On a cold day, every muscle in my back feels like concrete: stiff and unyielding. I can tell you that it’s cold outside before I even open my eyes in the morning because my hips are so cramped that getting out of bed seems like an impossible task. Eventually, I heave myself out of bed, and the first thing I reach for is a hair tie. Pulling my hair to the top of my head and tying it into a loose yet secure bun is imperative. If I don’t, every strand of hair feels like a razor slicing into my skin.
On a cold day, I will choose my clothing more deliberately than I do on any other day. My shirt will have to be loose but not so baggy that it will incessantly rub against my stomach or back. It will also have to be soft. Fleece or plush is ideal because it is gentle on my skin. But, in a pinch, cotton will do too. Once I decide which shirt will cause me the least amount of pain, the dread of putting on pants will set in.
On a cold day, every pair of pants in my closet will seem impossibly small and constrictive. I will consider where I have to go and debate whether I can manage to stay inside the whole day. If I’m lucky and I don’t have to go anywhere that day, I will reach for a pair of fleece-lined sweatpants – the kind I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing outside of the house. Their soft lining will keep me warm without aggravating the pain in my legs. Next, I will slide my feet into my wool-lined slippers, look at myself in the full-length mirror beside my closet, and hate what I see. I will remind myself that it is better to stay home and be poorly dressed than to wear a beautiful outfit and feel like my skin is being sanded off.
On a cold day, my body will feel like it was hit by a truck. That’s because one New Year’s Eve, my body was hit by a truck. A truck whose driver happened to not see a stop sign or a swarm of oncoming traffic. Every day, but especially on a cold day, my nervous system will remind me where the impact was. I will pull away from what you think is a gentle touch because even a simple caress is torture to me. I will feel pain deep in my bones, especially down my spine. Even the smallest muscles throughout my body will seize and cramp up. And on a cold day, I will choke on a lump in my throat and want to cry as I yearn for a body that isn’t riddled with Fibromyalgia.
Photo courtesy Ivan Samkov/Pexel