Has it ever happened to you? You are washing your hands and, without thinking, you look up and see some stranger in the mirror looking back at you? In that split second, you are shocked. “Who is that person,” you wonder?
I mean, I know it’s me. Yet, it’s not Me. It’s not the Me I was. It’s not the Me I thought I would be. It’s not even the Me I think I am.
So, who is that person looking back at me? What do people see when they look at her? Who do they think she is?
Just the other week, someone said to me, “You know, you don’t look sick.” Do they mean I don’t look like someone who needs a wheelchair and is, therefore, faking it somehow? Or, do they mean I look better than someone should look when they are mobility challenged? What does sick look like?
Does it even matter?
This is a strange concept to me. I don’t look sick. Hmmm. Does that mean that I need to wear sweat clothes and gym shoes? Does it mean I should not wear makeup? If you saw someone wearing sweat clothes, would you say, “Oh, look, that person is sick.”? How about if you saw someone without makeup on? What conclusions would you draw?
And, if I were to dress in a different way, what would I be saying about myself? What would I be saying to you? Some people have no choice. They have been burdened with a stroke or paralysis. This does not mean they are sick. They are disAbled, mobility challenged, and dependent on a caretaker.
My reflection has changed. My disease is changing my face. And, I don’t always immediately recognize that woman in the mirror. Still, she doesn’t look sick.
I keep coming back to the same question: What does it mean to look sick? I don’t have an answer.
What I do know is that I don’t look sick because I’m not – sick.