By: Alicia Thompson
I have to admit I was a rather unusual child. I grew up watching cooking shows, Martha Stewart and “I Love Lucy”. I dreamed of being the ideal 1950s housewife with an immaculate home. (I know, call me old-fashioned, but it seemed fun.) One day I imagined creating the details of the jobs for which Martha Stewart found the time. I imagined cooking gourmet dishes, homemade bread, fresh butter and still having time to sew, create, clean and garden. I dreamed one day of being, well, perfect.
When I finally got my big dream, I planned all the ways I would use my time as a housewife. I would have kept my house immaculate, cooking dinner every night and working on fun jobs in my spare time. Finally I would have had time to do all the fun projects I had dreamed of. I was about to make our home a home and I was thrilled!
But it didn’t go the way I planned. (And honestly, I understand it’s okay!)
About a year after I got married, I found out I had fibromyalgia. I had struggled with the fatigue and pain that prevented me from doing most of the things I planned. I found myself spending most days lying on my sofa watching TV and dreaming of all the projects I wanted to do.
In my really beautiful days, I would go beyond my limits and try to do all the things on my list. Again and again, I went too far and suffered too much to do something for weeks. I was so frustrated that, no matter how hard I tried, my body kept failing.
It is not easy to accept that my body does not have the strength and energy to keep up with my ideals. I spent months feeling guilty, lazy and useless. The frustration of disappointing me was probably the biggest obstacle I had to overcome.
Most often, those in the chronic disease community discuss the difficulties and frustrations of others’ responses to our disease. But we fight more than others’ expectations. Some days we have to fight ours.
RESOURCES OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIBROMYALGIA
Get involved in fibromyalgia
Information about fibromyalgia
Living with fibromyalgia: what are the prospects?
Eventually I realized that I have to step back and understand what really matters. My husband assured me several times that I was too hard on myself, but I had a hard time understanding he was right. He doesn’t care if our home is immaculate; he doesn’t care if we have fast food some nights; he doesn’t care that some day all I do is get out of bed. My friends don’t come into my house and judge me because it’s not as clean as I think it should be. Most of the time, my friends and family don’t even notice the things I find my most frustrating flaws.
I honestly had to realize that I could free myself from the hook. I don’t have to be Martha Stewart. I don’t 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