Why I Don’t Appear Happy for You
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An open letter to my friends and family – I have to start by saying I truly do love you and your life accomplishments. I promise, I do. I also am incredibly self aware, which means I know how I appear when you tell me about something incredibly wonderful happening in your life. Perhaps you’re buying a house, getting married, having a child, or started a new career – Whatever the case, I’m elated for you. I may not come off that way, however, and I’d like to explain why.

Multiple Sclerosis has made me many things, envious being one of them. Now, let me clarify that I am not jealous. I am highly envious, however. Allow me to elaborate. I find jealousy to come from a petty place. Envy on the other hand is a painful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a desire to possess the same advantage. Often times when expressing these times of elatement to me, I know I can come off as flip. I then proceed to analyze everything I said and the tone in which I said it. This process is promptly followed by regret and guilt for how I’ve reacted. Hang with me, I’m going to tie this all together in just a minute.

I have to describe a day in my life for you to fully understand where I am going with this. Mornings are excruciatingly difficult for me, and are filled with pain and weakness. It takes me a good hour to be able to move, when I once was able to wake up and get right to work. Once I am able to move I have to maneuver my morning routine with tremors in my hands, my head, and Bambi legs. Ladies – Imagine mastering your winged eyeliner like this. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but beep beep. Showering is difficult for a multiple of reasons, some being that it hurts to even have the water touching my skin. I’m often late to work now, even though it’s been a few years and I should have a better grip on how much time it takes me to function. My workday consists of vertigo making me ill, blurry/ double vision, burning pins and needles distracting me, and a whole lot of, ” Oh Mia, you have your cane today…” At this point, I am utterly exhausted. Arriving home should be a time for self love and decompression, for me it’s a mental preparation of the night ahead. I’ll get very little sleep, have multiple muscle cramps, and have some of the most ghastly nightmares you can imagine. Then I’ll do it all over again!

Ok, loved ones – what does all this have to do with you? It’s actually simple compared to everything I’ve successfully rambled on about at this point. The fact of the matter is, I don’t allow myself enough forgiveness to think about all the blissful facets of life. I’m consumed with my test results, with my physical and emotional state at any given moment, and frankly just feeling awful. My money is largely allocated to prescriptions and medical bills, so I haven’t saved much for a home or wedding. I am not engaged, and I worry that I will be a burden on the man I love someday. I have no idea how a pregnancy will effect my body, and due to other issues I have been advised to consider freezing my eggs.

The worst part of it all is that I want those achievements more than anything else. I want to be unconditionally loved in a home I made with my family. Desperately, I want these things. I see you and the envy speaks for me before I can think about what I’m saying. By no means would I ever want to stop hearing about my loved one’s lives. It brings me such joy to see you entering these new, exciting chapters of your life. When I sound flippant it’s not out of jealousy, but rather a silent moment of living vicariously through you. Yes, I am also envious of you. It is by no fault of yours, nor mine. I am human, and I am still working on accepting and forgiving myself. I can only ask that you stick with me. I would like to say, “It’s not me speaking, it’s the M.S.” Fact of the matter is, it’s not! It is me speaking. I have not come to terms with a lot that I am experiencing, and it’s my job to work on that.

Loved ones – I adore you. I am elated for you. I want to be there for you. Please, continue to allow me to be. I hope one day I’ll experience these typical life progressions and that you’ll be by my side through all of it. I truly am doing my best for you, while also trying to do my best for myself as well. Be patient with me, and please keep sharing with me. I ask not that you keep things from me, but only to understand where my convoluted reaction stems from. I may not appear happy for you, but nothing could be father from the truth.

-Mia Petitti

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