By: Angie Howard
It’s 7:30 p.m. on a Friday night, and I’m in bed. With my husband and dogs right beside me. Nothing new here, and honestly, most of our friends are probably doing the same thing, but I really wouldn’t know.
It wasn’t the diagnosis, or even the pain really, that caused me to start avoiding party invites and happy hour texts from my girlfriends. I don’t really remember when I started drifting so far away, but I have recently realized that I miss my friends. And my sisters and brothers. And my former colleagues. I miss talking to people. I truly miss laughing out loud with my girlfriends. I even miss seeing how handsome and stunning my husband is when he’s in a crowd.
But, as for my friends and out families that we rarely see anymore, I do wonder what they think. I assume they think my husband and I (married three years in December) are still in the honeymoon phase, that our kids keep us very busy, or they may not think twice about it. But, I bet they haven’t thought for a second that I have avoided pretty much every opportunity to see them that there has been the last couple of years.
I’ve cancelled or just not shown up, I’ve postponed or used my typical, “maybe,” or, “probably,” responses, which they’ve all figured out is the same as a “no.” And, when I have made it to dinner or lunch, I had probably been a nervous wreck and even considered canceling the day before.
The truth is that I’m not a good faker anymore. I hurt. More often than not lately, I hurt. Something always hurts. And, because I’m not great at pretending like I feel great these days, I’ve made the choice to let everyone I love think that I’m just really busy and head over heels in love, and that they are the ones that don’t fit into my schedule anymore. And, that’s not true at all… so far from true.
I feel stuck, and I’ve never been comfortable admitting it until now. I don’t want to pretend that I am just fine anymore. But, I don’t want to moan and groan, or for people to worry or feel sorry or pity me. I don’t want to overpower the conversation when someone asks how I’ve been feeling, because I could talk all night. But, geez, I really do want to talk sometimes.
In all honestly, I have always been the person in my many circles that organized the get-togethers, ensured the girls free drinks from the bars that we would close down, and throw my nieces and nephews the best Christmas parties ever.
And, it sucks not being able to be that person anymore. It sucks to not even have the energy to go to dinner, let alone host one. Fibro sucks. So, if I’m being honest, I don’t feel like my old self at all. And, I guess I’m a little afraid that my friends and family may not enjoy my company anymore, that I may not be as funny as they expect me to be, or as good at conversation as I once was. I definitely won’t close the bar down if I even make it. But, I guess I should tell them that. Because, as I write this I’ve realized that if I was them, I’d want to know.
So, here it goes. I miss you, all of you. And, I’m sorry for the excuses. Instead of reaching out to you when I’ve needed you most, I’ve hidden from you, and even lied to you. I’m sorry. And, if I am ever going to find myself again, I need you. So, from now on, I’ll be honest and tell you when I just don’t feel like putting a bra on to leave the house. And, maybe instead of canceling or postponing, you can just stop by. I’d love to see you. I would really love that.