part one part two part three part four part five Part Six part seven part Eight Part Nine Part ten Part Eleven Part Twelve part thirteen part fourteen
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.
It all happened in a blur. Savanna pulled me aside to rest for a sec. Our leader, Bethany, was behind us.
“So……Joy. Tell me about your story.” She pulled me up.
“Well, it’s about a girl named Joy.” Where was she going with this. We started out again.
“Is it you, or is this fictional?”
I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t tell her. “Fictional.”
“If it is fictional how come it is all things that you have done?” She stopped me dead in my tracks.
“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.
Pretty soon we came upon the tent. Savanna, Bethany and I were the last ones, so we shared the last tent.
We settled in. Savanna and I kept talking. The other girls started asking about what we talking about. I made a choice. I gathered everyone around.
“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.