The teacher’s face was blurry. “I really need to go to the nurse, I said. I don’t feel so…”
I slumped forward then fell to the ground. I regained consciousness while getting wheeled off to the nurse's office.
I fainted, I realized later, because I had a poorly understood medical condition called POTS. The condition meant that I felt light-headed and nauseous on a daily basis.
After diagnosis, I was immediately told not to tell anyone. This was perhaps my first memory of being told to hide any form of weakness. I was in middle school.
Even after I outgrew POTS, I continued to pretend everything was okay — even when it wasn’t. The people around me were mostly the same way. Keeping closed off seemed like the normal, masculine way to act. …
It’s Thanksgiving dinner and I feel as if I’m floating above my body. The pain is terrible. I sometimes forget what I’m saying mid-sentence.
I have yet another severe infection.
I get home, half-delirious, and try to write a Medium article. 4 hours of work produces a self-pitying, mawkish diary entry.
I give up at 6 AM. It’s the last time I write for about 2 months.
It takes over a week to find an antibiotic that eradicates the infection. I often can’t sleep due to pain, chills, and restlessness.
I can’t believe it. I’m about to stay with my long-distance girlfriend and her family for a month. I want to make a good impression and enjoy the holidays but I’m sick yet again. …
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
— C.S. Lewis
Opiate withdrawal is like nothing else. I’ve heard doctors compare it to the flu. To them, I say: “I’ve never gotten the flu and wanted to tear my hair out strand by strand”.
After a long-term daily dose of hundreds of oxycodone a day, I found myself detoxing in the hospital. …
I wake up at 9 AM but don’t get out of bed until 10:30. I’m sick, really sick. I’ve been this way for 3 days.
I shake my head in exasperation. Another miserable day. I’ve dealt with constant infections for months. I hardly remember what it feels like to wake up with energy.
But… I still have a productive day. I write almost 4000 words for my freelance clients, read for about 3 hours, and take multiple long phone calls. Am I a productivity guru’s wet dream? No, but I make things work.
I spent much of my adult life feeling dreadful. Severe Crohn’s disease often left me so weak I couldn’t walk a block without feeling dizzy. Sometimes, I wished a pit would open up at my feet, as even an eternal fall seemed preferable to working while feeling like complete garbage. …
I’m at an interesting point in my life. My personality is solidifying, I’m more confident in my pursuits, and I understand my strengths and weaknesses.
Youth has faded to be replaced by maturity and the beginnings of wisdom.
I know less with each passing day, but what works, what knowledge has been accumulated, is increasingly sturdy. In this vein, I offer 24 lessons I’ve learned within my short existence:
Raise your hand if you believe “writing is tough.”
Okay, you can put your hand down.
Look, writing is tough, but it doesn’t always have to be the slog we make it.
Yeah yeah, I’m all for suffering for our art and stuff, but I’m also for not making things any harder than they have to be.
What if I told you that one simple shift can make the writing process significantly easier?
If you’re willing to put in the effort required, this simple yet powerful writing habit can make all the difference in the world.
Or, at least, it’s made all the difference in my world. I personally used to dread the desk until I started cultivating this writing habit on a regular basis. …
What’s holding you back?
You know the answer. We all do.
Sure, you don’t have every last detail figured out, but, if you’re honest with yourself, listing out your bad habits limiting mindsets is easy.
What we need to do to improve our lives is often obvious; getting ourselves to do these things is another story.
We are our own worst enemy. We are held back by the part of our brain that chooses comfort and short-term gratification over what we know we should do.
If only you could drop that one vice or add a positive habit. Things would get better. …
Boxes. Four-sides of nauseating claustrophobia designed to blot out the real you.
I hate those damn things.
“This is you,” they say. Here, you can work within these parameters — you can choose between A and B.
Last time I checked, there are more than 2 letters in the alphabet and even more distinct capacities within every human.
Anyone that doesn’t fit into pre-determined stereotypes is confusing, and people don’t like confusing. It’s human nature to make things easy and convenient — to take shortcuts.
But obtuse categorization creates nothing but problems. If people’s gifts are obscured or even obfuscated because they don’t fit within defined parameters, potential is squandered. …
In an episode of The Sopranos, Christopher (a made man in the mob) tells Tony (the mob boss) that he’s feeling off. He’s sleeping all the time and doesn’t enjoy day-to-day life.
“I’m thinking, you’re depressed,” says Tony.
“Me? I’m no mental midget,” says Christopher.
Christopher was right — he’s not a “mental midget” — but not, as he crudely implies, because he’s too “strong” for depression but because experiencing depression doesn’t make you weak.
Christopher can’t accept that he’s depressed because he’s “tough” and depression is “weak.” …
“So, am I your girlfriend?”
The question lingered in the air. Was I ready to make my first commitment?
The answer, as it turns out, was a resounding “yes.” Over 3 years, my partner and I have cultivated a strong bond that dramatically improved our lives. I wouldn’t change anything.
In addition to making me happier and more fulfilled, my first serious relationship also taught me valuable life lessons. Here are 3:
I used to think sacrifice was a sad reality of being human. We can’t “have our cake and eat it too” so things must be given up.
My first serious relationship taught me sacrifice isn’t necessarily negative. It can be deeply meaningful to choose your partner's well-being over your own. …