My Weekly Update posts are always personal since I usually update you all about my life, but today’s is going to be even more personal than usual.
I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog that I have a chronic illness. I generally don’t like to specify it as CFS/ME partly because, thanks to the awful name (chronic fatigue syndrome), people tend to think, “Oh, so you’re tired? I’m tired too. Just push through it!” which isn’t how it works, and partly because there is no test to diagnose it—you have to get tested for and rule out a whole bunch of other things and then use a set of criteria—which always makes me wonder if maybe I just happen to have some obscure thing I wasn’t tested for or something I was tested for but that didn’t show up or that someone missed. I also generally don’t like to talk about it all, partly because I’ve always been a private person in general, and partly because, almost every time I tell anyone, the responses I get just make me feel even worse and less understood than if I hadn’t said anything at all, even if they’re well-intentioned.
But I’ve been thinking about something lately, and then, when I happened to search “chronic illness” on Tumblr the other day, I came across a bunch posts about the same thing I’d been thinking which, I guess, bolstered my resolve to also talk about it. It’s easy for those of us with disability to only show one side of ourselves and our lives—the good side. So that’s the only side that many able people see. And I feel like that’s just as harmful in how it contributes to the stigmas and misconceptions about disability out there. As is the idea that everyone with a disability is supposed to always be happy and inspirational and cover up our struggles and put on a brave face. I mean, the other week I typed out a tweet that said something like, “Been sitting in the grocery store parking lot for half an hour b/c I drove here but now don’t feel well enough to actually go inside and shop.” But then I deleted it because I felt like I would be judged for saying something negative, for not being all cheery, happy, “Life is amazing and I can do everything!” since that seems to be the only side of disability that’s ever portrayed or accepted. But I shouldn’t feel like that. No one should. I’m not saying people should focus on the negatives, just that they do exist, and sometimes disability sucks, and pretending otherwise doesn’t benefit anyone.
Don’t worry, my blog is still going to be about books, nothing is changing, but from here on out, you might see me mention these types of things more often in my weekly updates and my social media posts because it’s the reality of chronic illness and it won’t ever be understood or unstigmatized if it’s not talked about. I’m absolutely not saying everyone with disability has to talk about it, just that I think I want to.
To start off, I will say that I have been struggling more than usual lately. All the stress I’ve been under has worsened my usual 24/7 symptoms, like exhaustion and cognitive things (yep, in addition to physical symptoms, CFS/ME also causes things like brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems), and the symptoms that tend to come and go, like headaches and shakiness, have decided they like it here and want to hang around more often. But I’m still chuggin’ along and mostly getting done the things that need to be done, so it’s tough, but nothing to panic about. And I’m still blogging not because I feel obligated but because it makes me happy and I want to. But if I don’t comment as often or if any of my comments seem weird or loopy or forgetful, this is why. The cognitive symptoms are the ones that cause me the most difficulty when it comes to blogging.
Anyway, whew! I know that was long. But if you read the entire thing, thank you <3 If you learned something or simply thought about something you never had before or were able to relate in any way, that makes me happy :-) Even if you didn’t read the whole thing, thank you too just for visiting because you may be super busy or have your own problems to worry about or also have trouble concentrating or any number of reasons for not being able to read a long blog post.
In less serious news, I spent like ten minutes today giving belly rubs to one of the cats who lives nearby and hangs out outside:
I feel like cats who like belly rubs are probably in the minority, but this one sure loves ’em! And that’s it for this week, so now for the bookish stuff!
I’ve got a giveaway starting tomorrow! But you’ll have to come back to see what book it’s for ;-) Sorry to my international friends though, it’s US only.
Also, I was not expecting my post about high school in real life vs. high school in books to be so interesting! But I have been loving all the comments and getting to learn about the different high school experiences people have had, especially in other countries where apparently some things are really different. I’m also a little horrified though that everyone in other countries thought all American schools must be like what they show in books/movies since that’s how it’s always portrayed, haha.
Books I Received for Review:
Look, Ma, no review copies! Aren’t you guys proud of me?
Books I Finished:
Disability, uncommon paranormal creatures, and vampires—I kicked ass at my reading goals last week!
Broken Mirror was a good book, just maybe not quite for me—too much description of the history/politics/geography of the alternate world. Good character development though! Sugar Scars… fantastic premise and disability rep (Type 1 Diabetes), good story, but I had some fairly big issues. I didn’t expect Gargoyle to be great, I just wanted to FINALLY read about an uncommon supernatural creature this year and read something light and quick, but it managed to be even worse than I thought it would be -_- Plot holes, grammar/word errors, flat characters, and the book started with a 20% long sex scene before I even knew who the characters were. Thankfully Surrender the Dark was great! Well, the disability rep not so much since a magical ability partially cancelled out the blindness, but the rest was great!
Song of the Week:
“I’m Tired & I Hate This Song (Don’t Go) by Cyberbully Mom Club – Once again, no particular reason for choosing this song. I just found it recently and like it.
In Case You Missed It:
– I shared book covers featuring New York City.
– I reviewed Bleed Through by Adriana Arrington, an intense and gripping paranormal about a character with schizophrenia.
– I discussed high school in real life vs. high school in books.
– I reviewed Warlock in Training by TJ Nichols, a M/M urban fantasy with a unique take on magic and demons.
The Sunday Post Link-Up:
Once again, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer :-)