Last week I participated in the Sick People Doing Things Challenge on Instagram which encouraged us to not talk about our illnesses for one solid week on social media.
The premise is that some in the chronically ill community (both on social media and in the real world) don’t know themselves outside their illnesses and while I don’t feel I am one of those people, I wanted to participate in the challenge because it gave those following my journey on social media the opportunity to get to know me outside my illness and it gave me the opportunity to get to know some knew people within the community.
When I say I don’t feel I am one of those people who’s identity is centered around their illness, I don’t mean to be… cocky? I just mean that at someone who was fortunate enough to not become ill until 3 years ago, I was also fortunate enough to get to grow and learn who I am a person prior to becoming ill. I conquered a lot of challenges prior to becoming ill… I had plenty of challenges to test my strength and will power and to really get to know myself prior to becoming ill…
Now I would be lying if I were to say chronic illness hasn’t changed me. But my identity isn’t centered around my illness. If I were to wake up tomorrow completely healthy, I wouldn’t be lost and/or feel empty. I would be excited to be able to get back to a normal life.
All of that said, I would like to share some of the prompts and my responses with you:
Day 1 Prompt 1: Where are you from and how does it impact who you are?
I was born in Lansing, Michigan (Go State!) where my dad met my egg donor, who you will all hear me refer to as Brooke, and our little family of three lived for the first few months of my life.
Not long after I was born Brooke became pregnant with my brother Branden and we moved south to Lafayette, Indiana where he and my youngest brother would be born. Where my parents would separate, and Brooke would more or less walk out of our lives for good (i mean for the better and for the foreseeable future) where my dad would meet my (step) mom some years later and lose the love of his life 12 years later to a heart aneurism. Where my dad would start his own business that would give him the much needed flexibility he would later need to take care of his family.
Day 1 Prompt 2: What are your favorite parts of fall?
I’m going to be honest, I DREAD fall. only because I know what comes after fall (winter) and the cold of winter does NOT do me any favors.
But my favorite part of fall is the absolutely beautiful foliage. The relaxing boat rides looking at aforementioned foliage. The even more beautiful sunsets that reflect off of the foliage and make the foliage look even beautiful… it’s almost a beauty you have to be there in person to see. Something you can’t fully capture with a lens.
Day 2 Prompt 1: Create an “About Me Board”
Starting in the upper left hand corner and moving clockwise towards the center:
• Support Group Founder
• 3 Tattoos I hold near and dear to my heart
• Lover of crafts
• Daddy’s girl
• Collector of souvenir squished coins
• Bachelor’s degree in business management
• Obsessive fur momma
• Love to cook & bake
• Amazon addiction
I would not be who I am today if it weren’t for the people in my life. If it weren’t for my incredibly loving and supportive family. I cannot tell them enough how much i love and appreciate them.
I also wouldn’t be able to get through each day without my love for crafts. A creative outlet is definitely a must for me.
And my absolute favorite past time is snuggling my fur baby. who doesn’t love snuggles?
Day 2 Prompt 2: Scent is the strongest link to memory. What are some scents that link you back to specific events or feelings?
Photo 1: My Dad’s shop. Body filler, break clean, paint thinner… I’ve grown up in and around cars and shops. There are a handful of smells that I associate with late, busy nights. Sleepless nights when all hands were on deck wrapping up a project because it *had* to ship the next morning. Nights when regardless of what was going on, everyone stepped up and sacrificed sleep to help make sure that it got done.
Photo 2: Sun & Sand. This was my (step) mom’s favorite candle scent and it’s my dad and mine as well. And just last year we went to Siesta Key in Florida and the beach smelled just like that candle! it was incredible! and so relaxing! i have never been to a beach that smelled so good! We still talk about it all the time.
Photo 3: Farm, mostly farm animal poop, reminds me of Brooke. You can take this multiple ways. You can take this to mean Brooke is full of bullshit (she is). But the reason that it reminds me of her is because when she still had visitation rights and was a sort of reliable person, she was a caregiver for an older couple who lived out in the country on an old farm. Yes, you read that correctly… she was trusted with the care of a disabled elderly woman and her aging husband… but couldn’t be responsible enough or care enough to care for her own children… Anyway… during her visitations we would have to drive to her because she didn’t have a car which involved driving past a functioning farm with living animals… and if you have ever driven past a farm with living animals, you can smell the animals long before you can see them. Now every time I smell that smell, I picture her.
Day 3 Prompt 1: Share your furbabies or kids!
Unfortunately, life happened last night and I was unable to finish creating and posting my sick people doing things challenge post, so while I know the point isn’t to post every day, i am really enjoying these posts, the creative outlet, and the experience of getting to know new people, so i’m going to “catch up”.
Photo 1: is my fur baby Rawry (pronounces Rory). He is my world. he came into my life the very end of June, beginning of July of 2015. He wondered in to my dad’s shop at just 5 weeks old and for 2 days we could hear him mewing but couldn’t find him. by the time we found him, he had been without water and food for two days and his momma was long gone and there was no way in hell he could defend himself… so we took him home with us for the holiday weekend “just until we could figure out somewhere that would take him” by the end of the weekend he was sleeping on my face (first picture) and had adopted me as his human.
Photo 2: Is Maxi (short for Maxine). We have had her since before my (step) mom passed away. Her mom came was a stray at a greenhouse my mom worked at… her boss was on a rampage and was going to kill it so she called me in a panic one day and asked me to come get it… a couple weeks later we found out she was pregnant and a couple weeks after that we had kittens. Maxi is one of those kittens. She is really quiet, very passive aggressive, and she likes to play games. she will wait for me to get out of bed and then lay right where i was just laying and try to make herself way as much as possible when i go to pick her up.
Day 3 Prompt 2:If you could change one thing about your life (not illness related) what would it be?
I have always wished I could go back in time and appreciate the time had with people way before I learned the hard way to appreciate the time I have with the people I love… Unfortunately I was one of those kids (teens) that had to lose someone close to me to learn that lesson… and if I could, I would go back and learn that life lesson much earlier and without the loss of someone close to me…
Day 6 Prompt 2: If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?
The very first thing I would do is change my phone number and run away to somewhere beautiful. This way, by the time they start releasing who the winner is, no one is able to get in contact with me and beg me for money. …and i don’t say that to mean i don’t want to help those who need the help… What I mean is I know that when you win something like that, people come out of the wood work begging for money… and a majority of them are NOT on the up and up.
the very next thing I would do is help to pay off my family’s medical debt. I don’t just mean my immediate family, I mean extended as well. I know what that stress is like and I don’t want anyone else to have to endure it. I would then make sure that everyone in my family has incredible medical insurance for the rest of their lives.
then i would find somewhere absolutely gorgeous that stays relatively the same temp all year round.
Once I find the perfect location, I would build a founds for each of my immediate family (Dad, brothers, & grandma). While their homes are being built, i would hire a nanny (or several) to take my brothers to all the really awesome amusement parks (Disney World, Disney Land, Universal Studios, Legoland, Six Flags, Cedar Point, etc.) And while they are doing that, I would gift my grandma with all the necessary month to travel the world and visit all of the places on her “bucket list” and my dad and I would go with her.
As soon as we got back and settled into our new homes, I would gift my dad the money he would need to build his dream shop and then his dream car.
I would also like to help out my extended family with any debt they may have.
I would also like to make various donations to help with fuchs research.