Whenever I get sick, I try to convince my body to just get over it. From the time in second grade that I went to school on Grandparents Day even though I felt awful and ended up throwing up all over my Oscar the Grouch project after my grandpa had left, to the time I went to work before I was fully recovered and ended up falling to the ground an hour into the day, to the time I spent nearly an entire Jamaican vacation with a fever, my first instinct is always to power through, to not give in, to be stronger than the illness.
Yesterday, though, when I woke up and could barely move, when my entire body was aching, my head was hurting, my stomach was warning not to put anything in it, and I felt feverish, I gave in immediately. I didn’t try to go on with my day and ignore the signals that I shouldn’t leave my bed. I obeyed, and I didn’t leave my bed all day.
And I did feel weaker for it. I felt like I should be able to get past it. I should be able to pull myself out of bed for long enough to take a shower. I should be able to force something down my throat other than a cracker. I should be able to at least sit up to read. But I realize that’s silly. I recognize that everyone gets sick, and I know that just because I’ve been completely out of commission for over 24 hours, that doesn’t actually make me a powerless person.
A person who has been utterly useless for the past day? Yes, but not powerless. Because I have to assume I will feel better at some point, in which case a momentary weakness isn’t indicative of a person’s entire character. Giving in doesn’t make me weak. It makes me sensible. And that’s another new thing I haven’t tried before.