Every Superhero has a secret identity. Someone they can be when they aren’t being…well, a superhero.
When you have a chronic illness, you are a superhero. You also have a secret identity. Someone you can revert to so that you don’t have to show the world your superhero responsibilities.
My secret identity is basically myself pretending that I don’t have a chronic pain disorder. I revert into this form of self when out in public, around people who likely wouldn’t understand the struggles I face on a day to day basis living and parenting with a chronic pain disorder.
Example, while at the birthday party yesterday, several well meaning people asked me how I was doing post-surgery. They were excited to see I had ditched the cane, because surely that means my pain is less and things are great. These people know me and love me, but I still had to put on my secret identity because there was other people around me who I didn’t know and wasn’t comfortable with. Plus, it’s kind of bad party etiquette to discuss an infected scar that needs draining every so often…right?
This secret identity does give me strength on occasion. I am able to make it through certain things thanks to the power of denial, and sheer determination and stubborness play a part as well.
I think we all have a secret identity when facing the world, though. We don’t always share every last bit of ourselves with those around us. Especially on Facebook, we only really share our highlight reel.
Probably because we know that we will be judged for how we handle things. Which is a crummy, dirty fact about being a human. Humans are judgemental.
The question I ask myself quite regularly is…is this secret identity of mine helpful, or harmful?
What are your thoughts on secret identities? Do you have one?