The challenge was extended so simply I barely even thought about it: “Send me a photo of you holding a sign – I’m making a photo-collage.”
Everything in me immediately screamed “NOOOO!”
That would make it real, or at least, real-er somehow.
It would officialise it, seal it, carve it in stone.
And I’m all for a good cause – all for education and generating communication and breaking down barriers and kicking the shit out of nasty taboos – but all that with *my* face on it?
Because here’s the rub, friends – I’m not sure I really qualify, and I’ve come up with some glorious reasons why I simply *can’t* be included in this here sensible venture:
1. It’s not *my* diagnosis. It’s Husby’s. I’m a secondary casualty at best in this.
2. Husby’s getting treatment which might reverse the situation, in which case joining this campaign and allowing my face to be plastered all over it would be a big fat LIE, and that’s just rude.
3. I don’t really want it to be true.
And I’m back in that gaping pit with those two, tiny, ironic graves and the sadness pressing down on me. That place where tears come so easily. That place where I look at the world through such differently, darkly tinted spectacles. That place where people like me easily become embittered and angry and begin to lash out.
And I’d been fine for a few weeks, really I had. I’d prayed and I’d chosen not to let it get to me – chosen to live my life actively seeking the Good Things, enjoying the fun bits and treating the bad bits lightly. I had my mojo back and a spring in my step and it let me weather many storms.
And then yesterday the Royal Prince was born and the internet came alive with status updates, tweets, news reports all about his tiny highness, and I cracked.
I fell from peace and grace and lightness straight back into *that* pit. I posted a snarky comment about the little bugger and felt much better. So I posted another one.
Then I had a drink. And I felt much better.
So I had another one.
And singles became doubles and drink followed drink followed drink.
But I didn’t care about that damn baby, that’s forsure.
I didn’t care that mine should have been 20 days older than His New Prince-ness. I didn’t care that people were posting how happy they were for Kate when they should have been posting how happy they were for me!
I fell asleep hugging the toilet in between bouts of retching, evacuating the poison from my system with the toxins in my heart.
I woke up at 3am when Husby pulled me to my feet from the floor and gently took me into the bedroom and readied me for bed. I looked at him and slurred softly “Sorry. The new royal baby made me upset.” He understood.
This morning was a fragile, painful time. I was still woozy, still weepy and both compounded with a lack of sleep to leave me a hot mess.
But I knew one thing I could do to help.
One thing I could do to educate.
One thing I could do to break barriers and fight taboos.
One thing I could do to start conversations and engender compassion for my people.
I could tell the truth.
So I wrote that sign and took this photo.