What We Don't Let Others See

I don't look sick. I'm teaching a class...while trying not to puke.
As someone with a chronic illness, I know most of my limitations. If I do too much in the morning, I'm not doing anything after 2pm. If I do too much in the evening, I will feel like I had the best work out of my life, but in a painful way, the next morning.

Yet, I'm active. As active as I can be. I get tired easily, though.

Case-in-point: I had a rough day yesterday. The news about the death of a friend hit me really hard. I didn't want to parent - I wanted to be left alone to process my feelings. However, one kid needed to go to Occupational Therapy and I had to drag the other along with him. It was exhausting. I had to rest when I got home before meeting some family for dinner.

That doesn't sound like stuff that should be exhausting but it is.

A post on The Mighty got me thinking. There's so much stuff we share within our community of similar people that we don't share online for various fears. Those fears are anything from judgement that we look tired to judgement that we're lying about how much pain we're in because we're smiling in a picture.

I mean, c'mon people. Haven't you ever faked it until you made it? I do it all the time. Every day.

But I don't share everything online. My friends know I'm sick but I only post it online when I have a point to make. My husband - well, he sees me every day. He deals with the good and the bad. Yet, it kills me when he says things like "you've been feeling really good lately!" But, no. I haven't. I'm just sucking it up, trying to get stuff done. I put on my fake smile, hop in the pool or hammock with the kids, hoping the pain, nausea, and annoyance of it all will pass. I suck it up for him and for them.

I don't like others to see me this way. So I suck it up.

But I don't want to hide away. It gives way to unrealistic expectations from others. I don't like that. But sometimes it's easier to put on a brave face.


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