It isolates everyone who comes too close, and my darling husband, you are the closest.
Husband, I choose you
I pull off my baggy jumper, revealing layers off disgust and shame. He loves to watch me in these moments, appearing in the corner of the mirror that fills half the wall opposite our shower, as if by design, this house was meant for him and his game. An intruder in my own home, a second player in my marriage, that my husband did not sign up too.
He-‘Ed’ is slowly destroying my mind. I hate how he speaks to me; compelled to follow his orders, knowing this pushes you, my darling husband, further away. I hate how he invades our living room, bedroom, silencing me from connecting with you. A guessing game, you sometimes call it, the answers buried deep in my mind.
I turn the tap to the left, the hottest of water can’t ever seem to warm my bones. My eyes close, nothing good to see here. The water falls hastily down my body. I look down to see the slightly tainted water trickle towards the drain, washing away each layer of pain.
Our friends go on with life- weddings, babies, buying houses, all streaming by us, as if he has frozen us in time. An isolating bubble, perhaps at first the result of the shame of it all, but now, trapped, by not knowing how to explain how bad it really has become. Sure, I am functioning, I look ‘normal,’ so people say that is a sign I am doing ok. We must be doing ok.
An invisible illness, life threatening, that has consumed our last few years. But we are expected to be doing ok? It’s harder for you husband, your role in this even more invisible then the illness itself. It isolates everyone who comes too close, and my darling husband, you are the closest.
At times, I want to give up but instead I keep walking, a prisoner in my own mind. Quietly destroying my own self-worth, one harsh, judgmental thought at a time. Silenced by own my fears: wanting to scream out that I am heading to a dark tunnel that doesn’t end, but no sound can come out. Holding it together, ‘doing ok’ looks like someone is coping right next to you. Until they are not.
Husband, I know at times you walk in this tunnel with me, shining the torch on the pathway out of this hellish illness. I know you often wonder why I keep choosing him instead of you. I know you lay awake at night, worried, he will eventually win. But listen to me. I am choosing you. With every bite of food, resisting every self-defeating thought, I keep choosing you. I won’t stop trying until he is far, far away from us. So patiently, please wait.
As I grabbed my towel and buried my face in it, I felt a moment of peace. Free of disgust, blinded to the world around me. In these moments, I am unapologetically me.