The Mighty Logo

How a Dilapidated House Taught Me to Be Vulnerable About My Illness

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I’ve lived in this area all my life, and I’ve lived in this house with my family for two years now, so a fair amount of time, where you’d think I’d be familiar with everything.

Just on the corner of a turning I take frequently, there were, until recently, high fence panels, covered with ivy, winding and oddly romantic with its wildness. Every time I look at that turning, or came up the other direction towards it, it would make me smile, as it looked so welcoming in an odd way. I love the wilds of nature, and ivy is something that fascinates me in how it will grow entirely without prompting, support or the foods that other plants demand. So these fence panels made me smile.


Then one day a few weeks ago I was coming up towards the ivy panels, when I suddenly saw they were gone. Ripped down completely on one side. The front panels, onto the main road, remained, but the side was gone. And for the first time I could see what was behind the panels.

A little old house stood there, dilapidated, crumbling but still upright, with a wonky chimney, chipped tiles, a broken window. The grounds around it had been prepared for demolition and then construction, with various stakes in the ground and different colored tapes between them. The ground was uneven and had the appearance of almost being churned, then thrown in different directions.

But the house! I fell in love with the house even more than the ivy panels. It was charming, beautiful in its ugliness, welcoming in its brokenness, a house full of memories and history that can almost be read on its collapsing walls. And I thought… “I wish someone had torn down those panels sooner.”

Later on it came to me how much this likened to finally letting people in to see who you really are, to show them your ugliness, your vulnerability, the failings in your health. People who only see your ivy-covered panels only see your romantic perfection. Those who see your wonky chimney and broken tiles see you. They see who you are, the real you and they might love you all the more for it.

Admitting to people how ill you really are is so painful and terrifying. But be proud of your house. Show it to people, and let them absorb your reality. You are a beautiful dilapidated house.

This post originally appeared on Caffeinated Crafting Cripple.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via nathan4847.

Originally published: June 24, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home