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I Am Me With My Illness, Not Despite It.

I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told that I’m “Strong despite my disability” or I’m “Active for someone so sick”. It’s kinda a backhanded compliment. Because I’m not just outgoing for a sick girl or brave for someone who’s disabled. I’m brave. I’m strong. I’m whole. Period.

I love art and makeup and cooking. I study theatre and business. I am lively and bubbly. But I am not these things despite my illness. I have become this through my illness. My sickness is a part of who I am. It's a piece of me. Just like any other part of who I am.

We see so many posts and stories about how incredible it is that someone who is sick and/or disabled managed to do something. That even with that ”huge burden” they managed to live their lives. But this isn't the right narrative. It's not ours. It comes from those on the outside. Because we live our lives with illness and we learn what we can and can't do and we're still just as human as anyone else. The ”despite the illness” narrative is patronizing, as if we are small children.

Sickness isn’t the end all be all of your life. It's life. We learn from it and grow from it. It makes us tired and angry and frustrated on a lot of days. Other days it makes us strong, and organized, and beautiful. I am not me despite my illness, I am me with my illness.

To learn more about me and any of my illnesses follow me on Instagram @chronically.kayla

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