On the things you think about when you fall ill
I’ve been sick since I was born.
Specifically, sickle cell anemia was the diagnosis, a disease where your perfectly round blood cells that allow oxygen and proper bloodflow are instead diced into like pieces. You don’t realize how important oxygen and water is to the body unless you’re diagnosed with something that might effect it.
I even got a misshapen eyelid as some sort of bonus for my troubles or something.
Despite my weakened immune system though, I am lucky enough to not get sick that often. A visit to the hospital once a year or every two years is a blessing in my situation. The downside though is when I do get sick I turn into an absolutely miserable bitch. I am easily agitated and frustrated and moody and, maybe even worse, I use that time to evaluate where my life is.
Being in hospital beds a lot will really put some dark thoughts in your head about your own mortality, and just what anyone in your life would have to say about you at our funeral. And maybe I’m just a genteel southern hick but I really did think I’d have my own family by now. I’ve done a pretty good job compartmentalizing those feelings and keeping that aspiration close to the vest, but it’s always there consuming me, towering, an alarm that keeps buzzing telling me that I’m waiting too long.
Maybe this feels dumb.
I always knew I was going to choose a career first. Not for any ambitious reason, I just wanted to get as far away from Tallahassee, Florida as I could. The longer I stayed single, the more that empowered me to chase some sort of professional success in media to fulfill a dream. Over the last year or so, I have stumbled on the disheartening truth that I’d rather be in love than have a good career. America’s hard work propoganda has tricked most of us into thinking that chasing wealth and professional merit has real value when it mostly doesn’t. Most people only need “just enough” security and our economy is making even that impossible. Love is the only thing I’ve ever experienced that feel “true.” It was real, tangible, and yes you shouldn’t place your value in how other people view you but it’s also really nice to have someone that values you that you can value back.
This internal struggle is what runs through my mind most when I’m sick. I’m stuck with myself, unable to be distracted and forced to work through my feelings of uncertainty about whether I made the wrong choices, chasing things that are superficial and that I don’t even care that strongly about, as opposed to settling down earlier. At least failing at love gives you much better lasting memories to go along with it.
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