It’s been a decade since I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. 10 whole years. I’ve spent more than one-third of my life dealing with this disease and its aftermath. Which seems like a long time, but I can still remember details so vividly. I remember the day I first felt symptoms. I remember my first doctor’s appointment. I remember sitting in the specialist’s office when I was finally diagnosed. It’s been 10 years since those moments.
Only a few people know all of the details. My family, my college girlfriend, and my current girlfriend, Laura. That’s it. I think a lot of the secrecy came from my own embarrassment of the disease. I wasn’t embarrassed to have been diagnosed, but it never really feels like a comfortable topic to talk about symptoms that largely involve your bowel movements, including frequent stomach cramping and diarrhea.
I adore children. And that truth that has always meant pouring love into the lives of all the littles I’ve been lucky enough to care for over the years and continuing to care unrelentingly about their journey beyond our time together.
I am a nurturer by nature. And I cannot wait to be a mother.
But my dreams of motherhood (as I’d imagined it) were disrupted and disfigured by an endometriosis diagnosis when I was 15 years old. Followed by surgery after surgery. Trial drug after trial drug. Rebuked suggestions of a hysterectomy. Ovarian cancer scares. A mutated uterus. So many doctors telling me “no” that I could barely hear the few who whispered “yes, maybe”.
If you’ve been with me for a while now, you already know that the cross-country move growing pains have been real. I’ve spent the better part of the last ten months just trying to stay afloat, attempting to right side up a life I voluntarily turned upside down. As much as I wish I could report a tectonic shift of realities, throwing roots in my new hometown has been like trying to grow wildflowers on the sidewalk: every now and then a seed will fall into the cracks and grow into something, but the blooms are rare and fleeting, and always against the odds.
The more I learn, the less I want to have any part in fast fashion. So for the last two years, I’ve been actively shifting away from filling my closet with the latest seasonal trends and instead only adding pieces I love, and as often as possible, investing in the work of other friends and makers who arrived to the slow fashion movement long before I did.
It felt good to know where my clothes were coming from and to be making intentional choices about things I wouldn’t have given a second thought in a previous lifetime… but I want to do better.
Earlier this morning, I read through the words of the person I used to be, the person I thought I was supposed to become, the person I was able to find when I drowned out the noise, and the person sitting here typing these words today.
It’s been a long and winding road to right here, right now… sitting with my fiercely loyal cat, in this little corner of my office, in a quiet corner of our lovely house, in a corner of the world I still can’t quite believe we’re living in. Some people might wish they could turn back their odometers and go a different, less tumultuous direction, but not me. I live for the road less traveled, even when it hurts.
And I won’t lie to you, it was pretty painful this year.
I did it. I left California two and a half months ago, went on the worlds most epic road trip with my small cat, got to Nashville, moved into a beautiful house that I love with the person I love, and we are loving our new hometown... says the highlight reel. Oh how I wish it was that simple.
I've been listening to Heavy by Birdtalker on repeat since the beginning of December, and it just might be my anthem for the new year. It's been a heavy year, has it not? I could so easily launch into an ugly rant about our current political climate, preach an impressive experienced-based sermon about the increasing shortcomings within our education system, and scream through a laundry list of pent up frustrations from a mountaintop after the last 365 days, but I prefer this lyric as a path forward…