Mixed with my own personal mountains, I’m in the eye of a perfect storm.
Listen. I’m going to throw up a major disclaimer right up front. I’m not here to say my problems are more important than what’s going on in the world, but they are prominent in MY world, which makes them important to me. I’m also not interested in comparing my problems to yours, your friend’s, your neighbor’s, the bee’s, the tree’s… you get the idea. 2020 seems to have set in notion that was should all only be caring about a few things, and that’s just not reality. We are all living with unique, individual sets of circumstances and struggles, and we get to own those, feel those, be upset about them and talk about them! Kay, hopping off the soapbox.
2020 has obviously been a mental and emotional struggle for everyone. I won’t pretend that’s unique to me at all. The world is in chaos, and we are all deeply affected by that, whether you’d like to admit it or not.
This burden has piled on top of my already existing struggles. I had major goals and dreams for this year that have been slashed. I am physically different – call it the COVID 19, if you well. It may sound first world, but I’m no longer interested in justifying my feelings. On top of emotional struggles, if you’re familiar with my story at all, you know I have chronic health issues. Recently, they have been pretty bad, and doom and gloom have set into my life most days, though you probably wouldn’t know it.
What?! Haleigh, you look so healthy!! Yeah, I knowww!
This misconception adds a lot of stress to my life, truthfully. I portray myself as, because I try to intentionally be this way, a positive, fit, healthy individual with probably very few problems in my life.
But would you guess that I wake up in chronic pain every day? Would you guess that I struggle from an array of internal issues (gut, hormone, etc) every day? Would you be able to guess how many doctors I’ve seen, how much I’ve spent on testing and supplements, how many negative thoughts run through my head on a daily basis, how many times I think “I don’t know how I’m going to live the rest of my life like this.”?
I say all this NOT for pity. Don’t get it twisted! I say this because the other week, I posted on Instagram that I was taking a little break. I was having a tough time and needed to step back. I had so many people reach out to me which was GREAT and so kind, but it felt strange to me. They were SO concerned because I took one moment step back from the “positive Haleigh” persona I have publicly built, and it almost felt suffocating.
Am I not allowed to take a break because that’s not on brand for me? Am I not allowed to have rough moments like everyone else? It got me thinking about how we, as people, strangely and subconsciously “own” other people’s identities in our minds. We create these ideas and images of who someone is, and when they stray, something must be wrong.
But the reality is, we never truly know a person. We never truly know his/her struggles, all the personality quirks, the internal monologues. A person is his/her person and no one else’s. So why do we feel compelled to pass judgements and assumption on others? And more importantly, why do we feel a responsibility to maintain the image people have come to recognize us by? So we are more palatable? So we fit neatly into other people’s boxes as to not disrupt someone else’s world?
I may be rambling at this point, but the gist of what I’m trying to say is this:
We do not own each other. We cannot expect everyone to fit into our boxes. We must not assume we know someone’s struggles or lack of, their motivations, their intentions, their thoughts. Everyone has the right to speak their truth, even if it’s not what you care about hearing.
Wow, I feel like I just got really funky there and word vomited all over this post, but hey, welcome to 2020 LOL.
Back to what I think was my point... per usual, I’m STILL working through my chronic health issues – we’ll be taking more steps this year to heal myself, but I won’t lie – it’s draining.
We’ll all shine again soon –