On St. Patrick’s Day: Do You Have Your Lucky Charm?
As St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, I find myself thinking of all the things I cannot do to celebrate this so-called “holiday”. Usually, I would still be here in Santa Barbara studying for a million finals, but I “lucked out”. I will be home this year. Sounds great, right? WRONG. All of my friends’ spring breaks are next week, and my boyfriend can’t get enough of his “Irish roots” on this joyous occasion. So I will sit at home, once again unable to partake in the festivities. So much for being twenty-one in two weeks.
However, I am not completely out of luck. I still have millions of breaths to breathe, and a half marathon to run. I consider myself mentally and physically tougher than all of my friends. I still have newly diagnosed Ulcerative Colitis patients to reach out to. I have yet to become a social worker for people battling chronic diseases. What about being an advocate for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America? I have yet to fully embrace that life goal. So I can’t eat red meat, or drink anything with lactose. Maybe I use the bathroom more often than the average human being. But do any of those things matter in the long run? No. Everyone has daily struggles in life. My struggles just happen to be a little more serious than others.
I have a close friend who is married to a Marine. He is currently deployed until mid-July, and I tell her on a daily basis that she is one of the strongest women out there. There was one day where she was having a particularly hard time dealing with his absence, and I told her something I will never forget. I told her to think about what she has learned about herself and her husband during this deployment. I told her the biggest challenge was not the day he left; it was deciding to marry him, knowing that he would eventually have to go. She went into this relationship knowing what was to come, and that is the biggest leap of faith I think I have ever witnessed. People should be jealous of her, and not the other way around.
Later that night, I realized that my words hold true for myself, and everyone else who struggles with a chronic condition. I spent so many years of my life looking down on my body for the pain and humiliation it caused me. I did not want to accept it, and I did not want to be a part of it. However, there is that moment in your life when you realize that it will be with you forever, and being mad at your body will not make it any better. The only thing you can do at that point is run with it. Embrace it. So I did. I accepted my ulcer-infested intestines for the disgusting insides that they are, and I ran with it. That was my leap of faith. Truth be told, I have never been so happy. My disease is no long who I am; it simply influences who I want to be.
So, going back to the whole St. Patrick’s Day dilemma. Do I feel left out? Yes. Do I consider myself unlucky? Not even close. I have my lucky charm, even if it is disguised as a health complication. I hope you can find your lucky charm in disguise. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
By: Caitlyn Pilkington © butyoudontlooksick.com