body talks: just a quick note to say, I am not quite doing okay


Hello lovelies,

I'm sorry I've been so distant lately, I've not been doing too well. I would have written something sooner but really, there are only so many ways one person can say I am sick again.

So, I am sick again.

Two hours into Monday morning my boss sent my home from work. I cried quietly, alone on the bus because the pain had gotten unbearable. I've seen girls cry in public before, written ill-advised poems about how their bodies fold inward and their faces wear the world, but it's a dirty, voyeuristic kind of fascination. I do not much like the taste of tears. I cannot imagine ever being comfortable projecting my discomfort that way. I walked home, made tea, crumpled. I took a photo of myself, half pleased with how my face couldn't betray the magnitude of pain that gnawed through me, and half furious. How very masturbatory male novel, still  photogenic and palatable in the face of agony.


(Somewhere out there Margaret Atwood is weeping)

In the last two months I have had, in quick succession: the flu, pneumonia, food poisoning, a cold, and a nasty stomach bug, plus some other, quieter and yet more insidious problems I don't want to discuss yet. I've lost weight, I've lost a lot of hours at work, and in a few brief slips I started to lose my carefully maintained sanity and resolve. I've both laughed and cried hysterically on the dusty oak of my kitchen floor, because I don't know how much more I can handle. The cat has followed me from room to room as if looking for the part of me that's wounded.

I am long used to my usual chronic illnesses obstructing my life. I know the feel of them, the shape of their pain, the taste, the colour. This, chaotically bouncing from malady to malady is something I cannot prepare for. I have no blueprints for such wide variations of pain.

I haven't felt like myself for some time. I've hardly left the house, so an amazing opportunity at work fell by the wayside. I have had to defer my literature exam because I was out of my mind in pain. I apologise for the lack of tarot poems but I just haven't had the time or coherency to piece any poetry together. I have had no mind for poetry in months. I have had no mind for anything but banal diary entries and bizzare, half-coherent interludes in some short stories, things about madness, things about pain.

I haven't told anyone much about what's going on, little glimpses here and there. A vague line to my mystery girl, a joke, a diversion. Silence to my best friends, then revealing it in small increments. For the longest time I just didn't want to address it anymore. I'm tired of talking about sickness. That's all my adult life has been.

I want to say I'm on the up, that things are getting better again, but I know better than to jinx it. Things will get better when they get better. A year has never tried so hard to kill me off, but I've had a lot of practice shrugging off bad omens. I mean, I'm the sickly, crazy, gay relation - it'll take more than a touch of the vapours.

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