My Mother, in an effort to give advice on things that could help my mood and mental fortitude, pointed out that there is never music playing in the house and reminded me that my number one rule of life, written in fading marker on an A4 page taped to her kitchen wall, was: NEVER BE WITHOUT MUSIC. I glowered at her. “I’m too exhausted to go downstairs and find a cd.” “It might help bring some joy back into your life”, she suggested. I went back to grimacing silently in pain.
A little later, she tried again: “You could even listen to music on your phone?” “Yeah, I do, but it just makes me emotional and I’m trying NOT to be emotional. Every time I’m upset, my symptoms get worse. Every time my symptoms get worse, I get more upset. So, I’m staying away from music.” “Not all music will make you upset…”, she said. I think I growled in reply.
Four hours later, I’m alone in the house. I go out to the front porch and watch the warm, beautiful October day. I realise I haven’t actually listened to any music since September 13th when I was at the dog park feeling so good, before the Crash Of The Year. So, I put my headphones on and plugged into my “Guilty Pleasures” playlist. It’s the poppy or hip-hoppy, beat-heavy, fun stuff that makes me feel empowered — like I can do backflips, like I’m one of the stars of Grease/Fame/Glee, like I’m young and strong and athletic. And then… I was smiling. I was swaying. I was elevated. And, even though I knew I couldn’t, I was itching to run, to dance, to sing at the top of my lungs, to compete in the Olympics… And I had the thought: Fuck you, disease. I got this. You think a little pain and exhaustion is gonna do me in? You think daily flu will break me? I’m made of sterner stuff than that. You don’t get to ruin my life. I’ve got nieces and nephews to watch grow up. I’ve got dogs that need to be played with.
It feels like weeks since I felt a little bit of that strength, confidence, happiness. Mother always knows best.