When I’m out a lot “in the public” like I was this weekend (I now see my life in two buckets: away from home and miserable and at home and less miserable), I’m acutely aware of the vast distance between how things look and how things feel. Such is the reality of living life with an “invisible” illness.
Like a ballerina, and against my every will to live without pretense, I find myself rising to the expectations of the audience, agreeing to take first position on the dance floor, keeping my composure when, beneath taut exterior packaging, I am cracking and bruised.
The more I struggle with it, the more I know this is not simply the friction between presentation and authenticity. This is, at least in my mind, like choosing between two questions:
Do you want to dance?
Or do you want to lie down and die?
I’m sure there’s an answer that’s viable between the extremes. But I don’t have the expression for it yet. At least not when I’m in the world, with the regulars, with all their bated breath and their ovations.
For now, I put on my shoes. I just don’t know how to face the crowd without them.
[photo by Henry Leutwyler :: New York City Ballet]