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Who am I? - An anonymous submission
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to talk about yourself or answer questions about what your interests are, what you do in your spare time etc.? I think most of us have at some point.
I’ve never much enjoyed talking about myself, I’d much rather hear about other people, but at least I did have a number of things I could talk about! My interesting job which I was passionate about. The worldwide travels I had been on with family, friends and by myself. My enthusiasm for standing up for things that mattered to me and what I believed to be right. Or maybe the latest charity challenge I had taken on, skydiving anyone?! The list goes on. I knew who I was. I don’t say these things to brag, I have come to recognise the privilege I had on many levels to be able to do these things. I tell you this to give a picture of who I was before chronic illness hit.
I find myself in these situations far less now (chronic illness and Covid-19 have a lot to answer for), but on those rare occasions I do, I have nothing to say.
It’s a tumbleweed moment.
Outside of my illness I don’t know who I am anymore.
“Oh, I love nature and exploring new places”, I go to say, but then stop. Is that still true? I don’t get out much anymore, it requires planning. Are there benches for me to rest? Is it flat? Can someone come with me? Will they understand I can’t race off like I used to or be out for hours? Can I get home? What impact is it going to have on my body for the rest of the day? Or week? Or month?
Ok, another topic…? TV? “Have you watched..?” “Hang on”, I think, “I mostly watch things I’ve watched before. They’re safe, they require less energy to follow and there’s no surprises that might set me on edge or emotionally drain me.”
How about current affairs? All those things I passionately stood up for before? I still believe in them, but I don’t always have the energy to articulate my thoughts or challenge somebody about their opinion. My quest to become zero waste is hampered by my need for ready meals on those days symptoms are high, and I’ve eaten all the chocolate and still need to try to nourish my body. So I couldn’t possible encourage other people to do better, it would be hypocritical wouldn’t it?
So I stick with what I know… “Oh you know, this and that, the usual. Tell me about you!”
Who am I now?
It’s a work in progress.
Full post recording by Jenni Pettican