A few times a month I get e-mails from these awful websites that focus on inspirational nonsense and the editors tell me that they came across my blog and thought I would be a good fit for their site. If you know me at all you know that I can’t stand that stuff. Even when they offer me money for an article I always refuse. I just can’t submit something to websites that are 90% made up of articles with titles like “watch this inspiring paraplegic man play the drums! How inspiring! If he can drum then you can do anything!” No. If he can drum that doesn’t mean I can climb Mount Everest. There is zero correlation between those two things. I also have no interest in climbing Mount Everest so what is your article even proving, stupid website?!
My most recent e-mail request came from a site that we will call stupidinspirationalcrap.com. The editors at Stupid Inspirational Crap Inc. were just surfing the web and found my little tiny, dusty corner of the internet and decided that I was perfect for them because I have lupus. I don’t really understand what is so inspirational about having lupus, as I have mentioned in previous blog posts. I was not cursed with lupus after trying to fight the devil to save mankind from the apocalypse. I just have a shitty immune system.
So the folks over at Stupid Inspirational Crap Inc. asked for a “list-type article detailing the inspiring things I have learned since being diagnosed with lupus.” And the request made me so irate that I actually sat down and came up with a list of actual real life things I have learned from being sick. And it was my intention to submit it to their site, knowing full well they would hate it and be offended. But then I thought nah, it would be way better on my own blog (especially because I never blog anymore because I’m the laziest human in the world), and I’m also a bit too chicken to do it. So here is the list I created for them.
20 Actual Things I’ve Learned From Being Sick
1. The human body is weird, gross and fascinating.
It amazes me that your immune system can just all of a sudden decide it wants to kill you and start attacking healthy cells while thinking they are foreign invaders. I think a better name for lupus might be “Friendly Fire.” And it makes your body do such weird things. Like random 2 month anaphylactic nut allergies! What is that even?
2. Being sick is stupid.
Being sick is way less inspiring than it is just a big stupid annoyance that gets in the way of your fun. Sometimes it makes me feel like throwing a temper tantrum like a 5 year old. How is that for inspirational?
3. How to swallow lots of pills at once.
When I was a kid I absolutely hated swallowing pills. I ended up in the hospital once because I had a horrible asthma attack and I remember having to take a lot of pills afterwards. I was so afraid of taking them that my mom used to buy me little jell-o cups and hide the pills in the middle of the jell-o so they could just slide down my throat with no problems. That was pretty genius of her. But I’m proud to say that I can now swallow about 4 pills at a time without even really needing water. I’m such a pro.
Ha, just kidding. I’m still an asshole.
5. I’m really vain and no amount of illness will fix that.
I still complain endlessly about bad hair days and when I put on 3 different layers of moisturizer in the morning before my makeup but there are still some dry flakes on my cheek I consider that a life crisis.
6. I’m stubborn in the worst ways possible.
By now I should have learned from enough past mistakes to know that I need help with certain things to avoid tiring myself out or hurting myself. But instead of thinking back to those moments and having that learning experience I shout the words “I’M A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN!!!” when someone asks if I need help. I then struggle to do it myself. It usually takes me twice as long to do on my own and then I have to go lay down for about 2 hours to recuperate.
7. Stairs are the worst.
Technology has caught up to us enough now that we shouldn’t need stairs for anything. Stairs are awful. When I go to the gym I usually just go on the treadmill on a slight incline to practice walking up hills and then I get on the stepper to practice climbing stairs because I’m that bad at it.
8. Beds are the best.
My bed is my best friend.
9. Netflix is also the best.
Okay, I have two best friends. Bed and Netflix. How did anyone get through having a chronic illness before Netflix was invented? I guess you just taped every episode of Days of Our Lives and re-watched it on your sick days.
10. Information about almost every autoimmune disease ever.
I have been misdiagnosed with so many auto immune diseases that I have a pretty solid knowledge of them now. I could probably go to Med School and help other people like myself who have spent years trying to find out what is wrong with them. I could listen to them and believe them when they tell me they are sick even though they don’t look sick and I could fight diligently for them to get a diagnosis and help teach them to advocate for themselves. But that would be exhausting so I obviously won’t be doing that.
