Invisible Glitter

by Amy Shoemaker

I was hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat. Then shoulder blade, lower back, hip, rounded off with a whack at my calf. In attempt to do me off, the bat hit repeatedly at my right temple. That wasn’t the end. I was shoved into the dryer for a few spins. When all was said and done, my hand wasn’t working, I couldn’t walk straight or articulate, let alone think straight. Nine. Not a ten, because like I told the ER nurse, I’m saving ten for when I’m actually dying. Fortunately, I wasn’t assaulted by a person. This was a migraine attack. 

Good grief. Is it really that bad? Haven’t we all experience pain in it’s most colorful form? Childbirth, car accident, chickenpox. No pity party here. There are millions around the globe that suffer from an acute illness like chronic migraine. We walk the earth dealing with pain. The majority of us aren’t looking for sympathy. I hate the word pain, so does my brain. For the sake of having a better outlook, I substitute the word pain with glitter.

My goal is to bring awareness to invisible glitter. And explain how glitter without fail creates a hot mess of emotion. Perhaps because I’m a decorated veteran, I think glitter is the easy part. If there is an easy part. Dealing with what comes with the glitter is the challenge. The test is sweeping up the pieces after confetti has been thrown in the air.

Pretend you are visiting the zoo. Your child-self and your adult parent-self are present. Imagine you’ve loss one another. Perceive the emotions of the child and the parent. Feel a sense of helplessness flood through your body. The child is scared. There’s a whirlwind of panic and terror. This example depicts a dyer sense of urgency, grief, blame and confusion. Fear is doubting whether a world of disorder will return to a normal state. This is the same in the case of a glitter attack on a person with an invisible chronic disorder. Normal is thrust into a state of dis-order.

Sometimes glitter is like a hangnail or a mosquito bite. There. Annoying. It comes and goes. Possible to forget it for a while, then scratch, scratch. It’s tough concentrating on anything but the scratch. 

I can function with glitter. It’s manageable. And when I say manageable, I mean, I may be coping with a substantial amount of glitter. To passersby, I might appear normal. I go about my day seemingly like everyone else. Yet don’t be deceived. What’s a number seven on the glitter-scale is not as easy to pull off as it may look. Underneath what you see, I am giving it all I’ve got. Pushing through to accomplish a day’s work may very well cost me more glitter. Please hear me out. That’s a choice I make. It’s what I want. Why not stop, pause, rest, call it quits? If I did, I simply wouldn’t be participating in life. Yes, really. So, I keep going because I want to be helpful and productive. I don’t want to miss out. In this lifetime, I’ve already lost enough.

My not yielding to glitter is smiling even though I feel like throwing up. It’s doing housework so I don’t fall too far behind regardless that each time I bend over the blood pools in my head like a hundred seas. I stroll along side you. Glitter shoots from my heal to my temple like a bottle rocket. These are the days I’m wearing my mask. In my opinion a masquerade party is better than no party at all.

When you don’t see me, when I appear to be hiding, I’ve canceled or seem to fall off the face of the earth, I’ve been forced to surrender. Glitter doesn’t always give me a choice. Sometimes it’s a thief, robbing me of options. 

At times, I might seem a little off. Please don’t ask if I’m feeling ok. I work very hard to fit-in. Your sympathy is no good to me. Trust I’m an expert at my disorder, and I know what I’m doing. When you meet me on the street and nod hello, I truly hope you have no idea whether or not my head is a snow globe of invisible glitter. 

Read more blog post under GET THE SCOOP; Leap and Swing , Definitely Say Yes Why Not to do a New Year’s Resolution if you have a Chronic Illness



2 thoughts on “Invisible Glitter

  1. Wow! Amy, this is a great piece of writing and very informative. Your first person account is vivid and truly gets across to the reader the experiences and feelings- both physical and mental and emotional. I understand better than before., my brilliant friend. And I am wishing you pain free days .💛


    1. Thank you for the wish of glitter free days. What you said made my day, because it’s not a sad emoji I want to see in the comment section. It’s someone saying I have a better understanding where you’re coming from now. And for people to look at each other differently. You never really know what someone is going through on the inside.


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