Before More Than Lyme: A Brief History Of Then and Now + Why I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way
It's around 8am and I find myself on the floor with a blanket in my lap, sipping my coffee while watching the snow melt off the trees in the backyard. The keyboard sits right in front of me, watching my every move as my eyes are fixate on anything but the task at hand.
Now, you may be wondering, why write something if it doesn't bring you immediate joy? Why sit here and "force" yourself to dive into moments that to this day, tie a knot in your stomach and make your heart flutter and skip a beat (in the anxious kind of way). Why oh why would I want to do this to myself when I could be sipping my coffee elsewhere, mind on the bluebird skies and dog that needs walking?
It's simple really, because though I have shared much of my story, and often it feels like too much, I purposefully dance around these moments with fluffed up words and relatable anecdotes. I skip and hop until I have reached the safe zone, only looking back to realize that I have left you with a story that yes, brings to light many important things, but also skips over much of what makes me who I am today.
These "uncomfortable zones," they look different for everyone, so just as a disclosure, know that I do not wish to discredit your experiences, rather, I am simply pushing myself to do something that I have skipped over so many times before, and welcoming you to do the same if you feel so inclined.
Warning: You're in for the long haul...
Taking you back five years...
Hands cradling my head, I am certain that I can not only feel, but hear my heartbeat vibrating my skin and everything around me. I want to call my mom but you see, things are complicated. The trust that she had in me has been broken too many times, and though I know she would be here in no time, I don't want to do that to her.
I am tired of those worried side glances and concerned brows, feeling like I need to lie every time someone asks me if I'm ok, and it turns, much of what I say these days is a lie. For instance, I am in a unhealthy relationship that has encouraged me to be this person that I am not. To lie, run, suppress, and be ashamed of the sensitive, empathetic, loving, and kind person that I know - that I knew - myself to be. And no, I don't know what's wrong with me. Have I been denying the fact that Lyme Disease is once again thriving in my body? Maybe, but I don't know.
These symptoms are different. I'm heavy, clouded, anxious, depressed, and that creative spark that normally rushes through my veins, is gone. I have no desire to do anything, especially after having dropped out of school with tremors that forced me to write all my papers through a voice activated system. And though I am grateful for that system, it disconnected me from the one thing that encouraged me to keep going: writing.
How the heck did I get here? What went wrong? More importantly, I don't think there is a way out. I think this is me, so I either have to learn to be okay with the fact that things are different for me now, or run.
Run as far away as I possibly can.
I don't sleep, eat, or take care of myself. I have become detached from who I know myself to be, devoting myself to a relationship that thrives off of manipulation and unhealthy habits. That has me up every night either running away from that voice telling me to get out, or shaking, screaming, and seizing in my bed until the ambulance is called by my roommates and I am once more taken to the ER to be told that no, nothing is wrong with me.
Oh good, I must be crazy then.
And so the denying, pushing away, lying, suppressing, and depression continued. And though certainly not sustainable, I really did feel like it was my only option. After all, just knowing that I had broken my families trust so many times had me running even further away from who I knew myself to be.
I didn't want to face it because facing it mean't turning around and looking at the pile of rubble that once resembled my confidence, self worth, trust in myself and in others, and love. Love for who I am and what I do. I didn't see myself as someone worth loving, so why would I even try to mend these broken pieces? Why would I even attempt to face these moments that turned my world and my families world upside down?
Now, I'm not sure exactly when things began to change direction, maybe right around when I was let go from my job at Free People. At first, it broke me, but then, the world began to open up. I actually wanted to look for a job that motivated and inspired me to to wake up, eat breakfast (not just yogurt covered pretzels), and walk out the door. To be ok with the idea that maybe school wasn't for me. That maybe this relationship I'm in is doing more harm than good, and the pain and discontent I'm feeling inside is real and is worth addressing.
Welcome back, Chloe.
I suppose saying welcome back is a little drastic, but during that time it really did feel like that. It really did feel like running wasn't the only option. That this life of mine, it was worth it. Rather, I truly believed that I was worth it.
Working at a little coffee shop during the day, and housesitting at night, my days felt structured and full of purpose. Sure, there were still many things that needed to be addressed, and much of me remained in denial about how sick I really was, but the important thing was, I was getting there in my own way. I was forgiving myself, and in turn, I felt comfortable enough to bring myself back into my families life, sharing with them more and more each day. Though so much still felt wrong, this felt right, and deep down I knew that resurgence of my fire was going to take me places. Was going to help to keep building upon this life of mine in ways I never could have imagined.
So I kept going. Working and making sure I fed myself and got enough sleep. And soon, my mind began to wander. I longed for wide open space and less city lights. I craved hiking, writing, connection, and love. I longed to build on this new-found relationship with myself in ways that the city didn't have to offer.
I wanted to heal.
I remember my brother walking into the coffee shop that I then worked at, ordering his usual cappuccino, making sure I got the foam just right. By that time, we were climbing at the nearby climbing gym together. It felt good to move my body again, even in small doses, and most importantly, it felt good to have that connection again. To feel like I was worth being trusted and cared for.
Anyways, back to the coffee shop. He ordered his cappuccino, I made it, and then suddenly, just as he was taking his first sip, I burst into tears. Though I didn't know it, I was ready. Ready to break up with my boyfriend. Ready to quit my job. Ready to take this hard work and put it in an environment that it could thrive in. Little did I know at the time, this place would be Bend, Oregon, and I would find myself with someone who loved me without question, and who also happened to be my brothers' best friend.
Funny, all it took was having my brother walk in and order a cappuccino...
Now, here I am, looking up at these bluebird skies while waist deep in moments that I am still struggling to face. And you know, it wasn't until I moved to Bend that my body gave out on me. That I was unable to walk, talk, or do much of anything really. But what I did have was this trust with myself. With everything that I knew to be true: I was worth it, I was brave, and I was going to get through this no matter what.
That trust, it saved me, and even though it took a crazy long time to get here, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Because now, no matter how bad things get, I can see myself thriving in all that I already have, rather than what I don't. And surprisingly (as this is by far the longest Real Talk to date), this is a mere smidgen of my story. Of how I got here, but it is a mere smidgen more than what I was able to share yesterday, and that is huge.
That in itself is worth celebrating. So whatever you have to share now, share it, knowing that there is no rush or pressure to put it all out on the table now.
We will be here whenever you're ready, ok?
Yeah, we've so got this,