“These people are just lazy. They do not want to clean or pick up after themselves.”
“It will always be with you. It does not get better at any point.”
Those haunting words have followed me all the way through therapy, my day-to-day life, and even in my dreams. I gained the fear that these words might be true. Those words; those haunting words. Why do you see us this way? Did we do something wrong?
After a while, I took time to understand your words. Hours upon hours trying to decipher what they meant. I wound up finding myself taking a gander through your eyes, and all the eyes similar to yours. I saw a horror incomparable to any other I have ever encountered. I saw hatred. I saw disgust. The worst thing I saw when I looked through your eyes was the depiction of people like me.
Do I really look that way? Are those the words you would use to describe me? “Lazy. Disgusting. Filthy. Always making up excuses.” You taught us to not let ourselves be defined by only one thing, but through your eyes, I was only the “worst” part of me. You would never admit it if you knew that part of me because I was ashamed to let it show. Your words made me bury it deep to the point where I lost myself.
I am defined by that one thing, I will admit it without shame. I have severe anxiety and OCD with mild hoarding tendencies. I do not know a life without it. When I looked through your eyes and saw the depiction that made me bury this part of me so deep, I ended up burying myself. I live a life built around my illnesses and I am not ashamed or afraid. Not anymore. This part of me has made me who I am, and I will be a little selfish when I say it made me a woman with the courage to fight for not only myself but for my family, for my home, and for all of those around me. It weakens me from time to time, but that weakness soon turns into strength because no one should feel what I do. They will never deserve to feel the fear. I do not wish it upon you either, nor to those with your eyes.
I do have one question that I may never have an answer to: The “worst” part of me has given me faith and hope while you gave me fear and despair. Why? This illness is supposed to tear me apart piece by piece until I am nothing but pieces of hopelessness. But it didn’t. You did. Through your eyes you did. Through all of your eyes. Through your eyes, I lost almost all my hope. I started to feel what I am “supposed” to feel with the “worst” part of me.
Through your eyes, I, and all those like me, are nothing but despair, a burden, lazy, disgusting, filthy. I looked through your eyes for so long, I almost forgot to open mine. Through my eyes, I am someone. Who that is, I may not know. What I do know is that I have the loving eyes of my family, the accepting eyes of my peers, the brave eyes of others who face a battle similar to mine, and the eyes of hope. Those eyes are beautiful. I could look through them forever.
As I looked through your eyes, I saw people like me falling into an endless hole of nothingness. I wish you would look through mine. I wish you could see the beauty of people like me. I wish you could see the hope and faith. You deserve to see the beautiful world. Look through my eyes and I promise you; you’ll love it.