Lately, living with chronic pain has meant taking on less, cancelling plans often, and avoiding social situations that are loud or just over-stimulating. Instead, I favor cat naps, reading novels in large print while dabbing my temples with various essential oils, and practicing I-can’t-tell-if-you’re-asleep-or-awake types of yoga. In other words, I have not been the life of the party.
Aside from being bummed about missing out on fun stuff, thinking about this sometimes leads me to believe that I am not as lovable as I used to be. Who wants to make plans with the Negative Nancy who asks you to turn the music down, goes home early, and is likely to cancel on you last minute anyway?
I disclosed this fear to a Wise Woman I know, who replied, “How dare you.”
She asked if I would consider anyone else less lovable because their abilities had changed or were different from my own. And I thought, No! I try hard not to think like that because that sort of judgement is horribly cruel. I love people for so many different reasons, and certainly none of those reasons involve how many social activities they can rack up in a week, or how well they feel on any given day.
“So, if you wouldn’t treat others this way, how dare you treat yourself this way?” Good point, Wise Woman, good point.
It’s important to actively remind myself that my schedule does not make me who I am. And while I worry about not being out in the world enough for my own happiness, I have good evidence that the people I love will gladly consider coming over for breakfast instead of meeting in a busy public space.
I am not any less of a lovable person for becoming more like a cat. Repeat.
(originally posted on June 17th, 2012 on “Brain Storm” @ lousong.wordpress.com)