a grey hoodie and black yoga pants

It is entirely possible to wear a grey hoodie and black yoga pants too many days of the week. Initially, one might not think this is possible. But, after three and a half weeks of not working, such attire has become a uniform of sorts. And uniforms inevitably start to have an unfun feeling to them. The grey hoodie and black yoga pants have become the uniform of absenteeism, illness, and feeling down and out. The grey hoodie and black yoga pants have gone from fun after work/weekend lounge clothes to a uniform I no longer want. I now find myself at a loss when I arrive home in the evening as I am already in my “evening lounge clothes.”

My weekly laundry is now down to one easy load full of yoga pants, t-shirts, and other related exercise and lounge wear along with the usual socks and underwear. Yesterday I had an appointment that required “real clothes” and I had to unearth my favorite black and blue Ralph Lauren dress with a long black flowy jacket. I put on the dress and jacket with the pearl necklace my sister gave me for my birthday years ago, black pantyhose and long black boots. It’s amazing what clothes do to the spirit. Just putting on this outfit restored some of my sense of usefulness.

Shiny orange running shorts and a print t-shirt, soft from repeated washings, with a chihuahua dog on the front that states, “No more stinkin’ tacos!” make up the new evening lounge wear. Given that the temperature outside has started to plummet, there is little chance that this getup can become the new uniform of being down and out.

You are sick

You are sick.

And, when you start to feel the physical pain of that sickness it takes you back, back to that place when you were a kid with a dangerous fever. You felt like you were dying, but you were told to stop putting on a show. But, it was real, and the reality of sitting at Thanksgiving dinner with a fever has never left you. The memory of the doctor admonishing your parents for taking so long to take you to the doctor still rings in your ears.

And then there was the time you threw up right in the middle of reading group, in fact, you threw up all over the reading group table. You threw up there because you did not want to go to the school nurse’s office because she would surely send you home. And if you were sent home your mother would be called, and she could not afford to come get you.You were already in trouble because you told the nurse the last time you were sick that Omega, the next door neighbor your mother put down as the alternate emergency contact, scares you because she drinks too much. So, your mother is the only person they will call, but if they call her she will have to come and get you, and that means that she won’t be paid for the rest of the day. But, you threw up in reading group! So, of course, they call your mother. She comes to get you, she gets mad at you, and she does not get paid. You could have written the script yourself at the time.

You’re trying to tell yourself that sickness is not the same now. You are not in trouble, and you are not going to die, and you will certainly get paid while you use sick days. Though you know you will get paid, you can’t help but ask the doctor for a note excusing you from work, just in case. It feels kind of dumb because you know you don’t need it, but you still ask for it, and you take it, and put it in your purse. You hate the fact that having it just makes you feel better.

You implore yourself to come back from the past, and leave it be. No one will be angry at you for taking care of yourself. No one will yell at you for saying you are sick. You can speak the truth of your illness with no fear. You are no longer reliant on your parents for care. You can take care of yourself, and make your own choices about your health. The nightmare of neglect is over.

You know it’s over, but part of you does not know this. And therein lies the problem. The second day of your illness you wake up with a sore tender spot on your head, as if you banged your head. But you have no recollection of banging your head, and you know that it was likely one of your alters, or one of your peeps, as you call them. You’re too tired to inquire extensively within. You’re too sick, and too tired, so all you do is beg. You beg the system to not act out, to not hurt the body. It’s all you can do, it’s all you have the energy to do because you are sick.

Sick and freaked

For the past two days I’ve been sick. I don’t think there’s an organic reason. I think it’s directly related to anxiety. This was the weekend five years ago that I struggled to find a reason to continue living. It was the weekend after the nonconsensual experience with a person I knew.

Then today a friend of mine and I went to an event I actually attended five years ago this very same weekend. I was aware of this when I agreed to go with my friend this weekend. I thought it would be a way to make a new and better memory. But then it was very hot outside, and heat is a trigger for me. I think between the heat, and the event itself my body just freaked, and I became ill.

And, getting sick is a whole other trigger for me. I had to tell all the peeps the following:

“We are not dying. We are just sick. Yes, it is unpleasant, but we are very likely not going to die from this. This is no one’s fault. No one is in trouble. No one is bad because we got sick. Let me repeat … No one is in trouble.”

It’s a balancing when I get sick because I have to take care of myself, and then I have to tend to others as well. Much like being a parent that gets sick when the rest of the family is also ill.

Though I think we’re finally coming around the bend from the sickness.