A Letter To My Chronically Ill Best Friend

A Letter To My Chronically Ill Best Friend

Us Against the World
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Dear My Chronically Ill Friend,

I want you to know that I care. I want to be there for you. I want to know the truth when I ask how you’re feeling. That’s right. I know you’re lying when you say, “I’m fine” or “Good, you?” I wish you wouldn’t lie. There are days when I think you are trying to convince yourself more than you’re trying to convince me. Those days I want to scream at the people who made you feel like it’s wrong to not be okay. The days I wish I could scream so loud that the whole world would hear me when I say, “It’s okay to not be okay.” I want you to not only hear me but to believe me. You deserve more than to feel you have to silence yourself. You deserve more than this.

Then I look at you, I talk to you, I listen to you. I am reminded that you are one of the strongest people I have ever met. That you have so much creative talent that every time you write it flows from you in a way that would amaze some of the best writers in time. I am reminded of how big your heart is. I see it everyday. The way you speak so adamantly about clubs and writing shows more than you know. The way you advocate, not for yourself, but for everyone who has ever felt the way you do and who don’t have the voice to fight for themselves. The way that you encourage those you care about.

You are the bravest person I have ever known, because bravery isn’t fighting your fear. Bravery is facing it. Bravery is the way you let peoples hate and prejudice flow past you instead of letting the waves of their lies and misinformed ideas crash into you, never ceasing to try and stop you from catching your breath. Instead you stand tall and let it recede back into the depths it came from. You feel it as deeply as anyone, but you don’t let yourself be dragged away with it. You never let the waves of their hate drown you.

Now I am reminded that your sickness woke you up to the world around you. No longer do you run from an opportunity but actively seek them. Now you struggle everyday, to learn, to grow, and to experience the world in a way that many don’t feel the need to.

I am reminded that you are a person. Not a diagnosis. I want to hear about your life. The good parts. The social political and trivial daily tasks. I want to know about your friends, hear about your family, talk about your life. I want you to be happy.

When on the rare occasion that you come up with these ‘what if’ eventualities and say things like ‘if something happens’ there are so many mixed feelings that rise up to meet your words. First I am glad to know that you trust me like this. To me it screams that you are aware of how much I mean it when I say “I’m here for you”. Then next the fear swells up to drown the pleasant, friendly moment. I am scared beyond belief that you think those ‘what ifs’ might be closer than I thought. I am scared for you. The fear you must feel at the thought. The way that you promise everything is okay with a smile that doesn’t touch your eyes. The way that suddenly everything seems more serious. That any minute you could be lost to your illness. I am suddenly sad. Selfishly, I am sad for myself. Sad for you. Sad for your family. Sad for the world. A world that without you is suddenly missing a lot. Even if it doesn’t know it.

Then I am happy. Happy because I have had the wonderful and amazing privilege of getting to know you. The privilege of getting to know one of the strongest, bravest, most caring people I have ever met. Happy to have found a friend who understands and listens and can appreciate the smallest moments, and teaches me to everyday.

Never could I have wished for a better friend. I will always be here for you. Even if it means us against the world, because I’d have an amazing friend to battle with.

~ KS

Cover Image Credit: Katie Schaffer

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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