Most of us who live with chronic illness become very creative when it comes to coping. Perhaps we have an “alter ego,” in the shape of a stuffed teddy bear or other inanimate object, and vent our frustrations on it instead of our loved ones. Or, perhaps we have a favorite color and “trick out” our canes, walkers, or sun protective clothing accordingly. Maybe your voice mail greeting is your “creative turf,” or perhaps, like me, you enjoy wearing different colors and styles of wigs depending on your mood.
These and other coping mechanisms might seem odd to others, but we know that they help us through our days (especially our really bad days), and thus we can go about our days and nights with better moods.
But, sometimes, as we cope, we might get odd looks. Sideways glances. Or, head shakes and the dreaded, “Really?!” We know what these folks are thinking. “Is he/she cracking up?” “Is it too much for him/her?” “Doesn’t he/she realize how serious the situation is?”
I will admit that we need to take our illnesses seriously. But we also cannot let our health conditions rob us of what makes us uniquely us – and we cannot allow any amount of skepticism take away the spirit and humor that helps us, indeed, that often sustains us. We can and should express ourselves, let our imaginations soar, and plumb the depths of the creativity and other wonderful qualities that make us who we are.
So, don’t worry about standing out in a crowd. Dare to be you. I’ll dare to be me.
Who knows? Together, and individually, we just might start a trend!
Blessings for the day,