This is a love letter to all those for whom showering is repeatedly a laborious exercise, physically, emotionally or both.
To those who spend days putting it off because you know just how exhausting or painful it feels, right down to your bones, just to stand under the water for that long.
Those who do not feel refreshed upon stepping out of the steam, but rather feel like they’ve run a long, arduous race, only there’s nobody there to greet you at the finish line with your medal, because damnit, there is no finish line.
This is your medal.
This is your letter of achievement or recognition or love.
This is for each of you who has to sit or lie down for the next hour or more with your wet hair in a towel, because there’s no energy left for hair drying or body moisturizing or even putting on clothes.
To every person who week after week feels like crying when lather-rinse-repeating, and then one day it feels even tougher, more exhausting, more acutely painful, more, just more, and you stand hoping nobody can hear your deep body howls as you cry out in agony under the water before you’ve finished washing all the shampoo from your hair.
This is to the one who is forcing yourself through it, because you know you must leave your house tomorrow, and you know that as hard as it is now, showering and going out just would not be possible in one day.
And this is for the one who, despite wanting and needing and longing to be clean, cannot bring yourself to shower, physically, emotionally or both.
This is a love letter for everyone who lives day in day out, chronically, with illness of any kind, for whom seemingly simple tasks that most take for granted, like showering, feel like mountain climbs.
And to those climbing these mountains, and to all those who simply cannot make the climb today, this is for you.
I see you.
I’m with you.
I’m one of you.
Thank you for breathing and continuing to breathe.
Thank you for existing.