Friday, May 11, 2012

Judge not

An enormous lesson that I’ve taken from this whole chronic illness thing is do NOT judge.  It might seem like a strange connection, and I suppose it is.  But once you become one of the slow, inattentive bad drivers, wearing sweatpants in public, walking really slowly down the aisle at the grocery store with frustrated people trying to get by you, you realize that hey – all those people I would have normally judged as lazy, slobs, totally unaware of manners or of themselves – probably have some pain going on that forces them to be that way. 

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I am getting well enough that I am starting to become aware of how I appear in public.  I used to be so sick that when it came down to it and I needed something from the store, I would muster up all the energy I had to get out the door and get it – unbrushed teeth, sweat pants, and hair a bird could nest in.  I was so sick that it never occurred to me how crazy I must have looked, especially thrown in that I am sure I was walking really slowly, trying to deal with the vertigo and dizziness that would normally cause me to walk right into a wall.  I was so sick that all I could think about was picking up the medication or whatever I needed to pick up. But the better I’ve gotten (HALLELUIAH!), the more I’m starting to return to a state of normalcy.  With the weight gain of lying around for 7 months essentially immobile, and with all the crazy things Lyme does to your body to get you to create more fat where it can thrive, I don’t really have any pants that fit anymore.  So I’m still out in sweatpants, but at least my teeth are brushed and hair is somewhat presentable.  I know I still look bad, compared with normal standards of people being out in public, and it’s pretty clear now that I am noticing the looks I get.  Looks like ‘Gross – this lazy girl can’t even put jeans on?’ or ‘Ew, what’s wrong with her.’  That moment when I am looked up and down, get eye rolls, and their lips curl up.  Ugh, it's like high school all over again!

The thing that makes me the most comfortable when I'm presenting my sick self to the world is to wear my lime green ‘Lyme Awareness’ bracelet, and kind flash it around a bit, so maybe the onlookers will see it and realize that I’m sick. And THAT'S why I look and act like I'm totally out of it.  It's not drugs.  Well, not the recreational kind.  

I do have to admit that I used to be one of those smirking onlookers!  Judging all those ‘People of Walmart’ and people seemingly unaware that I am TRYING to pass…why can’t they just move a little faster?

But I get it now, having been on the other side.   Plenty of people are suffering in visible ways AND invisible ways.  They're sick.  Or grieving.  Or injured.  So don’t be judgin.’  Don’t be hatin.’  Because you have no idea what people are going through.