When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher made a dreaded mistake by telling me I was “practically perfect.” I’m sure she meant it as a compliment: I’m a hard working gal and have always devoted excess time to whatever project I’m working on, but in that moment, I remember thinking that it wasn’t so much a praise as it was a challenge. As in, if this is how I’m being perceived by at least some of my peers, I cannot be anything but.
When one of my closest friends got a job right after graduation, you could say I was a bit down. Our moms met when they were each pregnant with their respective child (seriously!), so to not have that familiarity and that presence in my life was horrifying. No longer would she be able to come over and watch guilty-pleasure movies with me or grab breakfast on Sunday mornings at our favorite diner. She couldn’t text me to come over with ten minutes’ notice, because we no longer had the proximity that held us together for so long.
Dating is hard enough by itself and having a chronic illness adds an additional level of complications. So yes, I’d like you to accept my normal “crazy girl” stuff, but I also need you to understand, accept, and deal with the chronic illness I face everyday. That’s a super awesome elevator speech for dating if I’ve ever heard one (…by the way: sarcasm is required when you are told you have a joint crippling disease at 18).
I’ve been on a lot of dates, mainly for the free food and drinks, and I have learned that your special someone is going to love you for you, chronic disease or not. The shiny fish I will eventually find in this overwhelming ocean of options will get over the days he has to carry me to the bathroom or let me cry on his shoulder. But for your laughs and my therapeutic writing experiment, here are some of my favorite quotes from guys I’ve dated in reaction to finding out about my chronic illness.
Hey there, folks. It’s been awhile, and I’m sure you’ve desperately missed mine and Mary’s ramblings taking up your Facebook feed. (Even if you haven’t, please pretend for my sake that you have).
I’m assuming your choice to go to a concert alone was an intentional one. After all, you had the last seat in the row and the block of seats I was sitting in with my friends started right next to yours. My friend that sat next to you said that you were having a grand old time the entire time, noting you knew every word to every single song.
My first roommate was my sister. I don’t remember it much, but I’m sure she hated it. She’s seven years older than I am, and I can’t imagine any self respecting tween enjoying cohabitation with her kid sister. When we moved into a bigger house, sometime when I was in intermediate school, I think, she and I became housemates, rather than roomies.
While I was at work the other day, I noticed a couple arguing about the status of their relationship. Not whether or not they were in a relationship, rather, the lack of Facebook statuses about their relationship.
We currently exist in a time where confusion and chaos are consistently occurring. It’s disheartening to see people ignore these problems if they’re not being directly affected by them. However, apathy does not ignite change. Rather than ignore what we do not want to face or do not feel we have to face, we must harness empathy — the ability to understand and share in the feelings of another. We do not (and should not) have to be affected by the problems of others to want to rectify the struggles of others. Here are a couple ways to expand your worldview and become more empathetic:
Leslie Knope was really onto something when she coined “Galentine’s Day”— that is, celebrating female friendship on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, effectively placing a special emphasis on the important of platonic love. Leslie is a huge proponent of female unions, and watching her give her friends self portraits that she has made out of their favorite diet soda bottles is nothing short of magical. However, we do not need to have that level of finesse to show our lady friends that we appreciate them and are grateful for the role they play in our lives. Here are some other routes you could consider when planning your very own Galentine’s celebration:
This time of the year, there is a special emphasis on celebrating your significant other. Whether it be through flowers, chocolate covered whatevers, or a sappy Instagram post, people are encouraged to tell those they love exactly that.