We’ve been together almost two years now, though these days you’re not as naked as you used to be.
When my world fell apart, I thought I would beat the odds and get to keep your coat of armour. I was wrong. When my world fell apart, it smashed your armour into a million pieces and left you bare. Vulnerable. Weak.
Your dark brown dress flowed over my shoulders and tumbled down my back. For as long as I can remember, your armour was the part of me that made me feel the most feminine. When the rest of my body went through tumultuous changes – my skin paling and yellowing, losing all elasticity and natural shape – and I felt like I was quite literally losing my mind to the medication-induced brain fog, I was certain that somehow your armour would stay and help me feel like myself.
That’s all I wanted. Through all of this. The last two years. I just wanted to feel like myself.
I was so afraid to see you stripped. I put it off as long as possible and when I finally had the courage to see you, it felt like I was meeting you for the first time. I was both exhaustingly sad and incredibly delighted. I didn’t want you this way, but I had always thought my skull was oddly shaped. You proved that theory wrong. You weren’t so bad; even with that scar from the ice hockey puck that hit me half a decade ago. That was a story I had never shared with my mom but, in light of the scar’s exposure, I can now laugh about it with her. You allowed me to let her in on a part of my life that she hadn’t known before.
You remind me, every moment of every day, that I’ve been ill. That I’ve stared Death in the eyes and told her ‘Hell No!’ That I’ve found a way to continue my life despite Her efforts to stop me.
You remind me, every moment of every day, that no one’s recovery is the same. Forget the aches, the nausea, and the disintegration of my stomach lining. Forget the days of sleeping nearly twenty hours and the fact that I may never fully recover from all the side effects.
That was then.
This is now.
You and here and now you show the world a false representation of me.
I am no longer ill. I’m cured. I’m moving on with my life.
Sure, there are days when depression consumes me. There are days when I feel like I can’t move on. There are days when I am so afraid that I will get a phone call from my medical team telling me that we have to start over. There are days when I wonder if you will ever be dressed again. If your armour will ever be returned to you. If you’ll ever reclaim your former glory. There are days when I wonder if I’ll ever look healthy again… Be normal again…
But there are also days when I love you without your armour. When I relish in the ability to wear cute hats the way I never could when you were dressed. Days where it’s ungodly hot and I can expose you to the world without shame, allowing a slight breeze to cool me down, without you being bogged down by the weight of your armour.
I love you.
I hate you.
It doesn’t matter which or when. You are part of me now. I am alive and you better be sure that I will live this life to the fullest. Despite your nakedness.