I hate clowns and I have hated them since I was a kid. I was also afraid of them when I was a kid. Unfortunately, my four year old has the same fear. As an adult, clowns still give the creeps. Living with chronic illness, sometimes I feel like a clown who can’t wash off her makeup.
I say this because sometimes I don’t feel like I am in control. The flare-ups, the fevers, the pain and other symptoms are often out of my control. They also make feel silly. I am only 37 years old and sometimes, when I stand up, I am walking like a clown. My swollen feet feel like I am wearing those big ugly clown shoes. My swollen face and dry eyes – it is like I can’t wash that clown makeup off. My swollen wrists and hands, I feel like I am wearing an ugly polyester clown outfit that makes my skin crawl. My knees and hips ache as if I have been sitting too long in a tiny, red and ugly clown car with way too many clowns in it.
I am not a happy clown either. Aren’t clowns supposed to be happy? I am a clown with a sad face. That is because of the depression that sometimes really hits me like a dodge ball. There am I, the clown that was hit by a dodge ball. Seriously, who the heck wants to be silly, ugly clown that people laugh it? That is depressing in of itself.
I managed to find beauty and humor in living with RA and fibro. I have learned to be stronger than most. Lately, however, with the depression, it is been harder to be strong. I am sick and I am not going into remission any time soon. I used to think that once I accepted the fact that remission wouldn’t happen, I would be free from the burden of desperately wanting remission. Even though I know and accept this now, I find myself wondering why life is so unfair.
That is why sometimes I feel like a clown who can’t wash off her makeup. I feel like I am a fake. Before when I thought remission was possible, I felt stronger. But here I am finishing my fifth year with RA. While I am not as bad as I expected to be, I am not better. After a while, something like that takes a toll on a person. The thing is, I still hate clowns and I feel like one right about now.
I want to feel strong like I always have been but life has thrown some nasty curveballs at me in the last few years. Illness, financial issues, my brother’s illness and death, my mom’s stroke and marriage issues. I am finally coming up for some air but dealing with all this stuff and looking confident is a disguise.
I finally realized that I don’t have be strong and confident all the time. Except that’s another reason that I feel like a clown. I want to be confident and I want the people that I know to see me that way but lately, it is not possible. I have accepted that I am chronically ill and that I am depressed but it is hard stuff.
Acceptance is hard thing. I have spent so much time playing the tough and now, I just feel like a fool – a clown who can’t wash that makeup. And I hate clowns so much. So now, I have got to work on not being a clown. That should be all but easy.