What I liked about starting a new school as a kid, was the opportunity to change my approach to life. In the early years, I was known as a tough girl, a fighter. I decided to leave her behind when I moved schools in 5th grade, and focus on being smart. Instead, I learned to hate myself, so when I moved again in Grade 8, I was ripe for bullying. That escalated, until we moved again in high school, and I had the opportunity to blend in.
“Be friendly,” I told myself, “and try not to stand out.”
I failed, of course, and in the end was asked to leave the school, but moving again afforded me another opportunity to edit myself. I deduced that sticking to myself and not caring what others thought was the best approach. Toughness was back, without the fist fights.
Having just moved to a new town, the conversations with myself have started up again.
“Don’t tell them about your illness,” I caution myself. ME/CFS has defined me these past four years, and I crave another identity.
“This is our opportunity to break free of the stigma.”
“But what will I say when I’m not able to join in, or have to cancel?”
“Who says you have to say anything? Set healthy boundaries, and just say no.”
“People will stop asking.”
It’s a circular conversation.
“Do you think we can pull it off? Don’t you think people will notice?”
“So, be mysterious. It’s none of their business.”
“But I’m such an open book…”
Tomorrow, we’re going to our first social event with our new community. Hope I can stop talking to myself long enough to enjoy the outing.
(V.J.’s weekly challenge is conversation.)