You never know what’s going on behind closed doors. Outward appearances only tell half the story, and when we build a barrier to protect ourselves from the outside world, we are the ones who end up trapped. That’s why I must come forward and say that while everyone looks at me and sees the perfect woman, they don’t know the truth: I am actually slightly anemic.
To you, I may just seem like a gorgeous, tall woman with a great job and a hot husband, but I’m pretty far from that envious ideal. In reality, I am more like if you took all those things and then added in having a low-grade iron deficiency. Does it still seem so great to be this statuesque when you consider the fact that I am prone to fainting and if I do faint I have farther to fall than the average woman? Didn’t think so.
When strangers come up to me and say, “Your skin is so bright and clear, please tell me your secrets,” I have to fight back tears. My secret? My secret is I have anemia, a condition that may result in pallor and obviously it doesn’t for me but just the mention of skin is enough to make me think of the plight of my fellow anemics.
On top of feeling a little dizzy because of my low red blood cell count, I feel shame for hiding my true identity. Would people think my apartment looks “devastatingly chic but still lived in” if they knew I get out of breath from exercising? Probably yes, because these two are not related. My apartment is amazing.
Sometimes when I tell people about my anemia they say, “This just makes you relatable,” or, “I like you even more than I did before for being slightly flawed; you’re so complex” but I know they’re just saying that to be kind or to try and get closer to me because people just love being around me. Either way, it’s not in earnest, and that takes its toll.
I can’t control how people will respond, but I can control how I share myself with the world. That’s why from here on out, I’m letting everyone know: this “perfect” woman who did I mention, has visible abs but doesn’t really work out, is a little anemic. And she has to take iron supplements that can cause constipation. They don’t for me, but they could.