10.30.2014

I Just Do It

I'd been in a fever/nausea induced state for most of the day and I looked like hell. I hadn't slept more than an hour the night before. I was wearing leggings for the fourth day in a row and just by glancing in the general area that my lower leg attaches to my ankle, you could visibly tell I hadn't shaved my legs in days. I hadn't washed my hair that morning and I was wearing makeup from the day before. I'd missed my morning class and was just leaving my biology lab early.

And though I looked like hell, one of my friends stopped me in the hallway to ask how I was doing (and associate with me in my less than desirable state). As we stood there discussing our days, she said to me, "Kenzie, I just don't get how you do it. How do you do it?"

"How do I perfect the hobo look?" I said jokingly...surely that's what she meant.

She chuckled, "No, I mean THAT. How do you do THAT? That humor, that smile, that strut like you're on a mission thing even when you're in pain? I want to know how you do that."


I was dumbfounded. At a loss for words. Speechless, really. I had no idea what she meant. How do I do what? I felt like a walking zombie falling apart at the seams. All day, I had been desperately pleading with God just to help me make it through the day in one piece...and preferably without any mental breakdowns.

"I just do it." I said.

"Well, I'm glad you do." She replied with a smile.

We casually said our goodbyes after that. She jetted off to class. I conquered two flights of stairs and limped back to my dorm where I conquered several more flights of stairs before snuggling up in bed with a couple of ice packs and some ibuprofen. I intended on watching an episode of Gilmore Girls to reward myself for getting out of bed that morning, but instead I started thinking about the conversation I'd just had.


Though I wish I had a better, more elaborate, or wildly descriptive answer to give, "I just do it," is the only one that can really sum up what it's like to live with a chronic illness. 

You see, I hadn't slept for more than an hour the night before because I was running a low grade fever as my poor little immune system attacked itself in true autoimmune fashion. I was wearing leggings for the fourth day in a row because every time I've worn jeans in the past two weeks has resulted in severe hip swelling and pain that just isn't worth looking cute for. I hadn't shaved my legs in days because it's been impossible to bend over with the morning stiffness that meets me each time I crawl out of bed. I hadn't washed my hair because doing so would not only force me to blow dry and straighten it, (two things that would force me to lift my arms up over my head for an extended period of time) but also because every time I've washed my hair lately, I've lost excessive amounts of it as a side effect of a medication I'm on. I was wearing my makeup from the day prior because it generally takes me about 15 minutes to apply a fresh coat...and that morning in particular, I'd chosen 15 minutes of potential sleep after spending the night wide awake and unable to. I'd missed my morning class because I physically could not get down from my lofted bed at 8am and I was leaving my biology lab early because the fermeldihyde from our pig dissections was triggering a migraine.

"I just do it" encompasses every last thing I just did my best to explain in that last paragraph. In fact, it encompasses even more. It would be easy to stay in bed, skip my treatments/medications, and ultimately give up. "I just do it" doesn't mean I'm Superwoman or even that I'm trying to be Superwoman...it just means that I've chosen to show up and accept the invitation I've been so graciously given to live. I guess the best way to describe it is that I've simply realized if I'm not living my life, no one will.

There are so many things in life we don't get to decide for ourselves...and at times, that seems awfully unfair. I can tell you right now, my "ideal" life would not incorporate disease, illness, or any sort of pain. If there was a way to rid of it, I certainly would. But since eradicating that pain isn't in my power, I like to try to find the beauty in it. My pain has given me a profound sense of vulnerability. This disease has allowed me to connect with individuals I might've never "met" otherwise. The word determination has taken on a whole new meaning since my diagnosis. What's beautiful about the seemingly unfair moments is that they're also the moments I get to search for purpose in. I want people to know that they can "just do it," too. I want people to know that they're not the only ones.

And if I can do those two things alone...well, I'm glad I do it too.

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9 comments:

Kate Mitchell said...

BEST way to explain it. We just do it. Lots of love heading your way from me!

Amanda aka Manda said...

You never cease to amaze me! This post brought tears to my eyes, bc I've been struggling too these last few weeks. Everything feels like it takes 20x the normal effort even just to do the simple, little things! I 100% agree that our disease has given us a sense of vulnerability that some people may never experience. It's embracing it and finding determination despite it that is important! You always have an amazing way of reminding me I'm never alone in this (even hundreds of miles away) and that I can do this too! Love you girl!

Jodi Tivey said...

I love and respect you more and more every single day dear girl!

Shannon Q. said...

Love you girl. You're amazing

LC said...

You just do it b/c you can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength! Big huge hugs to you friend....If I were there I would wash, dry and style your hair for you:)

~Dawn~ said...

You are so strong and inspiring!! I'm glad you 'just do it' too :)

Musical Lynn said...

Oh wow! I love this! You have inspired me! :D

Tayler Morrell said...

You are so strong and brave. This summer has been very hard for me emotionally and mentally as my husband and I go through some major life changes. I also gave birth (which, according to mom and the doctor, was a very smooth birth). My sister, who is struggling with an ex who had a porn addiction, told me I was the strongest person she knew. My husband, who suffers from MS has had to lean on me to put on a brave face and take care of him physically sometimes. When he asks why I'm able to keep doing what I need to, I answer to him and to my sister "Because I have to. Things need to get done, so I do them. I have to keep living." So, I can definitely relate on a mental/emotional note!

heckyeshotmess said...

I think I have answered that same answer. I just do it. Like what else is there? We really can't give up. Well some days we fail and the next day we give it another go.
I love this post and I shared it on Twitter.

- Manda