The Girl In The Purple Room
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Health and Wellness

The Girl In The Purple Room

Maybe one day I will repaint my walls, but why should I? Purple is my favorite color, why give Lyme disease that too? It has already taken years of my life that I will never get back.

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The Girl In The Purple Room
Ariane Poulin

The girl in the purple room did not know who she was. What she did know was that the girl inside the purple room was lost. She felt as though she was indeed two completely different human beings and only the purple room knew of her darkest moments while everyone outside knew of her bright positive spirit. The girl, who lives in that room, is still trying to figure out whom she is and that her purpose in life is valid enough to live.

Everyone strives to be someone, but how does one do such a thing when there is no answer or direction towards who you are capable of being. For the girl in the purple room, she set her expectations too high. She made her expectations so high that almost every time she left the room she had to pretend she was someone she wasn’t. She never reminded herself that it is okay to be sad, it is okay to hate yourself, it is okay to have dark thoughts, and that it is normal to feel lost in hopeless situations. Instead, whenever she walked out of the purple room she put her game face on. Her shining eyes that last shut with tears in them before she fell asleep, or her forced smile she made herself wear, whatever it was she took it all with her and left everything else at the door. She made it seem like she had to be invincible, and that was way too much for her to handle.

Only the walls of the purple room saw her true emotions, but walls don’t absorb feelings like humans. She needed to speak up, and she didn’t for far too long… days and weeks on end turned into years of bottling every emotion in the purple room. The weight was never lifted over her shoulders, they just bounced off the purple walls and found their way back to the girl who lived in there.

So much time that should have been the prime of her life and precious memories she would have treasured forever turned into time stolen by a devil of a disease. She didn’t get to go to a high school homecoming. She didn’t get to go to her first parties when her high school friends did. She accepted that she was too sick to go to a school dance, teachers were already coming to the house to tutor her. She ignored her tears as they rolled down her face each New Year's as the ball would drop and she would watch from bed. Maybe this year would be the year, she would think. Every Christmas she woke up sick her heart ached, but she still brought joy. She wept every time she heard or read someone complain about going to school, because the girl in the purple room wanted nothing more than to be there.

Her body was incapable more often than not; incapable to climb stairs at fifteen and twenty years old, incapable to read the words of a story--something that was once her passion. Incapable of attending school, incapable of eating, incapable of remembering and focusing, everything she used to be was gone. It was stolen by the girl who lives in the purple room, with a chronic illness called Lyme disease.

She didn’t want your sympathy, she just wanted to feel normal. How are you supposed to feel normal when you have forgotten what normal feels like? She would beg to fight, beg to feel better. Then there were times she would beg to be let go, to let the pain end. She would hear the doctor’s voices, hear them telling her that her pain isn’t real. If her pain wasn’t real, then what was wrong with her? The girl in the purple room was so sick, but that was the response she received from doctors who did not understand her. Face to face with those doctors, she would try to keep her game face on, only the purple room saw what the doctor's words did to her heart, and the amount of tears she cried in her bed, at her desk, on her floor. She would keep it all in, and let it all out the wrong way. It was scary to keep everything inside, but she didn’t know what else to do.

Years went by living this life in her purple room, until one day she left. She did not return for months. She must have a new room but oddly enough her emotions still lived in the purple room. When she left and did not come back, she left those dark emotions behind her, the means words, the hurt; she didn’t take any of it with her. She didn’t want it. Her new room changed her. I don’t know if it was because of the people, the location, or college that made her different but it was a matter of fact that she was feeling better. When she returned for thanksgiving and Christmas breaks she had forgotten about the emotions that still lived in that purple room. She ignored them and she lived her life happy and with a feeling of freedom, or at least she did for the time being.

It was hard for people to understand how different she was. The girl in the purple room was set free, she was experiencing things she should have experienced far too long ago. Sometimes she didn’t understand the crazy things she did, nor did her family, but if you kept an animal in a cage for six years, I would expect the animal to be wild if you set it free. Aside from her wild side, she was learning every day. She walked around the city of Boston and gawked over its beauty, she could not get enough of it. She loved living with her friends and being independent, she loved dancing and did so with all her pride. She felt what she had missed for so many years, and it wasn’t abnormal; what she felt was life.

One day she came back and it wasn’t for a visit. She was broken again, she was beat down, she had barely made it through her sophomore year of college. This time she didn’t ignore the old emotions she left on the wall, they all swarmed back into her with a welcome doormat. She couldn’t get better and she felt her life again slipping away.

In July, her doctor told her it was not realistic to go back to college. She was too sick and the disease was again too far spread. The girl's heart broke for a countless time, and her sad emotions swarmed around the dark room within her body and through her mind like a swarm of bees. Months went by. Then one day the girl found her voice that needed so badly to be heard.

I, Tori still live in that room today. I am not better, I am very ill and I do not have my life back. But I do not let the four walls that have seen my darkest moments define me, I learn from those moments. I put those emotions into writing, dance, or artwork. I get out of my purple room when I can, but for a room that seems so dark I found the light in it. I learned to love my purple room and everything I have left in it. I learned to speak up and I came to the realization that I am not alone. This disease doesn’t define me, nor does the purple room with the bed I have spent six years of my life in, or the pillow I have spent hours weeping on. I am not ashamed of my thoughts or actions through those dark times; I just wish I had found the person I am today sooner.

Maybe one day I will repaint my walls, but why should I? Purple is my favorite color, why give Lyme disease that too? It has already taken years of my life that I will never get back. I still struggle, in and out of the purple room. I remind myself that it is okay to be lost, to feel terrified for my life, defeated and depressed. I am only human. I am not perfect, but I am learning about myself every day and planning for a bright future. I will crash and burn, but I will also stand and shine. I will not stand alone like I have in the past, and when I do stand strong everyone will know. One day I will leave my purple room forever but never forget the beautiful lessons it taught me or the person it has made me today. I am lucky to be here, I am lucky to be alive, Thank you, purple room, for living with me through my darkest and brightest moments. When I find out who I truly am and I leave to do amazing things and to catch my dreams as one, unified person; I know you will be proud.

Much Love,

Tori A.

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