Six years into life with chronic pain, six months into life with a feeding tube, and I still haven’t figured out how to accept my “new” life; how to find the “new normal” that everyone seems to speak so highly of. Perhaps my new normal is just to sit with a certain level of discontent, of jealousy, “what if”s, and “what could have been”s. After all, nineteen-year-olds are not meant to live life with restriction and fear; where are my carefree years? My years of late nights and parties, of spur of the moment outings and no restrictions? Of freedom? Sometimes, it all feels impossible to accept. This life of mine doesn’t truly feel like it does belong to me; it’s certainly a far cry from the intense athletic experience that it used to be. How does one learn to be completely content in the presence of what feels to be their entire lifestyle? Stripped of nearly everything that one defines themselves by, how does one learn to build a new character? Blank slates should be exciting, so why does this, still, feel so much like awkward scrambling with no direction? I don’t know who I want to be, except for who I used to be. And I can’t have that.
For now, I’m taking each moment of frustration as it comes, and allowing myself to grieve my old life in those moments. In the stillness after the whirlwind that is diagnosis and treatment, I find myself reflecting, and being angry, and crying more than I have in years. At this point, hoping hurts, because I’ve been disappointed by my body time and time again. I guess I feel betrayed, and repairing my relationship with the vessel through which I experience life will take time, as it would take time to repair any other relationship. Starting is just… difficult. For now, there’s solace in music, and doodling, and writing, and cooking, and being alive to feel the breeze on my face for another day.
I hope you all find your solace from your struggles as well, wherever that may be.