptop, either clicking the mouse or clacking away at the keyboard every day.
So, just what could I be doing?
The simplest answer would be “Communicating.”
I am communicating with the world around me and with myself. I am allowing my voice to travel to places where my legs, at the moment, cannot take me. I am building confidence in my presence in society and my voice. I am reshaping my identity instead of fighting my reality.
My reality is that of being a person with a chronic illness who, despite her desire for it to be otherwise, cannot rely on her body to function at 100%. For whatever reason, something inside me has become knotted and twisted, broken and weary, and likely will never heal. That is just the way it is.
Also, it does not help that I currently live in a small town with limited public transportation, and I dislike driving. Still, living in a small town has its benefits, especially for writing, which is what I have been doing since I returned home. Moreover, it is forcing me to reach out more and be a part of communities, even if they may only be virtual at the moment.
Although having a chronic illness can be an isolating experience, it does not preclude me from understanding and achieving my goals, one of which is to be a published author and poet. My illness is forcing me to deal with my worst enemy: myself.
For most of my life, I have been called an overachiever. I can be obsessive and perfectionistic, but I did not always realize that. I prefer solitude in most aspects of life but am loyal to my associations and make a good team player. My creativity is stifled when I am stressed, and I am prone to high-level procrastination. Without structure and goals, I become self-hindering. In other words, having fibromyalgia has meant dealing with the perceived weaker aspects of my personality.
Fibromyalgia is not just confronting the reality of pain, fatigue, and fibrofog. It puts center-stage your very self. And if you happen to have Type A more than B personality, then having fibromyalgia might cause you to feel a bit like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and landing in an unrelenting and even more nightmarish version of Wonderland.
Still, living in surrealism is not so terrible, if you keep hold of yourself and continue to build self-efficacy, which brings me back to spending a seemingly inordinate amount of time in front of my laptop.
Writing, communicating with others, researching and even watching my favourite cartoon or comedy–all of these things are available to me online. However, the internet has also become my temporary legs to take me to places known and unknown. Through it, I am able to keep my eyes and my world open. I can explore different aspects of self and remain (almost) free from judgement.
Ultimately, it reminds me that there is a world beyond my illness, whether that is a fictional world created through storytelling or the real world filtered through a screen. This mishmash of zeros and ones and bundles of connected wires is allowing me to rebuild myself and to shape my future.
And there is nothing wrong with that. 😉
Until Next Time,