Archive for 23/02/2012

Overwhelmed…In The Best Possible Way

Posted in Long-Term Illness, My Thoughts with tags , on 23/02/2012 by Sam Sadie

This post has been inspired by all the amazing support that I have received over the past day…

I have always been quite reserved about sharing my blog with people, and have largely relied on them “stumbling” upon it by accident, and then deciding to stay because they identified with what I have to say. It, somehow, seemed easier to share the often brutal reality of my life with strangers. Strangers are less personally invested in my happiness by the very virtue of not knowing me, whereas friends and family feel guilty when they cannot “fix” things for me. They take my honest expression of the struggles and frustrations personally – as though it is somehow their fault that my life is what it is. And I’ve never wanted to hand them that burden. I’ve presented my “happy face” to the world, and only allowed them glimpses of myself. Carefully thought out words and phrases on status updates and forum posts. I presented the “me” that I thought the world could deal with most easily.

On the 14th February 2012, my husband and I became British citizens. It’s been a long and arduous process to get to that point (not to mention hugely expensive), and we were so excited about it all. In fact, I was so excited that as soon as the Citizenship Ceremony was over, I posted photos of the two of us holding our certificates on Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger.

At our Citizenship Ceremony

And then the questions started. I hadn’t really considered that the picture of me in my wheelchair would cause so much interest. But it did. Some people were simply curious, while others were shocked or devastated. I suddenly received messages and emails, and even my mother was quietly asked what was wrong with me. It was as though my carelessly posted pictures suddenly drew back the curtain, and allowed everyone a glimpse of the reality that I’d worked so hard to hide. I was more surprised than anyone at the responses I received. And it was wonderful. An out-pouring of goodwill from those I had kept at arm’s length for so long.

And, in that moment, I decided to share my blog with my friends and family. I realised that they were strong and gracious enough to deal with all the messy emotions that my illness spills out of me. I posted a link to my blog on Facebook (it was such a scary thing to do), and invited the world inside my head. Invited them to see me for who I really am, and judge me for it. Without question, it’s one of the best things I have ever done. The response has been more emotional than I could have imagined, for both myself and them. I’ve cried more happy tears in the last 24 hours than I have in a very long time. I touched their lives, and they in turn touched mine. Tentatively. Beautifully. And with such honesty.

I’m glowing inside.