Hello, my name is Tess and I’m a Flake

Ah, the joys of a chronic illness.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time… and even though I tell myself I must NOT offer to do anything, say yes to anything, volunteer for anything – a part of me still thinks I’m super woman rather than migraine girl.

I loved being super woman – the go-to for making shit happen, the reliable one. Oh, how I miss her. But a chronic illness means you have good days, midlin days, and bad days – and none of them are under your control.

I have more midlin to good days these days than bad. Gone are the 7/8s, on a pain scale of 1-10, which would last for months at a time. Mostly gone are the days when a 10 would put me down for a day with no hope of any productivity.*

At the same time, gone too is the ability to rest up in the hopes of a good day, or make one happen by shear force of will and damn the consequences, since I’m now working a full time job.


The thing is, I still don’t see myself as having a chronic illness – and apparently neither does most of the population. After three and a half years I hide it really well and do a very good job of looking exactly the same every day (Nars I am so grateful) and acting the same (damn grateful to have a Boss who puts up with me).

I haven’t yet learned how to pace myself. Partly this is the J O B.

Some days are long (10+ hours) some are short (4-6) but none of them are the same. I think consistency would help me but I love my job and my Boss too much to think about changing that. So I do what I’ve always done – I get the job done and the rest of my life falls where it may.

But I have two jobs – the Clinic and the Writing – and one is taking more of the good hours, because no matter what, I have to do the time and deliver at work.

Then there are the random requests that throw the weekend into chaos.

Two weeks ago I got a mayday from my niece – she needed help on her chemistry and bashfully (or shamefully) texted her aunt for help – for days I tried but between the time difference – the fact she asked for it just as my two LONG days were happening – then a day and a half of migraine – we got right down to the wire and spent 9 hours on Sunday doing chemical equations from yield to titers to pH….

Ah, school how much I miss you.

Now, I saved her ass and made her promise to go find a chemistry tutor in the same time zone or I’d kill her. But so goes my one good, non clinic, day.**

I can’t do that every weekend, then there would be no writing, no blog, no short stories or novellas that I’m sure you are all chomping at the bit to read.

I have to choose.

Ah, there is the rub. How do you choose? How do you say no, when a part of you wants to say yes, when you know that the world only gives back what you put into it and your teaspoon full of participation isn’t nearly enough?

I don’t know, and I’m walking into the Lion’s Den (otherwise known as the RCRW’s Spring Intensive). Rose City Romance Writers is filled with women I worship and admire from afar – I want to be a part of it, give of myself to the group, and enjoy the positive synergy of it all – but I’ve let them down and if I don’t keep my mouth shut I’ll end up letting them down again, and they deserve so much better – they deserve super woman and all I can give them is migraine girl.

Friday afternoon I will get in the car and drive across town to face the Lion. Face my own failure, owe up to the person I’ve become, and hopefully find… something.

~ Tess

*Thank you my love!

** I don’t regret it at all – it’s been 12 years since Gen Chem and it was nice to feel like a smart contributing member of society.



Filed under Random

2 responses to “Hello, my name is Tess and I’m a Flake

  1. Life is rather relentless — there are always so many things vying for our attention and energy, and I’m always dropping the ball on various things as a result. My own writing has taken a back seat recently with only one post on my writing and photography blog in the last two months. So I think it’s really good that, with your job and migraines, you manage to keep up with your writing. I take my hat off to you!

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