Saturday, June 4, 2011


I am a terrible sick person. I recognize that no one likes to be ill, but I end up with a sinking feeling of melodrama and depression when I am not feeling well, and I find it so hard to sit down and rest. For some reason, I fear being labelled as flaky, and even though I never hold it against anyone else to back out of things when they are sick, I seem to hold myself to an impossible standard and expect that I should continue no matter how sick I may be.

I've been working through so many things this year, so what is one more? Perhaps it's time for me to examine this pressure I put on myself, and try to discover where it came from and why it's there. It could be related to the way I abhor weakness, or my fear of disappointing others, or my inability to accept that my presence is not critically required for everything I'm involved with.

Fear seems to be at the root of this problem, and since I'm trying to live with peace and joy instead of fear and anxiety, the time is now to try to put this behind me. I haven't been sick at all this school year, and then when I get a flu and a cold all at once I panic and try to decide right up until the last minute if I should go to meetings and events I have committed to.

Perhaps it comes down to feeling at rest inside of myself. I end up rushing through my days, checking everything off my list and feeling satisfied, and when I have to reschedule something or not accomplish it when I planned to, I feel scattered and nervous. The world doesn't actually hinge on me. I know this somewhere in my mind, but I think when I was disappointed as a kid because I was promised something that wasn't delivered, I have carried that feeling inside of me, and I am loathe to do the same thing to others.

Some things are beyond our control. There is rarely a convenient time to get sick, and thankfully, most of our illnesses are short-lived and in a few days we are back on track. I have to let go of my fear that I am easily replaced when I can't make it to something, or that I am being judged as flaky.

The older I get, and the healthier I become, the more I realize that people aren't sitting around talking about me all of the time. Far from it. It is worse to attend something, fevered and coughing and exhausted, spreading my germs to everyone, than it is to bow out to stay at home in my pajamas and get better. It's just that I have some deep-held belief that it's better to look strong than to appear weak.

Everyone gets sick at some point. We push too hard and we end up susceptible to illness, and if we stay home and recover, we will be better off in the long run. If anyone is judging, that is for them to live with. I have to live with my own choices and values, and that is enough pressure. I can't take on more. We are all allowed to admit weakness sometimes, and when our bodies tell us to rest, listening is generally the best course of action.

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