Brave, brave is a word us chronic illness sufferers know intimately. We know it well, but I have a love/hate relationship with this word. I feel it is used to glamourize sickness, which spoiler alert, chronic illness is not glamorous. Chronic illness is not pretty, its down right ugly most days, I never feel like a hero in armor valiantly fighting. Its like being on the losing side everyday, no matter how hard you try to win. Brave isn’t pretty, there is no honor being bestowed. It is the scariest thing I do day after day, its feeling stagnant, and its EX-hausting. But I have no other way. I have to continue this way, its the only way to survive.
Its being hit down over and over again and getting back up, fully knowing that weeks, days, an hour later you will have to do it again. Resilient is a better explanation than brave. We are extremely resilient, because well frankly, we have no choice.
Doctors appointments, procedures, surgeries, needles, skeptics, weight loss, hair loss, muscle loss, weakness, side effects, medicine, loss of identity, loss of self, and feeling like I am falling behind are things I deal with everyday. Most days I feel like I will never catch up to others my age. Fear, pain, insecurity, and struggle is what resides behind what others see as bravery.
I am not brave, I am resilient. I am proud of that. We bend, but we never break, we twist but never snap, and we stretch but never snap.