I debated whether or not to write a post today. Today was a long and exhausting day. Not much different from any other day that I leave the house. Except on this day, I didn't cry alone in my room or in the bathtub so I could easily wash away the tears in a safe place, by myself like I always do. Today, the last thing I wanted to do was think about my health issues and especially cry about them. But that is in fact exactly what ended up happening at my family Christmas party. Extended family Christmas party with cousins, aunts, uncles and all. Normally, I'd be humiliated. At first, I felt so embarassed for crying and letting my emotions get the best of me when asked about how I was handling things. But, I'm realizing that just because I cry in front of someone, doesn't mean that I'm weak. Crying isn't weakness. What I really learned today is that I've gone through hell and I'm still going through hell and I am so much stronger than I ever realized.
This is something I don't like to say about myself; that I'm strong. I find it strange for some reason to label myself as strong. Although it's true that I know better than anyone the strength I have had to summon to live through this past year, and especially these past couple of months. I have found a strength that I never knew I had. And sometimes, maybe people don't see it. I made a commitment when I started this blog to be honest and open and try to explain to the best of my ability, how it is to live with chronic pain. For me, writing is an outlet that helps me and makes me feel better. It's also a way for me to feel like I am contributing something to certain people in the world. Because of the commitment I made to this blog, I've decided to be as open as I feel I can be. That includes on this blog, on facebook, on instagram, etc. It bothers me when I know someone is struggling and hurting yet their facebook profile is filled with happy memes, and smiling photos. If you're hurting, that's okay. If you're going through something, that's okay too. Social media wasn't designed for us to express our hurt and our pain. Social media provides this filter that we view other people's lives through. A happy filter, an excited filter, a success filter, a perfect family filter, a relationship-goals filter. But there's no depression filter, no mental illness filter, no chronic pain filter, no disease filter, no hurt filter, no loneliness filter.
What I'm getting at is that I've had a few people comment that I should "probably keep personal things, personal." Let me tell you this, we live in a world where social media is the norm and we find out that our friends got engaged on facebook through a cute photo or a heart-warming status update. We see photos of people's weddings on our timeline's instead of seeing it after it was pulled out of someone's wallet. We learn of pregnancies through adorable photos that suggest a growing bump, or a pair of excited soon-to-be-parent's. So if this is normal, if this is acceptable, if this is the world that we now live in; why can't I share my news? My news isn't beautiful, adorable, heart-warming or exciting. My news is sad, painful, upsetting, and troubling. But it's honest and it's real. This is my news and I believe that if social media is going to play such a huge role in our lives, that it shouldn't just be a place for the happy filter, but for the pain filter as well.
I am well aware that some people may read this post and shake their heads or just scoff at the fact that this blog exists at all. I am well aware that pain is personal, but so is happiness, so is joy, so is love and family. But we share those things openly, and pain shouldn't be any different. Especially in the case of someone whose life is so constantly affected by it. The honesty and openess that I have maintained throughout this journey on social media has brought me so much hope and so much support. I don't know where I would be if I didn't start this blog, or if my online support groups didn't exist, or if I didn't receive the loving and supportive comments from facebook friends, kind strangers and fellow chronic pain lifers. I guess it's hard for some people to understand, but being in my position, the online community is one of the better places to find support. I just want to be clear, I'm not writing to post to defend myself to those that may think I share too much or to try to convince anyone that what I'm doing is right. I'm just doing what I always do; I'm writing honestly about what I feel.
If social media is a part of our lives, then I'm going to envoke the pain filter. And that is not a negative statement.