i hung out with a friend today.
i don’t really consider myself to have many friends. maybe that’s because the words mean different things to me. i only have maybe two or three, all of which i rarely see. i keep people at arm’s length, trying not to let them get too close to me. not because of my social anxiety and deep-rooted fear of people, though there’s that too.
i keep people away because it drains me too much to bring them any closer. the buttons of a phone, the maneuvers of a shower, the voices around that rattle like bones in my ears and mind. the words of a conversation cut short because i suddenly don’t remember what we were talking about, or what i was saying just seconds ago. even without going out somewhere, the strings of communication that humanity treasures so dearly and demands so much of feel taut within just a few short minutes.
to try to explain this to someone one has just met, a stranger with no idea of what living with debilitating and unapparent disabilities is like, is like trying to explain the concept of physics to a stuffed bear. the worlds are just so far apart that there’s little room for leeway in one direction or another.
if only they knew.
i keep people away because i don’t want them to worry. to force them to try to comprehend something that so severely impacts your ability to function in the world, even with things so simple as lifting a fork to your mouth. i keep people away because i don’t want to concern them with something so heavy of a burden that belongs to no one but myself. because i don’t have the energy to battle every single day with their preconceived ideas of what living and dealing with human interaction is like with disabilities. because any energy i put into interacting with these people will at some point result in pain. not just emotional or mental, but also the easily neglected physical pain.
because i know, oh so well, that they will not have the patience to stay with me when it takes me minutes to formulate one sentence, minutes to move from one area of a room to another, hours to get dressed during the day or to even get out of bed. to listen when i halt one conversation short because i don’t remember what i was saying, only to pick it back up from that point hours later.
i will never have the words to explain how much it takes to open my eyes in the morning, how much it takes to cook myself a simple breakfast, or to move myself to a chair just to sit in the house all day.
if only they knew. maybe then they would understand my definition of friendship.