The worst part of chronic illness/pain

The worst part of my chronic illness isn’t the pain, feeling shitty, or the endless meds and doctors appointments… it’s the bone crippling loneliness. The world is going at a hundred miles per hour around me while I sit still. Friends go on and grow while I sit stagnant. 

I have no consistent social life since I can’t work. I can barely commit to anything because I won’t know how I will feel and I don’t want to let people down by canceling. I could go days with out interacting and that is so fucking depressing.   

This lack of interaction creates a couple of emotions… 

1. Insecurity: You see everyone out doing fun things or growing in their careers… yet you can’t participate.  You start telling yourself horrible things about why people don’t want to hang around you.  You’re not able to keep up with people and rarely are people willing to slow down for you.   You quickly start believing your worthless.  

2. neediness: you start CRAVING connection. It’s like your body and brain go through withdrawal. You start pestering friends… pestering to the point they hate you and leave you. They have jobs and have no idea why you could be so lonely. Don’t get me started on how you’ll feel about canceled plans… you won’t have your normal reaction of “thank God I can just stay home and rest”. Instead it’s “I’ve been looking forward to this social interaction all week… it was the highlight of my week!”. You will feel disappointment like you’ve never felt before… because your brain has turned into a needy bitch. 

3. absolute loneliness: you are left with your pain and illness as your only constant. Your brain starts playing tricks on you. You start to realize you’re not a part of society any longer. The world has moved on with out you. It doesn’t need you any more.  

4. crippling depression: Your world has come crashing down. Your brain just can’t function normally. You become this hyper emotional creature from the depth of hell that is a dark shadow upon the light of the world. Being on huge doses of pain meds doesn’t help either. You unlovable at times.  

Expect friends to leave you. This was the hardest part for me. Friends can’t understand what you’re going through. They have their own lives… their own struggles. One by one they will leave you. That’s okay. They have lives too. You can’t expect them to move at your speed. My own husband couldn’t handle it. If a spouse can’t handle it how can you expect a friend to handle it.  

The emotional aspects of having a chronic illness or chronic pain are worse than the physical aspects. I long to work in an office or group again just so I can have a social outlet and feel productive. I’m thankful for the couple of friends who can handle my crazy when it kicks up. I’m thankful for those who haven’t turned their back on me. I’m thankful for those who remember “hey Elizabeth might want to join me/us”. These are the people who will get me through.  

Why ladies?!

I was explaining to an old friend that one of closest and dearest friends was opening a huge show that will most likely end up on broadway.   “You sound really happy for her… Aren’t you jealous of her?  That’s your childhood dream.” My old friend asked.  My old friend has been a struggling Broadway actor for years. She’s one of those that will be struggling till the day she dies but she’s doing what she loves. We met when we performed “Julius Caesar” together WAY back in the day, lost touch, then regained touch through the miracle of Facebook and rekindled a superficial relationship. 

I thought about the question… I thought hard.  “No.” I replied, “not at all… I’m proud of her.”  It’s the truth.  I never thought to be jealous.  My close friend has been preparing for this literally her entire life… so why would I be jealous?  Just this one project has been a 2+ year journey for her.   I’m proud as hell… I’m screaming from the rafters to anyone who will listen about how happy I am for her.   

My old friend then said “you’re not a normal woman I guess.”  Not a normal woman… wait… so because we were both born with vaginas I’m not supposed to support her?  I really started thinking.  I thought back to when I was a kid riding horses competitively… it made sense now.  We were all friends until we got to the same level and started competing with each other.  It made sense now.  Jealousy and competition reigned. I just thought they hated me… 

Why as women do we get this way with each other?  We are all spouting “woman power” until say a friend starts excelling in something then jealousy takes over.  Aren’t we all in this together?  If we are all in it together why does female rivalry exist?
Doing a little late night internet research I came across a plethora of articles about the subject.   Some blame hormones, some blame upbringing, while others blame our caveman ancestors.  Are women inherently jealous of each other?  Is it part of our brain structure?  Is it something some women can’t help?  Reading this information makes me wonder how we ever came together to win our right to vote.  

This newly gained information really enlightened things for me.  Maybe I was only made fun of as a school girl because I was tall and skinny.   Maybethe reason people gossip and lie as adults is because they are jealous of something.  Oddly enough this makes me feel better… no idea why but I will take it.  

How can we overcome this jealousy and rivalry?  It’s all “yeah female power” till jealousy or rivalry hit.  We women need to work together… we need to stick up for each other… we need to support each other.   We need to stand together for our basic rights and that starts with supporting each other’s accomplishments.   We have a president who talks about “grabbing women by the pussy” yet we are ostrisizing, hating, and making fellow women’s lives miserable out of petty jealousy?!  

Ladies… who gives a shit about the petty stuff.  Support your female friends.   Love them for the sisters they are.  Stop creating drama… we have enough all ready.  Stand together in love and celebrate each other.  
I am proud beyond words about my friend’s success… as I am with any friend’s success.   I will support my friends with my last breath.   I will promote her because I believe in her ability with all my heart.  Good, deep, platonic friendships are rare…  don’t let jealousy and pettiness ruin them.  