11. Which celebrities have auto-immune diseases.
If you name a celebrity I can probably tell you which auto-immune disease they have. I have a weird obsession with celebrities and I’m sick so I just put those 2 things together and developed a lot of knowledge about something I will never really need to know. Why did I find out which celebs are sick, you might ask? Easy. So I could follow them on twitter in hopes that they would follow me back and read my blog. Has it worked, you may also ask? God no.
12. My boyfriend is really patient.
I can’t say enough good things about the guy. He puts up with a lot of crap. And not just because I’m sick. We all know it takes patience and compassion to be with someone with a chronic illness like lupus, but I’m also just really awful and annoying in ways that have nothing to do with being sick. For instance, see # 6 about my stubbornness. My boyfriend deserves a medal.
13. I’ve learned who my true friends are.
Having a chronic illness is a great way to find out who your true friends are. I guess an even better way to find out who your true friends are would be to text and ask them. Definitely way less dramatic than getting lupus.
14. Being sick is expensive.
People with chronic illnesses will buy anything that might make their life easier. For instance, I just forked over $100 for a thumb brace simply because I didn’t want to have to scream in pain every time my thumb moved. I have spent so much money on drinking glasses and mugs trying to find the right one that I can actually hold onto comfortably. I spent $100 on a pair of tight socks that go up to your knee to help with muscle pain. 100 DOLLARS ON SOCKS! I bet Oprah doesn’t even spend that much money on socks. I would really like to start inventing ergonomic things for people with chronic illness because I bet I could make a mint and retire off of it.
15. It’s pretty challenging to work full time with a chronic illness.
But I make it work because I’M AN INSPIRATION. And by “inspiration” I mean “I’m a very materialistic girl with high living standards and I need to make money to afford the things I want in life like all of those t-shirts I buy with cute animals all over them.”
16. You can’t eat Tums when you’re on Plaquenil.
Plaquenil is the anti-malarial drug that I’m on for lupus. Yeah, don’t ask. I found out recently that you can’t eat tums around the time that you take your pill because it can make your pill ineffective. I’m pretty sad about that because I love tums and I love having working organs that aren’t destroyed by lupus.
17. “But you don’t look sick” is the worst thing you can say to someone with an invisible illness.
It makes me want to hulk out every time I hear it. My friend Clare, who is really good at friendship, once said to me “You don’t look sick, but I bet that makes it even harder for you sometimes.” Yes! Be like Clare. Say things like that instead of ending the sentence on “but you don’t look sick.” If you say “but you don’t look sick” to me, this is how I hear it: “As a healthy person I feel the need to comment on your struggles even though it’s really none of my business and I must say that you do not look sick, which is my way of not validating your illness. I assume you just have lupus because that pop singer has it so it’s kind of cool now, isn’t it? It’s a bit trendy. You just want to be trendy and maybe have some attention.” If you’re telling me I don’t look sick because maybe my lipstick looks really fierce and I styled my hair a really cool way today just tell me my lipstick looks fierce and that I’m rocking my hair style! How I look has no relation to how I feel.
18. I took alcohol for granted and I miss it.
Oh, frozen white russians. How I long for thee.
19. You have to joke around about your illness sometimes.
I make a lot of lupus jokes. I hate when things are serious, even something serious like lupus. Okay, ESPECIALLY something serious like lupus. It’s important for me to have friends in my life who are also not serious people and who can joke around about it too. It makes coping with an illness way easier and it also makes it much easier to openly talk about your illness with those around you.
20. Everyone expects me to suddenly be inspirational and that’s total BULLSHIT.
I’m sorry, being sick or disabled just doesn’t make me or anyone else an inspiration. And if you keep thinking that, you are upholding and propelling very dangerous ableist beliefs that end up objectifying sick and disabled people and making them some sort of “other.” So quit it. So stop asking me to write about how inspirational I am just because I have lupus. And stop telling someone they are an inspiration just because they are in a wheelchair and are out getting groceries, or something similar.
I am not an inspiration. I spend 90% of my time squandering my potential while binge watching Netflix originals. If someday I actually do make a difference in the world by winning the lottery and funding this breakthrough lupus treatment then give me a shout. But for now just let me watch Daredevil in peace.