The end of my first week of camp we were going camping. The ‘fun’ part was hiking to get there. It was a four hour hike, one that I couldn’t take, but I didn’t want to tell my secret. I went, though it was hard for me. I wasn’t feeling very good at the beginning, and four hours of hiking wasn’t going to help.
Let me tell you about the worst/best thing I did at camp, since this is what changed my life.
“Is it you, or is this fictional?”
I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t tell her. “Fictional.”
“What do you mean? It is all fictional. This is not my journal!”
“How come it starts with ‘Welcome To My Journal.’?”
She got me. She knew. I looked around before starting. “You’re right. This was my journal. Joy was me.”
There was more than a trace of hurt in her voice. “How come you didn’t tell me? I wouldn’t tell anyone!”
“I didn’t tell anyone.”
“So if you are Joy, than does that mean you have the whole chronic illness thing?”
“Yes. This is my real life. I didn’t tell you because I hate being pitied. I wanted to ignore it, to not deal with it. I wanted to be normal.”
“Oh Joy, I am so sorry!”
Then I poured out the whole story, starting with when I started realizing I wasn’t normal. It took a lot of explaining. Savanna listened with horror, realizing just what I had to go through.
“I have something to tell you. There is something I have been hiding. Something that is my real life. I can’t hide it any longer. I need to tell you.” I poured out my whole story.
Surprisingly the group took it well. They weren’t mad at me for hiding it, and they were very supportive. Mia told me that I could talk to her whenever, and she would listen. Then they started telling me stuff about them. Each girl had a secret. Some of them were really small, like fighting with sisters, but one girl had diabetes, a chronic illness like me. Savanna was last. Her parents had just divorced, and that was why she spent so much time with me. After we were done talking I heard Bethany whisper “Joy!”
“Do you want to go back to camp instead of hiking another ten hours?” I gladly accepted. I was glad I told. Now I could not do things that would hurt me, and not feel bad about it. I went back to camp, but I was fine being alone. I had things to plan.
I know I haven’t written in awhile. I am almost out of space, so I am just going to sum up the rest of the story. After I told people were more supportive. It took awhile for people to see just how bad I was, but they never minded if I skipped out on things. Now I have more friends, and I am happier. The best advice I got was ‘when you feel bad, just remember there are always people worse than you.’ I had gotten cards and gifts, and they made me feel good. It was inspiration enough to start a new project. I organized care packages to give to people worse than me, and it made me feel better too.
I don’t need this journal anymore. I have more friends, and though I have the same pain, having people who know about it helps. I am not the same anymore.