Why Being Honest Is Hard For Me

I’m tired of feeling like I have to contort my true feelings about chronic illness to make others more comfortable.

Megan Klenke
Dec 3, 2019 · 3 min read
Dark photo of a paved road curving into a forest. There are shadowy trees on either side of the road.
Dark photo of a paved road curving into a forest. There are shadowy trees on either side of the road.
Photo by Thanos Pal on Unsplash

Why is it so hard for me to be honest?

I’ve been trying to write this for eight years now, and I’m still floundering.

I’m sick. Let’s start there. I’ve been sick for over eight years.

I’m the kind of sick that people don’t think could happen to them. I’m the kind of sick that nobody asks about.

I’m chronically ill.

Nobody wants to know what living with this sickness is like, so they don’t ask. I think that’s why this has been so hard for me to write. Because nobody really wants to know the truth.

The truth is ugly, brutal, unpleasant. The truth is that I couldn’t think of a more hellacious life than this. The truth is that I’ve spent the past eight years living in my own personal hell. A hell so intimate that it feels like home.

I used to be a dancer. From the age of three, dancing was all that I wanted to do all the time. Dance was my thing, it was my passion. Dancing made me who I was.

What’s the worst thing that could happen to a dancer? Living in a body that betrays you.

It was a danger so insidious that I didn’t even have the sense to fear it. Sure, injury was a threat constantly hanging over my head. But that wouldn’t happen to me, it couldn’t.

And then it did. And then it never got better. And then it got worse.

I’m speaking of all this in very vague terms, and that’s because it’s not the point. My history is just the story of how I got so incredibly messed up.

That’s what I’m really here to talk about — the mess that I am now. Nobody wants to know how screwed up I am, but the need to admit it, the need to shout it, has been bubbling up for the past eight years.

Being sick has wholeheartedly fucked me up.

Being chronically ill has robbed me of everything I ever was and all that I could have been. It has taken away my ability to dance, which was my greatest passion in life, the thing I was good at, the thing that was mine, the thing that made me myself. It has robbed me of every opportunity I’ve had to make a life for myself. It has caused many dear friends, people I thought would never leave, to abandon me.

Chronic illness has stolen my body, it has stolen my ability to think clearly, it has stolen my choices, it has stolen my relationships, it has stolen my freedom, it has stolen my safety, it has stolen my identity…what else is there to say?

Being sick has taken everything from me. And I don’t think I’ve ever allowed myself to admit that. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to conjure up some sort of positivity from this, trying to advocate for a hope that I don’t feel myself.

It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting trying to contort your true feelings to make others more comfortable. And I’m tired of feeling like I have to.

This didn’t end up being nearly as long as I expected it to be, but it feels like enough. I’ve said what I’ve needed to say for so many years.

And again, I’m floundering for a way to end this. Without veering into some sort of fake positive message, I can honestly say that one source of hope I still have is that maybe me sharing this will help someone. And for now, that’s gotta be enough.

No End In Sight is a place to read and share stories about chronic illness in our own voices. You can also listen to these types of stories on the No End In Sight Podcast.

Do you want to share your own story about chronic illness? Here’s everything you need to know.

Previously on No End In Sight —Paying The Sick Tax

Megan Klenke

Written by

No End In Sight

No End In Sight is a place for people living with chronic illness to talk about health in their own voices. We’re looking for personal stories about your experience with chronic illness. No advice, no listicles.

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