Receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can be frightening. I know firsthand—I was diagnosed in 2013 shortly after I turned 29. I worried about my future and mourned for my past.
The disease comes in several forms with many manifestations. Much like our varied symptoms, people living with MS embark on different journeys. But while our individual experiences may be unique, there are similar underlying needs and conversations that must be had...
I will never forget the first time I felt “less than.”
I was onstage and in costume, ready to perform for the very first time at the local Greek festival. Our dance troupe director was welcoming the audience and explaining the origin of our opening number. The girl standing next to me in line started to ask the dancers in the immediate area “how much Greek” they were. She went down the line...
The holidays can be a difficult time for those living with MS. Some of us struggle with travel, or with the reminder that relationship dynamics change, and having to work double time to keep symptoms in check during flu and party seasons.
So with the start of the new year, it’s the perfect time for reflection, to gather ourselves and to perhaps make some New Year’s resolutions...
My mouth is dry. My heart is pounding. I'm beginning to sweat.
No, I'm not about to perform on a stage or give a speech to a roomful of people... and yet... everyone is looking at me—not at him—waiting, expecting me to do something...
“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.”
-Ralph Ellison, “Invisible Man”
I’m 5 foot 8. Half of my head is shaved. I wear bold makeup and jewelry. I’m hard to miss. And yet somehow, I have managed to (quite literally) stumble upon the secret to attaining one of the superpowers I’d mentioned inanother articleI'd written late last year: invisibility.
There’s this dress in the back of my closet.
And boy, I used to rock that thing. It was perfect for any occasion. It hugged every curve, it made heads turn, and it made me feel so confident and strong...
Allow me to introduce you to Devin Stratton, a 25-year-old Utah man who captured himself on video accidentally falling off a 150-foot cliff while skiing.
Horrifying, right? He surely didn't survive and, if he did, he's probably paralyzed or hooked up to countless machines keeping him alive... right?...
I tried not to make eye contact with her in the elevator while I pushed the button for the floor directly above us. I knew that it was bound to happen sooner or later, and I hoped that by not looking at her, she wouldn’t engage. But it did happen. It only happened just that once, but it was enough to make me feel about an inch tall.
“You’re so lazy!” she exclaimed. It was meant as a joke, but she wasn’t exactly known around the office for being timid or tactful. Joke or not, I immediately went on the defensive. She didn’t know I didn’t sleep well the night before. She didn’t know I could’ve (and would’ve) climbed the stairs, just one floor up, but I chose to conserve my waning energy instead...
Clare was gardening in her backyard when she saw it: a giant, vivid rainbow spanning across the sky. Clare’s eyes widened. She’d been waiting her whole life for this. Her friends had found gold at the end of a rainbow and all of their dreams had come true.
And now, it was Clare’s turn...
One of my favorite books when I was a kid was a Choose Your Own Adventure book, in which I chased Carmen Sandiego all over the globe. Paragraph by paragraph, I decided what my next move would be in order to find her. It was fun and, without me knowing it at the time, it taught me how to make educated choices and that, based on those choices, there would be some sort of consequence, no matter the outcome.
Having a disease like MS is a lot like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. My entire day is filled with important decisions to make that will carry a great impact, even lasting into the next few days. For example, have you ever spent 20-30 minutes deciding what outfit to wear? No, not because you want to keep up with your trendy coworker, avoid wearing the same dress as someone else at a party, or because you think your butt looks big in those pants...