My friend Stephanie Wall as “Michele” (in the pink) *obviously NOT my picture… stole it from one of the many adds popping up on social media*

Waiting to die…

Some days… like today… I can feel his breath on my neck because he’s so close. I can feel his presence in my every task as he waits. He waits for the inevitable. He waits to do his job of taking my soul from this world. The reaper is my only constant companion these days. Death is my only commitment.  

Some days I talk to him. I tell him I’m ready. I’m ready for the pain to end. I’m ready to go to my final destination. I can feel the inevitability of it all. Some days I’m at peace with it all. Some days… 

Most days I hold on with every ounce of life and yell at him that I’m not ready… that I never will be. I still have days where I feel alive and I cling to those days. Those are the days where my mind and body decide to work. 

I know my time will come… I can feel that it’s probably soon. I spend my days cherishing moments… I focus on trying to reconnect with people. I hate being alone… it reminds me that I will die alone.  
I’m afraid… I’m afraid of what happens next. I pray for it to come quickly and just end the never ending pain and emotional struggle. Yet I am afraid of dying.  

I pray I’ve touched a life or two. I pray I’ve helped the world in some way. I pray I’m not forgotten… I mean I’m forgettable even alive so I don’t imagine my legacy will go far. So I wait… I wait for death to take my pain away.   

I am what I am

It’s June… its gay pride month. To me that means a month of being a bit extra out and proud as I celebrate with my LGBT community. It’s a time when we come together for festivals and parades. Its a time where we can have fun and forget we are an oppressed minority that faces prejudice on a daily basis and even jail time or death in other parts of the world. It’s a time where many of us reflect on our lives.  

I figure for the first time ever I would write my story down. Perhaps it will help one fellow human be more comfortable in their struggle. Maybe it will help my friends, family and cohorts understand me a bit better. Or maybe no one will read it but I will feel better for getting it out. Who the hell knows.  

I knew I was different starting in about 4th grade. The other little girls in class were always talking about the boys… sending them cute notes, trying to get their attention, etc. I had no interest. No interest in any of it. I didn’t get what the big deal was. I dove into my own world due to the insecurity and discomfort. 

In 6th grade hormones started raging. Like absolutely raging. The girls were all dating and acting weird around the boys. I still felt nothing. I had a “boyfriend”… a sweet upright bass player from our school chamber orchestra… but it was confusing to me. It didn’t feel like anything. I literally had no feelings for this guy who was pouring his heart out to me on a daily basis. I just kind of stopped talking to him.  

It was 7th grade when I felt arousal at the sight of someone. I had no idea what the feeling was at the time but looking back it was definitely arousal. It was in gym class… I don’t remember her name… but I remember what she looked like. She had great boobs… like woman boobs… and her butt was perfection. I sat on the bleachers watching her play volleyball. Honestly at the time I had no idea what was happening in my mind or body. All I could do was stare. The other kids knew I was “different” and they harassed me daily and physically assaulted me frequently. 

For the next few years I struggled with myself. I knew the feelings I was having weren’t normal. I was scared. I lived in South Carolina… it wasn’t exactly a welcoming place for a girl trying to figure out what was going on sexually. I told no one. Not even my therapist. I didn’t even have a word for how I felt. I just knew no one else had these feelings.  

The summer after 9th grade I went to California for a while to visit my aunt and uncle. While I was there they took me to LA pride in West Hollywood. Well… I found the word I needed to describe my feelings. It hit me. I was gay. I was gay and there were others like me. It was an awakening. I felt like a weight had been lifted.  

I went the next few years being out to friends. Eventually I came out to my family. I figured they had all figured it out. For the most part they handled it well.  

Not everyone I meet is okay with it. When I was 20 I was sexually assaulted by a guy who thought I just needed a strong man to change me. It was horrible. He was a friend of a friend. I still have nightmares. He most definitely did not turn me straight. 
I prayed and wished to be straight… to be normal. I struggled many years of my life with who I am and feeling inferior and substandard.   It wasn’t until about age 30 that I became comfortable with my sexuality.  I no longer feel inferior.  This is who I am.  This is who God made me to be. 

I faced violent threats, disgust, prejudice, stereo types, hate speech, and teasing through out most of my life just because I am different. 4 years ago I decided to try dating men again. I faced anger from many of my lesbian friends for “choosing” to be bisexual. I wasn’t choosing anything. It was sad. My own people were turning on me for deciding to explore my bisexuality (I’m like 90% lesbian but wanted to at least try a relationship with a man)

As an out bisexual I get a lot of “just choose a side”. Sexual preference is not a choice. I didn’t learn to be attracted to women. I didn’t choose to feel this way. I’m not broken… homosexuality is not a disease. There’s no therapy to “cure it”. Our brains just work differently. When it comes to sexuality there is no “normal”… but that’s a whole different blog post.  

