My Body Is Different
My body is different.
I am chronically ill. I have always been chronically ill and I always will be. I am constantly in pain, usually to the point of tears by the end of the day. I am always exhausted, even after 11 hours of sleep and multiple naps a day. My arms and legs have a tremor. I have almost no function in my hands. My voice is slower. I can’t keep on weight and I have almost no muscle.
I have never been in a romantic relationship and I can’t help but think it’s because of the way my body looks. I am a college student, surrounded by people my age who are in romantic and sexual relationships. For a long time, I only expressed interest in male-presenting people. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that no one saw me as a valid sexual partner. I saw the way guys looked at me, sometimes with disgust, sometimes with pity. I thought that when I came out as bisexual, people would realize my awareness of my sexuality and recognize my desire to be in a relationship. But I was still viewed as a child even though I have an adult body with adult needs and feelings.
I am quite good at disassociating from my body. I have full-time caretakers who help me with stuff as small as making my bed to more intimate things such as getting dressed, and on rare occasions helping me bathe. The first time someone saw my body wasn’t in a loving, trusting relationship with a partner, it was with a caretaker. On the days that I’m crying and throwing up from so much pain, I pretend that I am not living in my body, but someone else’s. It is a terrifying feeling to be young and in extreme pain, and an even more terrifying feeling to know it will progress as I age.
I don’t have energy to date. On the days that I have a four hour class, I am exhausted and in overwhelming pain by the end of the day. Sometimes I can gather enough energy to go swimming to try to relieve pain, or hangout with a friend to lift my spirits. My few friends have taken the time to learn about my body and know the accommodations I need to go out. Still, most of my days are spent watching movies in bed or sitting in my supportive desk chair doing homework. On the nights that I’m not worked up about being in pain, I go to sleep by nine.
I am not looking for a fling. I am looking for a partner because that’s what I need. I need someone that can be satisfied with hanging out with me at home. I need someone comfortable with my caretakers being part of our daily life. I need someone ready to accept that my body won’t be able to go hiking or do a long day of activities. I need someone ready to anticipate a day when I’m in pain and we do nothing but talk. And that’s a lot to ask from a 19 or 20 year old.
I am a chronically ill person and I feel my body has caused my mind to age. Though I am young, I crave a committed partner to depend on and love. As my body becomes less functional and becomes a greater source of pain, I continue to look for someone to be my person.