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It's everything I want to tell people when they make small talk and profound talk, but I often can't. Sickness, sex, and the process of dealing with aging parents feel unspeakable and sometimes unreachable, but they sure aren't here.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Culture Shock

Two cultures.....[version two] Originally uploaded by shadowplay.

I often don't know how to create bridges from the organic realities of my life to what looks like the glossy pages of a healthy person's life. There's a grossness in having to be this tuned into my body, however involuntary it is, and it leaves me feeling as conspicuous as Lurch on a crack binge. The kicker? "You don't look sick." How should sick look? I swear people are watching too much Lifetime for Lobotomized Saps. Sickies are some of the most dynamic individuals I have met. Like everyone else, some look beautiful, and some don't. Some look awake, sad, curious, happy, defiant, and everything else. I don't have something as obvious as my walker on most days now, as long as I stick to the daily physical therapy. Even when I lost my hair and kept the strands, picked from the floor, my brush, and my pillow, in a silver pot like refugees, I didn't look "bad." I styled my hair to cover the nickel- and dime-sized bald spots. No one called me Baldy, and if I didn't have the time or energy to style it, I covered it with something.

Vanity became quite the defense mechanism.

Photo credit: "Two cultures.....[version two]" by shadowplay on flickr (click on link to see more of this artist's work). His portfolio is on his website Shadowplay Images. Permission for use.

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