I’m glad young people discovering themselves these days don’t face near the prejudice, discrimination, or violence I did. It still happens but thankfully most of society in America is accepting now. What went through made me more determined to be out and open. I refuse to let anything shut me up. I am me. I am living my best life. I am true to myself.  

Adventures in dating… #1

We had enjoyed a wonderful dinner and a couple whiskey drinks during a show. Now we found ourselves standing on Melrose with our arms wrapped around each other. That’s when she said it… “You look so seattle but feel so LA.”

I had to pause… I’ve heard that somewhere before. Oh yeah… “did you just use a Fall Out Boy lyric on me?”

She looked shocked… “uh… yeah… it kind of just fell out of my mouth.” She was embarrassed. “I mean you do though… your hardcore 90s grunge but an LA body.”

I giggled… “I’m still mourning the loss of Kurt.” I said giving her a light kiss. “You’re adorable.”

Honestly I didn’t know what to think. She was dressed to the nines in heels, sexy black dress, and full best hair and makeup. I wasn’t expecting her to drop a Fall out Boy lyric in my lap. Yet it was comforting. She spoke my language of music lyrics. That’s rare to find in 30 something feminine form.
The valet pulled up with her white Mercedes… it was time to part ways. We have since had many conversations using only song lyrics… and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I did agree to a second date though. 

The bathroom talk that changed my life…

Not my picture! Found on internet.

“What’s the worst that will happen if you fail?” This was the question posed to me during a conversation with Mary Lynn Rajskub… and it has left me changed in every aspect of my life.

 It happened during a bathroom conversation in which I divulged I was trying to get over some stage fright I had acquired after a few rough shows. You see I have a HUGE fear of failure. I don’t know why. I just always have.  It’s only gotten worse over the last couple years.   Every human hates failure… I was letting mine cripple me on stage.  

After my conversation with Mary, total fan girl moment for me since I really look up to her but I held my shit together, I got to thinking…. What is really the worst thing that would happen should I fail?

In my daily life money making career I work in veterinary medicine. I perform anesthesia (among other things), a life or death procedure, and have the capacity to make mistakes that could easily kill. Yet I do it with complete confidence.  I mean… I will get nervous during a super critical moment but I KNOW I’m good at it.  I’m completely confident in that situation. Present me with an anesthetic emergency of any kind and I will calmly and confidently work to correct it.  Stand up is different… it’s an art that takes hours of practice and not just knowledge.  

 No one will die if I drop a punchline. The worst thing I guess is some people may judge me based on the bad show.  Luckily there’s always people who have seen me do well.  Everyone has bad shows… even the famous people. I’ve seen many famous comics go down in flames. I’m just a rookie… doing this for fun since I can’t live my active lifestyle anymore to challenge myself… even if I was famous a bad set is just a bad set.   Nothing more.  

If I have a bad run of shows the worst that will happen is I may not get asked back. That’s not horrible in the long run as there are many shows going on in multiple clubs and eventually I could prove myself again. Plus everyone knows I’m just learning.  Why put pressure on myself? It’s ironic a fear of failure could be causing me to fail. 

Failure is a part of trying anything. What counts is pushing through… learning from it… and overcoming it.  I took the stage with this new attitude and it truly boosted my performance.  It’s not that I didn’t give a shit anymore… fear of failure just wasn’t at the forefront of my mind any more. 
Anyone in ANY job what SO EVER is gonna have a bad day.  Failure is inevitable. You will go down in flames at some point. I guess it’s all in how you overcome it. If you have a bad show… bad run… bad day… screw up… etc don’t give up.  Learn from it, move on and do better next time.  Failure is a part of life.  Don’t let the fear keep you from success. 

And some days just suck…

This is not the blog post I wanted to make but it’s one that I need to make…
Today is bad. Today I don’t want to leave my bed because I’m in so much pain. Today I honestly want to die. I had a run of good and decent days so this was bound to happen. Last night it hit like a brick and hasn’t let up. 

I feel like every time one of these bad days hits it knocks the wind out of my sails. Every time my body hits this wall I wonder how many more bad days I can take. At what point do I say enough is enough?  

When you know your most likely never going to be healthy again you realize your life is literally just enjoying the good days as they become fewer and fewer. Yes most days I can get out there and slap a smile on my face pretending things are great… but that’s not how I feel most of time. 

So how long does one suffer? How many bad days does one face alone in bed while the world moves top speed around them? It’s funny how when you feel like this how many of your friends forget you. It’s easy to forget someone who has to stand still. It’s easy to walk away rather than stand by someone when it gets uncomfortable.  

So today will be a day of rest… a forced day of rest. It will also be a day of tears. This is the part of a chronic illness or chronic pain people don’t want to see. This is the part we all try to hide. This is the part we try to slap a smile over so people don’t uncomfortable.  

One day it will end. One way or another. Either the bad days will become too much or a cure will be found… but thankfully one day it will end.  I take comfort in that. Now excuse me while I withdraw from the world…