This weekend I went to a fancy schmancy black-tie event in Chicago. The HOTY is especially cute in a tuxedo and I love wearing a long gown. Our daughter, a/k/a Sweetly Six, swoons over a long dress and is already planning to be a flower girl in one of her older brother’s weddings so that she, too, can wear a long dress. No pressure, boys.
I digress. At the party, a friend referred to my attendance as my “coming out” party (because I hadn’t seen most of these people since before my diagnosis). I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this phrase. Prior to the party, I spent a lot more time than usual focusing on my personal appearance because subconsciously, I knew that it was indeed my coming out party.
Seeing people for the first time after having been sick is a unique experience. With their heads turned sideways, people ask, “How arrrrrrrrrre you?” I consistently feel compelled to put their worries at ease and generally put on my biggest smile and say, “Great!” because the truth of the matter is that is what people want to hear. People don’t want to know that I’m totally wiped out and not really myself and that there are residual side effects to my year with FBC. People want to hear and believe that life is back to normal, as if nothing happened. I am not scratchy about it because I’m one of those people who would like to hear (& say!) the same thing.
I didn’t realize until I arrived at the event that being in a big group of people whom I hadn’t seen prior to my diagnosis was a very stressful and nerve-wracking burden to bear.
This weekend, I had the stark realization that I am now officially a part of a club for which no one applies and no one wants to be a member. What I know for sure is that one is forever changed after an expcerience with FBC.
What I also know for sure is that I am less comfortable grinning and gripping in crowds. I’m no longer a schmoozer (not that I was really a full schmoozer before, but I could definitely work a room). Rather, I prefer being in small groups of people and having depth of conversation.
Additionally, as you all may remember, I no longer “should” on myself. For example, last night before dinner, people were mingling (read: schmoozing!) and I felt like sitting down. At my table. By myself. I was happy as a clam, actually, just sitting. What a Silver Lining feeling to eliminate any and all feelings of obligation.
Last night several people asked me how this FBC experience changed me. Though most people expect me to say that I eat differently and exercise more, that’s not the case (especially considering that before the diagnosies I was 85% vegan and exercised 6 days/week).
Rather, I am drawn toward depth. Depth of conversation. Depth of experience. Depth of relationships. Depth. This is quite a Silver Lining. And you all know that finding Silver Linings has been my true north during this period.
FBC is the disease that keeps on giving; however Silver Linings give more. Always.