Undressed Emotions


I guess I will get my emotions dressed up for you. You seem to handle them better with make-up on. All nice and pretty and seemingly unaffected by the storm of life happening around me. I don’t like to pretend but I can’t handle the pain of my feelings being used against me. So, I will disguise them in humor or unrealistic optimism and perhaps a bit of exhausted joy just for you. Then, you will feel better about me. And my diseases.

Every day I wake up, in the middle of the night, like tonight, and I live my life with diseases that let their presence be known. Always. Every single day. I don’t forget that I have them. Ever. My body won’t let me and neither will my heart and mind. That’s the definition of chronic. But I make a conscious decision daily: I choose to rise above the pain, the frustrations, the inconveniences, and the disabilities. It’s an extremely delicate balancing act which is difficult because I’ve always been a bit clumsy. If I talk about it too much, I’m perceived as letting the disease control me or define me. If I don’t talk about it all, I’m somehow resilient yet I feel ashamed, dishonest and like I’m denying myself of tiny, yet powerful everyday kind-of luxuries that I grant to those whom I love. When I say luxuries, I mean vulnerability, compassion, grace, forgiveness and honesty.

Most days, if you looked in on my life, you would never know the burdens that I carry. Because I probably don’t want you to. I don’t want your pity, your hopeless looks or your unintentional alienation. I also don’t want to feel so damn different that I become the chameleon who is awkwardly late to adjust to her new surroundings. I know I’m different. But I also believe that, thankfully, we all are. There’s no possible way that nearly twenty years of chronic disease cannot impact your physical, mental and emotional well-being. It affects who you are, how you relate to others and all the ways that you live your life.

If I show you or tell you about a horrible experience or a day that will make you want to cry, it’s because I trust you to handle my disease in a dignifying way. Or perhaps I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of my pride or privacy in hopes that you will grow in your understanding, compassion or sensitivity to others around you. I’m not trying to gain attention to boost my ego. But is it helpful when people who I value encourage me? Yes. Especially in the moments when I’ve been wounded so deeply that I’m tempted to never speak of this disease again.

I will pull myself back up again and remind myself that oftentimes I speak for a group whose voice has been muffled or lost or ignored. Or misunderstood.

I will write for the mothers who are too damn tired because I have strength in this moment. I will write for the daughters who are scared and hopeless and feel excluded. I will write for the boys and men who have been told they should keep fighting yet that they’re not supposed to cry. I will write for anybody who has ever been momentarily bullied by life. I will write for all those who feel the shivering, aching presence of grief. I will always write because the light, the good, and the extraordinary capabilities of the human spirit triumph all of the shit. Time and time again.

Life is rarely a bowl full of cherries but that doesn’t mean that it still can’t be something pretty great.

I guess I have changed my mind. And my heart. Again.

I will not dress up my emotions and feelings to make them prettier or easier for you to handle. They are real. Raw. Truthful. Difficult. They are joyful. They are powerful. And they are practically impossible to conceal. I spent many years pretending and hiding and being truly myself to only a handful of people. Fear had a tight grip on my shoulders. I didn’t fully trust God’s beautiful awesome power to use the bad to cast a spotlight on the good. Thankfully, I have adapted and evolved over the past twenty years. God continues to perfectly place people in my life who fill me and strengthen my soul with hope.

The beautiful, rare and unexpected gifts that accompany pain and chronic illness will always loosen the ever-present restraints. I breathe easier with an adjusted perspective, overwhelming gratefulness, a heightened awareness of mortality, and the undeniable presence of being surrounded by unconditional love. Thank God for the camouflaged gifts and for all of those who graciously give my heart more space to grow through it all.


4 thoughts on “Undressed Emotions

  1. Can we do coffee, sometime soon? I just feel like we should be friends. This is Sawyer’s mom, the one from Vibe whose son had brain surgery 2 years ago and you were our CLS. I see you at church and want to say hi, (sometime I smile and do s quick hi) but normally have to dash to get kids/don’t want to be weird. Keep telling your truth. Please. However much/little you want to. I read your blog #1 because it is honest and interesting. #2, I read it because to honor you and learn. If you can live your life- I can honor you and read it. I can absolutely do that much from the safety of my home. I get the line of how often to tell the daily reality. We have it with my son. People ask how he is doing. Do they want to hear good, often yes. They don’t want the long story about seizures, unless I put a positive spin on it. The line of honesty is such s fine one. Please reach out. Find me on Facebook or sarahmackay28@gmail.com or text 913-209-8446. (You don’t have to fully commit to be my friend- I’ll settle for coffee).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I laughed outloud at your last statement. I would love to get coffee. As much as I fear committments, I feel like a friendship with you would not be one that I would back out of. Thanks for your perspective, your encouragement and for reading my blog. I look forward to hanging out soon. I get tunnel vision at church and I feel like the boys are always walking a fine line between behaving like children and breaking something meaningful in the church. Hope to see you this weekend!


  2. Hey Amelia,

    This was probably my favorite post that I have read. I try to read them all. You do a great job at life; being a devoted wife, robot mom, and seeing things as they really are. Keep on keeping on. Thanks for your good example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary, for reading my posts:) Thanks for your friendship and for all that you are and all that you do for those around you. I know you always love me whether I’m freshly showered or three-day-old dirty. Thanks for the constant love.


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