An Open Letter… to you

Day in and day out, I’m plagued with this disconnect between myself and those around me. So today, I’m writing you this letter.

To my future teachers…

I promise I’m not trying to skip your class. I know you see my accommodation letter and wish you could just have a class full of students who didn’t need anything extra from you. But I’m not sorry you’ll have to perhaps put in a little more work.

I am sorry that you’ve already now cast judgment on me. I’m sorry that because of this judgment, I will have to work harder than the other students in the class just to prove that I’m a great student.

But here’s the thing, I’m a great student. Hell, I talk all the time. 8 AM lecture class? Guess who the only participating voice will be… that’s right its me. You’ll probably eventually ask me to stop talking so other students are forced to participate. Sorry again, I’m here for my learning experience, not theirs.

I hope you’ll be able to work with me seamlessly on days where I can’t pull myself out of bed. I’m really great at working from home and will always do my best to make sure your job isn’t harder simply because you’re still required to find a way for me to makeup missed points for in class participation.

To the girl I sit next to…

I promise I’m not a drug addict, but no sorry even though I’m a walking pharmacy, I don’t happen to have an advil.

I’m sorry if we get to talking about something other than the class. I’m probably not the most interesting person to strike up a conversation with, because lets be honest here, all that is going on in my life is my migraine and my academics.

I hope you can get past that. Maybe we can even grab a coffee together after class. Maybe we can talk about all the different things going on in the world and strike up a friendship.

Maybe you just won’t talk to me.

Maybe that will be okay too.

But I hope we can be friends and I hope you’ll understand that even if I can’t always do normal people stuff, I still make a great friend.

To the family that just won’t ever quite get it…

I still appreciate you.

I know you’ve tried. I know you’ve given suggestions. I know you’re probably angry with me if I don’t follow your advice.

Please understand that more than one opinion goes into a decision.

Please recognize that your suggestions cost a lot of money and unless you’re handing over that money, it probably isn’t worth your time suggesting in the first place.

I see the way you look down on me. I see the way you act like I’m not trying hard enough. I see the way you think every action and decision made on my own is a mistake.

That isn’t your decision to make, so keep it to yourself.

I accept that you don’t understand or that you’ve got your own problems. I still love you. But please understand when I don’t bring up issues, as you’ve made me feel like I can’t talk to you anymore.

To the friends I don’t talk to anymore…

I’m sorry, as I’m probably the one who stopped talking to you.

But, I’m probably not going to just pick up the phone and try and pick up where we left off. Because, we didn’t leave off anywhere.

I’m glad I was able to help you with whatever you went through while we were friends. I’m so thankful I got to be the shoulder you cried on and the person you celebrated with. Your secrets will always be safe with me.

I’m sorry you’ve probably got a lot going on, and I understand you don’t have time to check in. Its hard to stay in touch with people you no longer are connected with.

I hope that you’re doing well. I hope things are falling into place. I hope you’re building healthy relationships with those around you and I’m rooting for you.

But someday down the road, I hope we do reconnect.

To practically every college aged kid out there…

I hate to say it but I just can’t relate.

We aren’t going to be interested in the same things.

I go to bed at 9pm, you’re just going out then.

I have the energy of your grandparents, you don’t even keep in touch with them…

You’ve got goals and hopes and dreams. They’re long-term plans of how you want your life to turn out.

My goal is to make it from the time I wake up to the time I get to go back to bed.

We just aren’t the same. You won’t think I’m fun. My sense of humor is darker than yours. I like the music your parents listen to and I honestly can’t stand The Office.

So we aren’t a match made in heaven.

So unless you’re a hermit or also chronically ill, it probably just won’t work out.

To the general population: 

I know you see me just like you. I don’t have a mobility aid. I’m the bitch that’s wearing her sunglasses inside.

If I jumble my words, I’m tongue tied or anxious – you don’t know that this is a symptom of my condition.

You probably think I’m either drunk or hungover. I know I must look lazy. When you’re loading in my groceries in the back of my car because I ordered them for pick up, I can’t help but wonder what kind of judgment you’re sending my way. Maybe you think I’m just a busy mom who doesn’t have time to actually grocery shop. But thank you for never asking me.

When you greet me in a coffee shop or in the lobby of my apartment, I’m not up for a conversation. I know I come off as rude. Outside of a standard polite greeting, I really don’t want to start up any sort of in depth conversation. I’m not interested in your life, and you definitely don’t want to hear about mine.

Being “friends” on social media and even interacting on social media, doesn’t mean anything. I don’t want your advice or your sympathy. But I also don’t need you getting angry at me when I won’t agree to a date with someone I’ve never met. I don’t have the energy for a date with someone I do know.

When you park in a handicap spot and you still park like a jackass covering the yellow dashed lines, it takes a lot for me not to key your car or have you towed. Those blocked off spaces are for wheelchair lifts, not your shitty parking job.

Honestly, just learn to be more compassionate. Learn to not assume things about those around you. Aim to be helpful and polite. Stop getting so angry so quickly.

And please, just leave people alone in public spaces if they aren’t expressing any interest in being approached.

And the most important letter, is to those closest to me. My parents. My sisters. Mikayla and Olivia. Sam and Dynasty. And Josh obviously. 

Thank you.

Thank you for just being you.

For the endless support, the endless understanding of canceling of this and that and rescheduling of basically everything.

Maybe I’ve known you forever, maybe I’ve known you for a year, but you’ve made a difference.

You listen without casting judgment. I know I can always turn to you.

Thank you for letting me cry and being their to lift me up.

Thank you for recognizing when my body has had enough.

Thank you for sharing my journey and letting me be a part of yours.

And Josh, thanks for the poem that just couldn’t not be shared:

“Alex my Alex
I cast your headaches away
Oh how I love you :’)”
And finally, to those that are also a member of this warrior community:

You all give me so much inspiration. You’re the reason I take the time to write. Regardless of if I’m trying to bridge the gap between normal people and us or if I’m just putting into words the life we sometimes struggle to describe, you’ve all taken the time to read and share those words. 
This community has taught me so much about all the different invisible battles we are facing and that we aren’t alone. I’ve been shown that its okay to take off the mask because no one here cares about who we are on the outside. 
Your strength gives me strength. 
Connecting with you, gives me hope. 
Knowing that my words helped a mother understand her son’s migraines, or that I’ve assisted in sharing the indescribable sensual experience that occurs during “sensory overload”, I feel that what I say matters. 
Keep on fighting my fellow warriors. We’ve got a lot of ass kicking left to do. 

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