There are going to be some things in your life that you will feel embarrassed about, even though you shouldn’t. Asking for help. Failing your math test. Seeing your father cry.
Others will feel less universal- that fanfiction you wrote when you were deep into your X-Men phase, the fear of running into the boy that broke your heart, the time a rectal surgeon stuck his finger up your butthole while you accidentally maintained eye contact with your mother. These will feel like secrets.
Here’s the thing you guys: you’ve got to let that go. Seriously. You’ll feel horrendous for the first ten minutes and then you will feel better.
For the past year I have wanted to start a blog about my experiences with Crohn’s Disease- a blog for people like me, who are proud and embarrassed and frustrated to be living with a chronic illness that is so often treated as the butt of everyone’s jokes. And several times, I almost did. But then I thought, “Am I ready for this? For random strangers to know the intimate secrets of my heart and butthole? Will boys still like me? Will I be just another crass and cranky crohnie playing into the potty humor that I currently detest? What if everyone hates it, or worse, what if no one cares at all?”
But I’m tired of being embarrassed. I’m tired of hiding the particulars of my painful surgeries from inquiring friends. I’m tired of people asking me, “What will happen if you eat that?” (never an ok question) and feeling compelled to cast my eyes downward and shrug demurely instead of being gutsy enough to tell the truth (diarrhea.)
I want to find the courage to speak up. Finally. And to start this blog! And to share it! Even if it gets weird, even if I’m worried what everyone might think, because when I was newly diagnosed and scared and ashamed it really would’ve helped me.
More than anything, I really want to reach people. So if you’re reading this and you know someone who is struggling with an illness, especially one that people deem as “embarrassing,” or “too much information,” then please forward this along to them. And if you’re reading this and find yourself identifying with any of the things I’ve said, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to be your friend!
So, here it goes. I’m pressing the little “publish” button. And I think I’ll feel horrendous for a little while, and then, I hope, a little bit better.