It’s Wednesday, so the story continues.
Picking up from last week -
I said I was going to talk about how I was a pain in the butt to the people in my life. And boy, was I ever.
A fair number of people around my life didn’t know I was sick. I tried to keep it pretty well under wraps (for the most part). (Remember, this is back in 2009. I didn’t have Facebook, or Twitter, or anything… Ah, the simpler times…)
But even though I was trying to keep it somewhat hush hush – once your teachers know, students know. Of course it also ends up getting around to everyone at work (and my dad’s work). My being sick became this information that was spreading like a virus.
I did not know how to deal with worried care being thrust upon me. Stephen and my lovely high school theater teacher were really the only two people who could kind of calm me enough into being willing to be cared for.
Maybe it’s a little hasty to say only those two – I did have a couple of really great phone conversations with some close friends. But, usually I was doing my best to push people away. It was a weird time.
On the one hand, I had a lot of time to kill in the hops. (I got a ton of writing done! (There are few better places to write a musical than the hospital.)) But, because it’s the social norm to have visitors, there was a part of me that wanted time with visitors to fill some of those hours upon hours of hanging out in a room.
However, my desire to not have visitors far outweighed my desire to have them. I had SO many people around me all the time. I was already overwhelmed between the doctors, nurses, other patients, and the super kind family (visiting one of my hospital roommates) who brought me ice cream and magazines. I couldn’t handle having any more friends on top of that!
I remember I kind of blew up a little at one of my professors when he encouraged a girl from my class to come see me. (I was not friends with this girl.) And I got angry. “Why are people talking about me? Why are people sharing the details of my hospital stays? Everybody leave me alone, already!” When I heard she was coming, I felt panicked. I thought, “I’m trapped! I can’t just make an excuse and leave!” (In the end, she didn’t visit after all.)
There was a sweet guy in one of my classes who offered to come play board games with me. (I adore board games!) As people kept offering to visit, it made me so annoyed how much attention was being paid to me while I was sick. (How completely ungrateful and horrible am I?)
Part of the reason I was annoyed was – Why don’t we ever make time for each other and play board games just because we’re friends? Why don’t we ever celebrate people, and tell them how much they’re loved purely because we love them?
(This is totally aimed at me as well – not just out at the world.)
When I was in the hospital, I had an insane number of people looking out for me. I was being completely cared for 24/7. And I had cable! And internet! (Two things I did not have in my apartment.) I was fine. I was more than fine. I was living in an interesting, complete world full of interesting characters.
The hospital is the only place I can think of where I don’t need extra love.
I need love all the time. (Life is hard!) I need love after I get rejected from a writing program, or after I have an awful improv class, or when a great job ends and I can’t find another one. I need love just by sheer virtue of living in California. But I don’t need love for being ill.
Yet, we as humans usually don’t do the greatest job of loving people just because, or really being there for them over the small things. Sometimes people would say, “Oh, well, being in the hospital outranks any tiny problems I have.” No it doesn’t. Whenever my friends would feel as though they couldn’t complain to me because I was going through something “real” – I found that to be a little silly.
Being sick is no more “real” than having a bad haircut, or breaking a pair of sunglasses, or moving to a different place or any problem at all. A problem is real if it’s real for the person going through the problem.
And this is where I’ll pick up next week.