No Mirrors Please

I am not ready to look into the mirror. That I know for sure. There is nothing else I know for sure. I wish I could say I did or that I was coming close to knowing, but it seems my ability to have my feet planted firmly on the ground is far in the distance. Maybe like objects in the mirror it is actually closer. But it does not feel that way. Too many memories cloud the future. So I am writing about the past so it stays there, in the past, not gone but a memory. If I can keep the past as memories maybe the future will be closer or at least the present.

While in the emergency room one time with my husband one time, I got up to use the rest room. While washing my hands I glanced up and saw my reflection. I looked terrible. It was as if a stranger were reflecting back at me. I glanced again, horror! It was the same if not worse than the first glance. Not that I cared what others thought, but it did cross my mind that others were seeing me like this. I did not want that but soon realized I had no control over it. I wanted the control to change how I looked and appeared to others. I wanted to be able to hold my head high as though everything was under control. But it was not.

I always brought a laptop and kindle to the emergency room or the hospital room. I always posted where I was. This was a signal to those who know myself and my husband well. If I updated my status to being at the hospital, it meant he was sick, but all was under control. If I tagged my husband as being with me, it was a signal that all was not okay, that my husband was not doing well. Arriving back from the rest room, my husband was asleep, most likely from medications. I took out my laptop. I posted we were in the ER. Then I put a comment, which I normally do not. I posted that I looked like crap and if anyone took a picture of me I would tackle them and break their camera or phone. On Facebook, this was met with humor from my friends. Some commenting that I would not only tackle and break camera, but probably break the person’s neck. There were many comments like that. Apparently everyone seemed to know I looked terrible and I was ready to do battle with anyone brave enough to take my picture. Some liked the post, which I thought was strange. Were they happy I looked like crap? More than likely they were just acknowledging they saw the post.

Facebook and Twitter became my friends at the hospital. They also became my friends at home. That may sound strange. I was with my husband who was my best friend. I had become friends and was with the nurses and doctors. I have family and friends. But, for some reason, turning on the computer and communicating on Facebook or Twitter, without really telling anyone what was wrong, helped me to deal. I was going to say escape. But there was no escaping. It was a way to skirt the real issues that were happening, not hide or avoid, but put them to the side. On these social media sites I could be my former self. I did not have to tell anyone how my life had become. I could joke with others as though all was right in the world. I could feel normal. All the while, my world was spinning out of control. But no one could see that through the computer.

When my husband was home, some mornings I would be secretly angry with him. After I helped him to get up and into the living room, the first thing he did was turn on his laptop. I know I sometimes gave him a nasty look. He would ask what was wrong. I would reply nothing. But in my head, I would be thinking of all I had to do before I could turn on the computer, if I had time to turn it on at all. I wanted to shout at him that he was not allowed to turn his computer on until I had a chance to get his medications and everything else he needed. I never did, as I knew that it was my problem to deal with, not his. I did not grow resentful. I learned to accept it. At some point, he would turn his laptop on and never look at it, or look but not see. This did not make me feel better. It just seemed unfair that I was exhausting every bit of energy I had to care for him, but he had time to do something I wanted to. I then started to wonder about how dependent I had grown to social media. I would intentionally stay off the computer at times. Unless, my husband was in the hospital. Then it was my connection to the world outside and I was on it most of the day or night, when my husband was asleep and sleep was something I could not find for myself.

After that time in the emergency room, I learned easily how to wash my hands without glancing at the mirror. I could even put contact lenses in without seeing my whole face. I would glance at my eyes only when putting them in, therefore, I did not see my face. When brushing my hair, I looked only at my hair. Anything that required a mirror, I found a way to see what was needed without seeing my whole face. Looking back, I do not know why this was so important. Probably because of my need to control.

As for social media. Sometimes I am on non-stop. Other times days go by and when I log in, I see countless photos I have been tagged in. They are not photos of me, rather photos friends no I will like. I also see many private messages. Once you read a message, the person who sent it can see what time you read it. I always feel obligated to answer these messages as most are from friends that are good friends. I do not want them to think I am ignoring them. So I end up looking at the photos, I look at the news-feed to see what friends are up to. I do not like or comment on anything or read the messages. I am just looking at life outside my life. Sometimes there is a little bit of envy, seeing that everyone is going about living their lives and their lives are very nice. Many of my friends are in jobs that pay well, so their houses reflect things I once had or most likely will never have. I ignore those feelings, as they are just a result of the sadness I feel. I am happy for my friends even if one of my initial thoughts may be of envy. They worked hard for what they have, they should enjoy it. Sometimes when I see one of my friends has bought their third or fourth Ferrari or Lamborghini, I think how excessive this is. How many families just one of their cars would feed in a world full on hunger? Could that money be used for research to find cures for illnesses? Then I think, they need these cars for the work they are in. Maybe not as many as they own. But who am I to say. After all, my husband was the dreamer. If he had won the lottery or come into a large sum of money, he would have been just like them only his purchases would not be from the need for his work, it would be for his enjoyment. Our garage would be filled with the same cars. It is then I realize I am not envious, nor do I think they should spend less or on causes they already donate to. I realize I am just missing my husband. Nothing more, nothing less.

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