Without further ado, I proudly present to you the Tick Talk Newsletter! A combination of unabashed stories from the trenches of chronic illness, raw photography, awareness and educational tidbits, I am grateful for the joining of minds which made possible this publication. My sincerest gratitude to Chico Printing for bringing to life this unique creation! If you would like copies in print to share, please let me know.
Greetings my fellow bloggers and readers! I have taken the next step in broadcasting my words across the land: Instagram! You can now find excerpts and corresponding artistic collaborations on my Instagram account dedicated to my writings. As per my usual technological style, I am showing up fashionably (or maybe not so stylishly) late to the diverse social networking party. It would be my pleasure to connect with you through Instagram. Please comment below with your account information, or better yet, follow me and I will happily return the favor!
I liked him. But not really. His humble venire had begun to crack, filtering grimy sunshine over our conversations. Not so apparent are the indicators of a robust self-involvement after an hour or two of chatter. Those hours accumulated, though, and painted against a background of literal life and death, such trivial self-absorbent themes, gained visibility.
Honestly, though, who was I to complain? My unorthodox housebound lifestyle bred a loneliness that instead of fading into routine, only multiplied with time. So, a few hours of weekly musings over the phone seemed an upgrade from the alternative. A twenty something with failing health but a determined desire to connect had me answering the phone time and again. But, more often I was the one dialing, a detail that pricked my consciousness. Not only were my finances in an ever dwindling state due to exorbitant medical expenses and my inability to work, but moreover, I initiated most interactions.
I don’t know him anymore. Whatever pages about him I had penned, were torn from a novel that will never be. In retrospect, the recognition that spending time alone with my own company far surpasses splicing time with another, while simultaneously feeling exponentially more alone, I remember. I carry this truism like an accouterment, tucked dearly within.
Anthropomorphism just isn’t cutting it. I can trace faces on my supplement cylinders, project conversations onto crannies in the wall, superimpose delicately folded forms into the mesh of my surroundings, but to no avail. The hollowness echoes, the clock pulses on. “Will anybody ever find me,” I wonder. Encapsulated within the confines of chronic, I invite connection, affection, the unknown human caress as my air purifier purrs on…
“If I go to the doctor and he gives me a positive ALS diagnosis, I will kill myself.” The tenor of his robust, gravelly voice billows into the velveteen night. I tromp through verdant, unmanicured tufts of grass silhouetted by pearlescent mirage.
“Will you stay on the phone with me as I die?” The gravity of this extemporaneous request is laden with complexity and unabashed authenticity. My familiarity with the depravity of chronic survival simultaneously intensifies and anesthetizes me to his words. The slap of frigid wind against my diminutive form urges me back towards the incubation of my house. As I beckon my beloved golden-haired gent forward, my mind reels back. Reviewing the cataclysmic chapters, emulsifying mistrials of medicine, castigating me against remembering what I will never forget. The inarguable truism that survival moonlights as a persistent cornucopia of incarnations is never far from my mind. I can traverse millennia, urging moments into decades, and yet I find myself combating the hackneyed insatiable tormentors within.
“Briana?” He asks. “Are you still there?”
“Yes. I’m still here.”
Hooray! It is with jubilant gratitude and excitement that I deliver the news that Tick Talk has sustained 100 followers! How riveting it is to know triple digit eyes are traversing my words, incorporating my experiences into your day. My endeavors to catalog the macabre malevolence circling my mind and body have nourished my life. Granting a voice to trauma has provided an emotional cleansing which has served as a literal lifeline. The transformation of my body, along with my mind has created pockets of opportunity and reinvigorated a sense of connection. Your presence, feedback and tender validation are treasured. I thank you dearly for every like, comment, re-blog and follow. The community we are creating symbolizes the inclusivity I strive to embody.
In honor of where I’ve been, where I am and where I’m going, I will be sharing the first ever post I penned here. Thank you for coming along with me for my journey.
Among a burgeoning handful of nuggets about chronic illness I wish to impress upon the healthy, perhaps the most pressing is that it is all true. When she tells you she is clawing at the fiber of life; that she is broiling in a noxious stew of calamity; that the mundane details have transformed into haunting beings knocking her down again and again, believe her.
This is not a case for crying wolf. Chronic anything implies that it sustains over time. Please do not doubt that an intolerable cacophony of pain, pain, pain can and does suffocate without pause. When she tells you she’s shattering under the weight of it all, believe her. With your words, with your presence, with your every atom, believe in her imprisonment. Such a validation can only bolster some kind of emancipation.