Appreciating Our Differences

Something I like doing on occasion is reading books of people I am not a huge fan of, but I’ve seen glimpses of things I really like about them. The reason I like doing this is because I think writing can humanize people and gives you a little peek into their soul if they choose to be open with their audience. You can learn a lot from people who are different than you are, and I do believe that the large majority of people have good intentions; they just have different ideas of what will make the world a better place. Getting to know someone’s heart, rather than judging them on their political opinions or differing beliefs can open your mind to a whole new beautiful world.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is,

“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”

There is so much truth in this. So much.

My most recent example is Amy Schumer. She has a pretty raunchy sense of humor that I just don’t really find funny. I’ve heard some jokes from her that make me cry I’m laughing so hard, but I can totally do without all the crudeness and language. So, you would think that when Audible suggested I listen to her book I would immediately be turned off and go to the next suggestion, but I was open to giving it a try. After all, this is not the first time I’ve changed my mind about a celebrity after knowing more about them.

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Photo Credit: Instagram, @AmySchumer

I’m more than halfway through her book and my idea of her is forever changed. Amy has been through a lot in her life, and her sense of humor is what saw her through a lot of her challenges. She uses it as a defense mechanism, and a way to cope with hardship. Don’t get me wrong, there were pretty decent chunks of the book I wasn’t really into and wanted to fast-forward through. I felt myself cringe and wasn’t interested in hearing some of the details that were divulged, but I know plenty of people laughed out loud at the pictures that she painted for us.

Reading this, though, made me really like Amy Schumer as a person; now I would say that I just don’t like every single one of her jokes. She’s strong, independent, and doesn’t take crap from other people, and she also doesn’t let things get to her as much as I would. She knows her worth and that she can’t please everyone, but is herself anyway. I respect the heck out of that! It also indirectly introduced me to one of her newest movies, I Feel Pretty, which was possibly one of the funniest movies I’ve seen all year. I was rolling at some of the jokes towards the beginning of the film, and I think Schumer captured what it’s like being a woman so, so well. I love how open she is about her insecurities and how she says what every girl thinks at one time or another. She is just so darn relatable, despite being a wealthy celebrity (Side note: I guess I’ve been living under a rock because I was shocked to hear she’s worth over 37 million dollars. What?!).

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures, “I Feel Pretty”

I still don’t think I’ll be Amy’s number one fan, but I definitely won’t shy away from her completely. Maybe every once in awhile I’ll check out her Instagram to see if she has any fun content, or even listen to her podcast on Spotify. Amy and I will never be the same — in fact I think we’re polar opposites in almost every regard — but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy her for who she is and learn some important life lessons along the way. I want to have her fearlessness and strength! I want to care less about what other people think about me, and I want to do more of what I love and prioritize myself without feeling guilty about it. I think those were valuable enough lessons in themselves to make The Girl with The Lower Back Tattoo worth the read for me, and I was glad I chose it as my “book of the month” for February.


 …Thoughts? What are some books that you’ve read that have shaped you? Who has changed your mind about them by just sitting down and getting to know them more? I am making it a goal of mine to keep learning more about people who think differently than I do because I think this is an amazing opportunity for me to grow as a person. I’d love more suggestions on books to read and podcasts to follow this month!

Everyday People

You know what’s kind of crazy? We interact with broken people on a daily basis. Whether they are trudging through heartbreak or there’s something else they’re dealing with, these blank faces surround us. They’re shopping in grocery stores, standing in line at Starbucks, walking around the mall, and even sleeping in the homes beside our own.

It makes my heart hurt thinking about others in pain. People reach out to me on a regular basis about recent breakups or tricky situations with their significant other, and I always wish there was more that I could do to help than offer a hug, ear to listen, and a handwritten letter reminding them that they are not alone and things always get better.

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We all have different ways of dealing with sadness and loneliness. Some people go out into the world and try to distract themselves with a good time, while others struggle to get out of bed. Just because someone is smiling on the outside doesn’t mean they don’t feel broken on the inside. I have had times in my life where I couldn’t hold everything together, so I rushed to the bathroom to cry. A restroom — whether it’s public or in a home — is a private space that absorbs tears well. There are times where you are surrounded by people but couldn’t feel more alone.

