This past few weeks have been nothing but a giant reminder for me, that I'm not normal. It's been the little things that have really gotten to me. It's the foods I can't eat, like anything sugary, acidic, or fried. It's the activities I can't do, like staying up late and partying with friends. It's the feelings I get throughout the day, one minute I'm as fine as I can be and the next I feel like death warmed over. Besides, I don't know any 23 year old who gets excited over lab work. I'm not normal.
The funny thing is that I used to be normal, well as normal as one could be. I was a enthusiastic and intelligent college student. I worked, I volunteered, I had relationships, looking back on it, I had the world. But now I hardly ever get enthusiastic over anything because I know in a second that it could get ripped away from me. I'm not as intelligent as I once was, lupus has zapped my brain making it like a bowl of pudding. I had a job and I could work double shifts in restaurants and I wouldn't even get tired. I loved volunteering, especially with youth and the underprivileged. I had relationships, I lived and loved and I was loved back. I had the world in my hands but then in a heart beat, it got ripped away from me. Three years ago my life changed and I was no longer normal. I was sick.
Now I'm the healthiest I've been in three years. Yet for some people in my life, I don't seem very healthy. But they also didn't know me when I was at my absolute sickest. In a way I am glad some of these friends didn't know me one or two years ago. I've saved them a lot of pain of having to watch me deteriorate. It's even better because some of these people didn't even know me when I was healthy. They don't have to mourn the loss of the Erika of days past. Yet every day, somehow I end up mourning a little piece of me that has died. And it feels like every day a little piece of me dies. It's the little something that I can't do and for the life of me, I can't get back. So I'm thankful that the few new friends I have don't have to miss the old me. Sadly, I do and I can't go back in time and change it.
So here I am, with my life that isn't normal and will never be normal again. Maybe one day the reminders won't be as frequent. Hopefully one day it won't disturb me as much as it does. Because it's the little reminders that make me want to shed a tear. In those moments it's all I can do to stand there with a smile on my face and tell you "Everything is OK." Inside though, I'm breaking, I'm standing in front of you and falling apart. Maybe because everybody thinks I am so "well adjusted" that no one notices. The funny thing is, I never feel well adjusted and in way that would make me normal, I'm not normal.