Dear not refrigerators,
This morning I woke up after a rare good night of sleep,and with my Blink-182 hoodie and bleary eyes stumbled into the kitchen, looking forward to my usual breakfast of some type of fruit and some type of cereal. I opened the freezer to grab my gluten free raisin bread, expecting it to be rock solid as it should be;instead, my bread was at maximum smoosh-pacity. I rummaged through the freezer and found that most everything else was, too.
After I frantically txted my boyfriend and then my landlord, I sat at the kitchen table glaring at the fridge. “You fucking traitor,” I thought. You see, having a refrigerator fail sucks for anyone. It sucks even more when a person doesn’t have an abundance of money, and it sucks most when that’s added to the fact that I have several illnesses and one disease that make it so that I cannot eat at any restaurants, ever, and even 50% of gluten free food that is ready made I still cannot have because they contain other allergens of mine. It’s a real clusterfuck. I had to throw away half of the food we had, including my butter pecan ice cream and a large gluten free pizza. Rip my heart out, why don’t you.
Thankfully, I have what can only be described as the best landlord ever; within two hours my txt, he left me a voicemail telling me that our new refrigerator would be delivered Friday. That’s absolutely amazing, honestly. Until then, we’d have to function out of a cooler, which really isn’t that big of a deal. Unless you’re like me. Then it is an extremely big deal, because despite needing badly to go to the store and get a bag of ice, I’m incapable of lifting it. Out of everything that I cannot do, the fact that my boyfriend now has to drive 35 minutes in the rain from work to bring me ice, then drive back to continue working because he has a disabled girlfriend who can’t do it herself fucking stings. I live four blocks from a 7-11, and I can’t get ice, because if I lift anything even slightly heavy, my spine, neck, and shoulders fall apart.
It’s strange how the moments that bring brutal reminders of my disabilities are often small ones, such as watching people dance on television and realizing I can’t do the same, being the only one in a restaurant not eating, or needing something very simple that I can’t do myself. The amount of frustration I feel is overwhelming; I’m frustrated, disappointed, and filled to the brim with anger. So now I sit here uselessly, writing out my irateness while my food warms in my fridge, awaiting my exhausted boyfriend, a cooler, and a single bag of fucking ice because of a damn refrigerator failure. Ugh.
In the grand scheme of my life, the refrigerator failing is not a travesty. The waste of all my food bothers me greatly, especially being raised by immigrants who told stories of starving after WWII destroyed their country. I’ve cried twice today because of this. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that my tears are not for the wasted food or my broken fridge, but are for the utter hopelessness I feel every time I need to do something that I can’t. It’s a reminder that I’m not like everyone else, and that many people don’t believe me when I tell them that, because most of my illnesses are invisible.
Getting a bag of ice is not such a life altering task, but there are many other things with far worse implications I must do that I cannot. I can’t see the doctors I need to because I can’t afford it, and soon won’t even have health insurance. I can’t work a normal job to make the money I need to survive because of my illnesses and diseases. I am in constant pain because of them, and sometimes can’t even bring myself to get out of bed to complete a task easier than buying ice, such as making my usual breakfast. Unfortunately, my life as a chronically ill person is indefinitely filled with I can’t…and it is terrifying.
Whenever I am forced to say, “I can’t,” due to my health, it makes me hate myself a little more each time. I’m angry at how much I have to rely on others to get me through what seem like only minor troubles turned into massive problems simply because I am myself. But I did not choose to be chronically ill and I did not bring it upon myself in any way. Still there are times when I think I could do more, or maybe I can lift the bag of ice if I just tried harder. Most of my life I have been told everything was my fault, and that I was lazy and worthless, or that I wasn’t doing enough. And sometimes, I still believe that. However, I think way, way deep down in my mind, beyond the anger and all the blackness left in there by others, I know that it isn’t my fault. At worst, I am the product of terrible genes. At best, I am a sick girl trying her best, despite the terrible genes and all.
. If I were talking to someone who was identical to me, who blamed themselves for everything they endured, I know for a fact that I would tell them to be kinder to themselves, and that the guilt and anger they inflict upon themselves is only detrimental to their mental and physical health. I’d tell them that they were only doing their best, and that their well-being must come first sometimes for their own safety. I’d explain that it’s alright that they aren’t “average,” and can’t do everything in the same way most people do. I’d tell them that there could be a new version of normal, a beautiful, fabulous type of life that was just for them, created by them through the effort of themselves and those they love, as well as a good deal of time.
I’d tell them that even on the days when it’s stormy outside and the fridge breaks and their anxiety seems to have rocketed straight to moon, it would be alright in the end.
That’s what I’d tell them.
I can swear I feel the beating of a cold, cold heart,
Or there’s a chill, ’cause it’s showing through your clothing,
And as far as I can tell there is nothing under your v-neck tee.
I’m begging, I’m begging, I’m begging you please now,
Tell me that you want me, tell me that you need me.
Tell me ’cause I’d like to know.
Won’t you stop teasing me? Won’t you you take it easy?
Tell me ’cause I’d like to know.
You’re never gonna go.