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It is not easy for me to be transparent. Which sounds really funny, since I am sharing my life experiences with candor, emotion, and a huge part of my heart. Each time I write a post, I am profoundly vulnerable. I cringe each time I press the button that publishes my posts for the whole world to see. And I hold my breath.

Are they going to hate me? Are they going to roll their eyes? Will they understand? Are my words going to resonate with anyone out there? Am I all alone here? I take a gamble each and every time. It is not easy to share your innermost thoughts and feelings with anyone. You leave yourself open, exposed, out on a limb.


It goes against the coping skills I have developed over the years. You see, I have had health issues my whole life, right from the get-go. I have suffered from severe and debilitating chronic pain for the past 14 years. Every second, of every day, of every month, of every year. Year after year, without reprieve. And it changes who you were, who you are, and who you become.

I am a dichotomy. I am genuine and live openly, but I am also naturally guarded. I have to be. I brace against pain every moment of every day. It is the way I am able to get out of bed, take care of my family, and how I keep moving forward. It is how I safeguard the world I walk through each day – physically and emotionally. I have triggers that cause intense pain. So I carefully walk through a minefield in my waking hours, tiptoeing around areas I know cause more pain. Because I have more than enough of that, already. I have more than enough to last a lifetime, or two.

It may not be right, but that’s the way it is. Avoidance. Dodging. Prevention. Circumvention. It is blindingly exhausting. But it’s the only way I know how to have a life that coincides with the agony I am in everyday. Years of having built a wall up to protect myself can take a toll at times. My auto-pilot often needs to disengage when I find myself in emotional situations. And it’s not easy to turn that off.

Because I am okay. I’m always okay. I’m okay when I’m not okay at all. I am fine, cool, great, pleasant, well mannered. Adjusted.

With my makeup on, my clothes pressed, my smile engaged, I am exactly what people want me to be. I am good. I’m alright. I am thriving. Or at least I am passable in most social situations, on the outside. And I keep my thoughts and feelings darkly opaque and tucked away deep in my pocket until I am ready to sit with them and process.

Except here. Here I am transparent. Honest. Permeable. Raw.

This is me.

– Jolene


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