And while I've fielded hundreds of emails over the course of the last four years, there's one thing that continues to blow me away with each note I read: the courage it takes for each person on the other end to hit "Send". It's taken me years to be able to talk about and share my experiences with lupus. Sure, I'm as chatty as they come today. But in the beginning? Oh boy. The subject of "lupus" was strictly off limits. I only wanted to talk about it on my own terms, and the thought of reaching out to someone to ask for help, pose a question, or solicit advice was completely foreign. No way was I willing to put myself out there, admit my naivete, or confess that things weren't A-OK.
No - I thought it best to try and negotiate this crazy, daunting world of life with a chronic illness on my own – certainly not the best decision I've ever made. I was just so worried about what others would think. I didn’t want to appear like a frightened, struggling, broken young lady, even though that’s exactly what I was.
Once I found a support group, of course, I started to open up. But I did so slowly. Cautiously. And with great reluctance. Even two or three years in, I still wasn't comfortable with lupus or myself - and it showed. I continued to struggle physically and emotionally, and my inability to make progress was the result. I kept fighting it, trying to figure out how I could ignore the disease and make it go away. It never did, and I eventually changed strategies. Oh, but what an unnecessarily long journey that was.
So with every note I receive, I literally applaud the efforts of the author. What a wonderful step they’ve taken toward coping with this nasty little disease. Taking it upon themselves to reach out, connect with another, and search for a better way to deal with lupus is a feat in and of itself.
And I feel equally as inspired by the people who reach out to me about publishing or manufacturing. People reaching out in order to make the world a better place--be it through written word or an invention of their own. There can never be enough ingenuity in the world, and I'm thrilled everytime someone invites me to share in that process.
So keep the emails coming, continue commenting, and keep the ingenious ideas flowing. You motivate me every time my in-box dings!