As I sit in the handicap shower stall, propping my leg up on the bar so i can shave, i notice my surroundings and how i'm feeling.
My foot is propped all the way up on the bar because my hip is flexible, but i am in pain because because my joint is flexible. My hip tendons don't hold themselves up anymore, and my leg muscles are getting weaker and weaker.
I choke back tears because if anyone saw me using the handicap shower, they would think that i was being rude because of other people that LOOK handicap that need the shower.
Because they see me, and in their mind, they probably see me as a healthy, strong, young woman. Where the funny reality is inside my body that's not who i am.
During my workout, i had to be careful with my heart rate because i started having chest pains. So a lot of cardio was out of the question. I had to be careful stretching because my tendons were popping and my knees were crunching. I had to be careful with my weight lifting because I was feeling very weak.
Today is just not a physically good day.
But i will be ok because I am strong of heart, and i will make it through today because i am here. Today i will need to rest, today i will not get to all the chores in my head that i think i need to do. Because today i need to take care of me. And today, i need to remember that it's not anybody else's business if i feel like i need to use a cane or the handicap shower stall.
That is my business, and I need it. Just because I don't have handicap stamped on my forehead doesn't mean that I can't use that facility. Because inside, that's what my body needs.
Today I am going to be very careful about engaging in conversation with other people because the way i'm physically feeling, I may start crying in the middle of a conversation. I'm going to keep silent as much as possible and I'm going to keep my little safety bubble around myself.
Today I need calm and relaxing and ice and heat.
... This is what invisible illness looks like.