My heart has been content and full for awhile now, but I am often reminded of how brokenness feels through friends and my beautiful readers. I can sense when something is off, and it isn’t difficult to spot emptiness in someone’s eyes. A damaged heart is something that everyone can relate to in some way or another, and I think it’s so important for humans to stick together in every way they can in this world. With things that cannot be controlled like sickness and death, there are already so many difficult things to deal with. Why not stand up for one another and choose to love each other every single day?

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Today’s lesson: Be a light for people in your life. Whether they’re strangers or your very best friends, leave each person better than you found them. Use words to build confidence, companionship, and joy, and realize that you absolutely can make a difference in someone’s life whether or not you’ll ever see them again. Choose to love people each and every day. Love and compassion are absolutely a choice, and they are so easy to freely give to people. Why not try to make the world a better place, one broken heart at a time?

A Letter From A “Slow Walker”

There is often a lot of talk about how annoying “slow walkers” are. I have always fallen into the “annoyed” category since God gave me long legs at birth.

When I was 22 I got sick with a chronic illness — Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It started off as a debilitating sickness. I could only walk about twelve feet without resting, and could only make the long journey up a flight of stairs to my bed once a day with the help of my parents and taking little breaks between climbing a few steps and sitting down to rest until I reached the top.

When I was finally well enough to go out of the house for a fifteen minute errand to the grocery store it was a big deal. I felt like I had this tiny piece of normalcy in my life, even though I felt constantly dizzy and nauseous.

Wegmans was my number one choice for a field trip, and I wanted to see if I could go find a salty snack and chocolate bar while I was there. One salty snack, one sweet treat. That’s it.

I walked to the dessert aisle first, as it was closer to the entrance, and my eyes grazed over dozens of choices. The room spun as I tried to read new labels, and my body started to gently sway. I knew I wasn’t feeling well enough to stay in this upright position much longer, but I was determined to be normal again — at least for a few minutes. I snagged a bar I thought might be halfway decent and took each step to the popcorn aisle as carefully as I possibly could. I didn’t want to fall, and I absolutely was not about to faint in public for the first time — not today.

As I put one foot in front of the other I vaguely noticed the bustling around me. I felt mildly panicked as I began to realize I shouldn’t be alone anymore and that my heart was racing the way it does when I’m about to pass out. My eyes slowly scanned the aisle, and I couldn’t feel my footing anymore. My feet were still planted firmly on the ground, but my head was spinning in circles.

“What the hell is her problem,” I hear behind me. I turn, dazed, as a woman my mom’s age firmly nudged me into the shelf that held some sort of food I couldn’t quite make out. It wasn’t until I was intentionally lying on the ground* to get the blood to flow back to my brain moments later that it all clicked. I was the one with the “problem.”

Tears welled up behind my foggy eyes. I had never been different before, and I wasn’t used to having a disability. No one could tell by looking at me that I was sick, but my body reminded me every second of every day that I was ill. The room kept spinning, but somehow I kept thinking.

I was a heavy mix of angry, frustrated, and devastated. Why aren’t people more patient? Why can’t we have some sort of label for the chronically ill so that people would know I need extra help? But wait, why can’t people just be kind to others in general and realize that you never know what someone else is going through by of the way they look? 

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These are questions I never really thought about before I got sick. I am guilty of complaining to friends about “slow walkers,” moody waiters, and distracted baristas. Having a chronic illness has taught me the very important lesson that just because someone looks fine doesn’t mean that they are. People can have a hard time for a number of different reasons, and instead of making their life any more difficult by making snarky remarks or getting frustrated, we should all take a minute to practice patience and kindness. After all, even if someone doesn’t need it, there is never any harm in being kind to others and treating them the way you would like to be treated. Sure people can be frustrating sometimes, but is the hustle and bustle and rush of life really worth hurting another human? Is whatever you are rushing to really worth upsetting anyone over? I think the answer for most of us if we sat down and thought about it would be “no.”


*This is a tactic POTSies use to ward off some of our symptoms and feel a little better, hence the “Postural” in “POTS.”