I have to admit, I was a pretty unusual child. I grew up watching cooking shows, Martha Stewart and “I Love Lucy.” I dreamed of being the ideal housewife of the fifties with an impeccable house. (I know, call me old-fashioned, but I found it fun). Someday I imagined myself doing the detailed crafts for which Martha Stewart found time. I imagined cooking gourmet meals, homemade bread, fresh butter and still have time to sew, make crafts, clean and cultivate a garden. I dreamed that one day it would be, well, perfect.
When I finally had my big dream, I planned all the ways I would use my time as a housewife. I was going to keep my house impeccable, cook dinner every night and work on fun crafts in my spare time. Finally I was going to have time to do all the fun projects I had dreamed about. I was going to make our house a home, and I was thrilled!
But it was not like I had planned. (And honestly, I’ve noticed that it’s fine!)
Approximately one year after I got married, I discovered that I had fibromyalgia. I had been fighting fatigue and pain that kept me from doing most of the things I had planned. I found myself spending most days reclining on my couch watching television and dreaming of all the projects I wanted to do.
In my really good days, I pushed myself beyond my limits and tried to do all the things on my list. Again and again, I tried too hard and ended up in a lot of pain to do something for weeks. I was so frustrated that no matter how hard I tried, my body kept surrendering.
It is not easy to accept that my body does not have the strength and energy to follow my ideals. I spent months feeling guilty, lazy and useless. The frustration of disappointing me was probably the biggest obstacle I had to overcome.
Very often, those in the chronic disease community discuss the difficulties and frustrations of other people’s responses to our disease. But we fight more than the expectations of others. Some days we have to fight ours.
RESOURCES OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIBROMIALGIA
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Living with fibromyalgia: what’s next?
I finally realized that I have to take a step back and find out what really matters. My husband assured me again and again that I was too hard on myself, but it took me a long time to realize that he was right. He does not care if our house is impeccable; he does not care if we have fast food some nights; he does not care that some days all he gets is getting out of bed. My friends do not come into my house and they judge me because it is not as clean as I think it should be. Most of the time, my friends and family do not even notice the things that I think are my most frustrating faults.
Honestly, I had to realize that I can get off the hook. I do not have to be Martha Stewart. I do not have to have everything in my life to be just perfect. Sometimes we just have to slow down and enjoy the beauty of life, even in chaos.
My life is not perfect. And I’m fine with that