Hope & Narrative

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I have recently discovered the most amazing blog: “para las fridas,” by C. Luepkes, and I really think you all should check it out.

The following quote is from C.’s post “A Returning,” in which she describes her decision to return to her blog again following an absence. I identify with every word, and of course, had to share it with you. She writes:

“When I was first diagnosed with endometriosis and a chronic pain condition due to a spinal injury, I had no idea nor was it explained to me that I was going to have to go through a continual cycle of insecurity. I was oblivious to the fact that I was going to have to live my life in a temperamental space. It is of my opinion that chronic illness patients do not fit easily into the usual experience of loss because our loss is not consistent. The future is unpredictable and so our stories are discontinued and resumed and this process repeats infinitely. Thus, we are forced to mourn each time and rebuild our futures anew holding our breath again that the house will not collapse with us inside. Our narratives remain disjointed and so without any desire for it we gain a level of complexity that is difficult to communicate and share with others even those we love the most.”

When you have chronic health issues, your story doesn’t unfold the way others’ seem to. You end up taking breaks from your life; plans go out the window. You disappear for stretches of time, because you’re in too much pain to move. When you try to return to your normal life, there is still a distance between you and others. You’re afraid to let people see the things you must do to take care of yourself now.

I personally struggle with how best to express my stories to others. It’s not that I lack subject matter– deep down, I want to write about everything– but how do I assign a structure to something that is so often meaningless? There isn’t always a purpose or a point to what I go through. Not everything can be a lesson or a dramatic turning point when it comes to chronic pain and illness. Sometimes, you are just in pain. Sometimes, your time is just wasted.

What I love about C.’s writing is that I can tell she. too, has felt those feelings of emptiness, of frustration, of pointlessness… and yet she comes out on the other side, with insight, wisdom, and compassion for others.

She writes:

“We reshape our days, the structure of our thinking, our career path, our home, how we exercise…In short, there is nothing in our lives that is not rethought or reimagined. I think acknowledging that and once again reforming it into a strength or a place of courage is important.”

I recognize so much of my own experience in C.’s story, and I know you will too. She has a lot of other great posts on her blog– you should definitely check them out.

Some of my favorites:

Why the shame with chronic pain, anyway?

The possibilities of vulnerability

Private, secret, and alone: chronic illness and feelings of isolation

When Healing Our Body Is Not an Option, We Still Can Heal From the Inside

My body is a full-time job

Thank you, C., for sharing your words with us.


3 thoughts on “Hope & Narrative

  1. Thank you for your post. Honestly, it had me in tears (in a good way) of course. Thank you for giving me inspiration and motivation to continue to write.

    1. I have no idea why it logged my comment as anonymous when I am signed in to my blog, but, it is C. as you probably figured out! : )

      1. Hey C. :) You are so welcome. Your blog is a source of inspiration to me as well!

        (P.S. I’m not sure if you get the email versions of my posts, but I accidentally hit “Publish” instead of “Preview” when I was working on this, so the first version of this went out before I had spellchecked your name. So embarrassing… at least it’s fixed now!).

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