It’s been nearly two years since I started this blog (and five years since my bout with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome). In the past two years, I’ve had a few more surgeries, happily changed rheumatologists, and finally graduated with my B.A. So now that I have a little bit of free time, I’ve decided to finally take the plunge and write it all down. The past five years of breaking down and recovering. On paper. For everyone to read. It’s a little nerve-wracking to put everything out there, but I think it’s time. My grieving might not be over (might never fully be over), but my grieving period has come to a close. I finally feel whole again, and I think sharing it with all of you is the perfect way to celebrate that!
What does that mean for the blog, then? First, I am going to participate in wegohealth’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge to blog every day for the month of April. Second, I am going to dedicate time each week to work on the book, difficult as that may be. Last, I am going to share excerpts of the first draft with you! I am starting with the entire foreword. Enjoy…
Everyone has a history. We all have high points and low points in our pasts, major events and seemingly insignificant anecdotes that guide us to the present. Yet when you meet a stranger, in a bar or at a party, your first five minutes of conversation will not likely include a deep foray into his backstory. You probably won’t find yourselves discussing her mother’s bout with breast cancer or his car accident in high school that took his best friend’s life. You won’t discuss that one of you has IBS or a history of depression. No, you’ll make polite conversation and get to know the more PC pieces of each other’s lives.
Thankfully, most people can do just that. They can walk into a room and have complete control over the first impression they make. Leaving out the difficult parts of their histories, they can reinvent themselves with each new group in each new scene. But some of us simply can’t do that. Instead, we wear our histories on our arms, from our chairs, and across our faces. We count the minutes until someone asks, “What happened?” Or, worse, we wonder how to fit the story into the conversation ourselves, so as to relieve the unspoken question. Whether intended or not, our histories are shared up front, our very souls laid bare in the light of first impressions.
For me, I wear the most trying time of my life in my eyes. Five years ago, they were a beautiful cerulean blue that lit up with my smile or lashed out in my anger. They were expressive windows into my every thought, and they were often noted as my most catching feature. In every photograph I posed for, I made sure to tell a story with my eyes, and even more than ten surgeries later they tell a story still. However unintentional, they share with every passerby my most painful memories. And yet, they also tell my story of endurance and perseverance. Once my eyes were the height of my outer beauty, and now they are essence of my inner strength.
Everyone has a history. It’s what we choose to do with it in the present that makes us who we are and that gives us a brighter future.