Flight of the Lupus Face

My apologies for my last post.  The last part was written with the intention of being cryptic, which I realize is completely ridiculous to do on a blog that was created to reveal the realities of one person’s Lupus Life.  I made the decision to continue this blog and I’m pretty sure that should also mean that I continue it with the same honestly and candor in which it was started, even if it is more difficult for me now without manic energy to assist me.

My body’s “zing” reminder that “I’m not over it, baby,” is in reference to a ridiculous event that involved a particularly ridiculous Elena and a very irrational “flight” response.  As most of you know, the “fight or flight response” is our body’s primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee” from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival.  This perceived threat usually involves the possibility of being eaten or stabbed or, if you’re very unfortunate, both.  My perceived threat?  The back of someone’s head.  Now, if the head was just the head with no body attached then maybe I could justify the way I froze mid-stride at the sight of it, but sadly that was not the case.  I stood there frozen in time, my mouth slightly open as I felt my stomach surge against the back of my throat.  I was still for only a few seconds.  I wish I could say that there was a mental process that happened in those few seconds in which I calmly presented myself the option of approaching this human head, but it was my body that did the talking… or more specifically, the brisk walking. If there was any situation in which I could say that “I bolted,” this is truly it.  I bolted like I have never bolted before.  Now I know that the back of someone’s head isn’t as threatening as it would be turned around and looking at you, but it was the head of someone who experienced some of my most embarrassing moments of psychosis and well, it left me literally running scared.  I guess it was more like “face or flight” then “fight or flight.”  Seeing that person’s face would have been like facing all that stuff all over again.  I couldn’t face it.  I didn’t want to face it.  That would have been all well and good if I just bolted and left and that’s that, but about four paces into my escape I realized that the important and time-sensitive items I had come to get were in the very same place that person was standing.  Skulking around in a way that made me cringe while I was doing it, I had to peer around corners and objects until that person left.  I came away from the experience with sweaty armpits and the strong urge to bang my head against the wall… which I think I actually ended up doing.  The embarrassment and the possibility that I was seen by this person wasn’t the worst part of it, it was the disappointment I felt that stung the most.  I thought I had let that go.  I thought that I was over it.  I could almost hear my body laughing in the background, “sorry honey, it’s not going to be that easy.”

In respect to my “survival,” I know that it would have served me better if my body had chosen to “fight” or “face” or whatever you want to call it, but for now I will have to be at peace with where I am at right now.  Although it would be nice if “where I am right now” didn’t involve being a creepy woman who hides from other people in public places, but hey, at least I’m actually going out in public now.

You’d be happy to know that I had a different kind of flight tonight, one that carried me home after spending four days in the middle of the Canadian Rockies.  These last few days have been a pretty big deal for me, it was my first fully independent venture since my hospitalization in August.  I chose to reveal my “Lupus Face” to the people I met there and in the process I started seeing all the other parts of me that has nothing to do with Lupus; the girl who screams happily as she almost runs into the badminton net after a spectacular miss with her racket, the girl who can travel alone, the girl who is willing to go somewhere she’s never been to spend four days with people she’s never met.  I forgot about her.

I guess you could say I did considerably better on this most recent flight then my last.  I didn’t hide.  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t creepy.  It’s all about small victories, my friends and tonight I am celebrating without my Lupus adjective.

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