Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quote It Saturday 3/24

Ah, the weekend.  We were camping last weekend- which was wonderful - but it left us without our usual catch-up, clean-up time on the weekend.  So, the house is a mess and the kitchen counters are overflowing with mail, school papers, college letters, etc.  That's my main project for today!  But first, while I lie on the couch and let me beta blockers kick in so I can be more active, I thought I'd take advantage of a tiny bit of free time to post another quote from a book I read recently that really resonated with me.

The book was The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, a very unusual novel about a girl who can taste the emotions of the cook in the food that she eats (read my review here).  Although her unique talent might seem like fun, it is actually a disability, something that restricts her life and sets her apart from her peers, as in this scene where she finds the feelings in her meal so unbearable and overwhelming that she wants to pull out her tongue and never eat again.  Of course, it is a very different disability that the ones that we all live with, but her observations on feeling isolated struck a chord with me:

"It can feel so lonely to see strangers out in the day, shopping, on a day that is not a good one.  On this one: the day I returned from the emergency room... Not an easy day to look at people in their vivid clothes, in their shining hair, pointing and smiling at colorful woven sweaters.


I wanted to erase them all.  But I also wanted to be them all, and I could erase them and want to be them at the same time."
          - from The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

These feelings - being torn between loathing and longing at the sight of normal people - are very familiar to me.  Even now, after 10 years of being sick and feeling fairly well-adjusted to my new normal, I still feel pangs like this, as I described in a post last year called Exercise Envy.  In another post, Living in a World Apart, I described that feeling of being different, separate from the people around me, even when those people are friends; I found my own feelings oddly echoed in the isolation felt by the young narrator of this book.

I think it is interesting how such feelings are so universal, no matter what maladies a person suffers from.  It makes me feel less alone.

10 comments:

  1. thanks for the post sue, it so echoes my recent experience, i was so happy i made it to the sweet 16 game to watch Marquette, it took a afternoon of rest, "gearing up" and when i got there, i just looked around at all these people, thinking the exact same thing - the next day i could hardly move, but i made it there and enjoyed myself - but i will be happy when i am just present, not loathing and longing! be well - heather

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    1. Sometimes, it's almost surreal to be out among "normal" people, isn't it? Knowing that you are so different than everyone around you and also that no one can see how different you are.

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  2. Great quote, Sue. Gives us pause and much to ponder. What you write here is so true for us across the board. Today i was watching some men walk all over a roof as they were laying shingles and I thought...wow....how strong their legs must be and they don't even realize it. I just wish I could walk around the house without so much pain...let alone on a roof..Loathing and longing....Grateful for my legs most of the time, but once in awhile loathing their weakness and longing for different legs too. Strong and healthy.

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    1. Yes, I understand completely, Renee. I feel a palpable envy when I drive past someone running - it makes me just about drool! Running...just imagine...

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  3. Comfort indeed to know others are experiencing the same -- I get that from your quote & from the online community where people "get it". I concur with you, Renee & the author ... loathing & longing - such daily feelings for those like us.

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  4. I have recurring dreams in which I can run, do yoga, walk in my hands in a handstand...I never had these dreams before CFS, whch entered my life twenty-four years ago next month. Thank you for this quote, Sue. What a sensitive reading of the girl's experience. You've made me want to read the novel.

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    1. Lara -

      I've noticed that in recent years, CFS has creeped into my dreams. I'll be doing something in my dream and suddenly think, "I can't do this - I'll crash!" I do sometimes fly in my dreams, though - that's always nice :)

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  5. I do my best not to compare myself with others. What really matters to me is how well I'm coping with my particular circumstances. Everyone has their own challenges to deal with, most of them invisible. But every now and again something happens to knock that off balance. I had invited some people around for a meal tonight and last night they cancelled. I felt so angry because of how much planning had to gone into this event, how I had to give up most of my day on friday to recover from doing the shopping for it, and how I'd missed out on another social event because I knew I wouldn't be able to do two things in a day. But it also anoyed me that it wound me up so much. I longed to be normal, to be able to be spontaneos, to not resent having invested so much energy in something that wasn't going to happen. It also felt very lonely, who would understand quite how much cancelling a dinner invitation could impact on someone? This morning I feel fine again. There are plenty of other things I can do with my day. I've got time I didn't expect to have, to read and respond to one of my favourite blogs! Last night I needed to be angry and hurt, to long to be normal, to loathe others for not understanding the challenges of my 'difference'. Today though I can get back to the task of making the most of what I've got. It helps to know I'm not alone. It helps to understand and accept my reaction as normal. Sharing is great for that! Thanks Sue.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and share your story. What a shame! You know, ill or not, cancelling at the last minute like that is just plain rude and inconsiderate, even if you were a healthy person. You had good reason to be upset. I hope you are able to reschedule sometime. Glad to hear you are feeling better about it now.

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  6. What an incredible quote! What insight to the invisible (or visible) things people have in their lives! It makes me want to cry.

    I also experienced that very recently. For me its hearing people talk about having a bug or the flu and how terrible they felt... couldnt do anything for days..... but they are feeling better and back to the "grind".... hurts my heart when I let it.

    Thanks so much for your blogs. They always help me to stay more positive!

    Blessings,
    Elaine

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