Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Elegy To 22

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday.

And I have to say, the past few days have made me realize all that is good in my life. It’s about knowing who those are in my life that love and truly care about me, who will be there to celebrate both the triumphs and the tragedies.

I’ve also felt sort of strange about this birthday. I mean, I’m celebrating the fact that I’m alive. Woo hoo! But I’m also wondering what happened to year 22. Where did it go? Year 22 was filled with a lot of ups and downs, probably more downs than ups.

Most of all, I’m stuck wondering if this is really as good as it’s going to get.

I mean, there are things going right in my life. I have two papers that I’m going to be submitting to scholarly journals for publication. I’m trying to get this anthology off the ground. I survived my first year of graduate school and am about to embark on the second.

But the health situation is still tenuous, at best. This itching is insane. The other day I scratched my thighs raw. I’m going to see my rheumatologist, yet again. And I just wish there was some reprieve from all of this.

I guess yesterday, most of the day, I did have a reprieve. And I guess if there is just one day a year that anyone deserves a reprieve from feeling crummy, it’s on their birthday. But after an evening out with friends, actually wearing something nicer than sweatpants and a t-shirt, proving that shockingly, I actually have a pretty good body under all those baggy clothes that I usually wear, my body was definitely feeling it. I was reminded again why I never wear heels.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or what I did wrong to deserve all this in the first place. If it’s true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, in a short time, I should be made of steel or something. I’ll be so hardened to life, nothing will bother me at all.

I don’t want this post to turn into a “why me” lamentation. That’s not what this is about. I have some pretty terrific friends and a family that loves me and has selflessly put up with all of my crap.

I don’t want to be mourning the year that I’ve lost. I want to celebrate the years that I have yet to live. But that’s hard to do when things seem to keep going wrong at every turn.


  1. That's my mom's favorite mantra, "what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger". Being one of the few people who has seen first hand what my chronic life has been like these 20 plus years, she recently wrote me an email saying she thought I should be ready for hand to hand combat with lions soon. LOL Had to smile at that one and also wonder, does that mean something worse is coming?

    You will come to a place of, hopefully not hardening, but a kind of acceptance of what life throws at you. That doesn't mean that you give the fight, but you find your own rhythm of coping, a different sort of identity.

  2. Happy belated birthday, Leslie!

    In honor of your birthday, I found you this:

    Be well,