Today is my birthday. I feel as though I should write something birthday related on my birthday, but really wasn’t sure what. I thought about writing about age-ism, or about reflections on my life thus far.

Really, though, this birthday has made me think a lot about my 21st birthday. It was my first birthday party after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I was (am?) still adjusting to life with the “disability” label. I’d just applied for Supplemental Security Income. It was difficult for me to socialize much, as a lot of my friends were in other states or simply outside the distance I could comfortably drive.

It was so amazing to have a night with friends, to really feel surrounded and supported and loved. We went to a drag show at a local bar. It was exciting to be able to get into a 21-and-older establishment, and to order an obligatory alcoholic beverage. I had fun tipping all the drag queens, and they singled me out for having a birthday.

I know that people usually don’t like the whole have-everyone-at-the-restaurant-sing-a-song thing, but I really enjoyed it that night. Basically, a drag queen pie-d me in the face with a whipped cream pie while my friends laughed and took pictures. That probably sounds horrible and humiliating, but I actually felt…normal. Like a human being, instead of some fragile, trembling creature who was afraid to venture out of the house for fear of pain.

I was a bit worried about having a pain flare from the chairs in the restaurant. They were plastic patio chairs, and not ergonomically designed at all. I sat in them for four hours or so, and didn’t get up to stretch. My doctor would not have been pleased.

Imagine my surprise when I got home and found out that I wasn’t in pain. Anywhere. I usually have some sort of “background noise” of pain that never really goes away, even on my better days. My shoulders ache, or my hands are swollen. Something like that. For my 21st birthday, my body decided to give me some time without pain. It was incredible.

I decided I would use my new energy and pain-free body to do something “productive.” I went to sort and clean and organize, and soon found my body brought back to earth and pain. I learned an important lesson. If your body is feeling good, savor it. Experience that moment. Cleaning can always wait until another day.

Advertisements