a work in progress

feeling the love

I think the most difficult side effect of chronic pain is the one about which I talk the least. Isolation. I start each day hoping for no plans or forced social engagement and often dread these additions to my calendar because it’s under these conditions that my symptoms are managed best.* But, in spite of the fact that I have worked hard to convince myself that life is better this way, I know it’s not.

After years of responding with “no” or “I can’t” to kind invitations, the opportunities to be social have significantly decreased. And it really sucks. My body wants one thing, my heart wants another, and my mind is sick of watching TV.

The moments when I’m craving social interaction and can’t seem to get anyone on board are the most difficult. This is when I feel the heavy weight of chronic pain even more than when my pain is at its worst. The rational side of me knows that I am surrounded by the most caring people in the world, but on the bad days it can be a difficult, if not an impossible, thing to remember.

So, if I’m going to follow my own advice, I have to ask myself : when these times come around, what is the only variable I can control? The answer : my reaction. I have to override that voice that says I’m alone in all of this. To help me get there when I’m a(n) physical / emotional wreck, I made a little something to serve as a constant reminder of all that I have.


The project started with four wire grid panels similar to what you might find in a freshman dorm room.  But instead of building a shelving unit that will topple over before the second semester, I hung them on the wall {using removable hooks} to make a square.


With a mix of brass clips and mini wooden clothespins, I arranged some of my favorite cards and notes I’ve received over the years. It’s a collection of kind words that those around me have taken the time to send. The cards used to be tucked away in a box on a shelf, only resurfacing for a moment every six months or so. But now they are out in the open to remind me of what I have on the days when all I can remember is what I’ve lost.

And not only does it make me feel insanely popular, but also really fucking artsy! What a deal.



*How’s that for a run-on sentence?!

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