Thursday, Day 22

This morning I wrote about how shockingly well I am handling all of this. Tonight, I’m crying about it. I think this is kind of typical of everyone right now.

I’m sick of being stuck inside and am dying to go on a normal date, missing my family and friends, and would love to be able to look forward to the beach this summer — or even just spending some time outside. I am scared for the health and well-being of loved ones and strangers alike. I am dying to go to Trader Joe’s to get my usual favorite snacks, and I don’t want to keep seeing how different life is by watching the news. It all feels like a weird dream. The beginning of this feels so long ago now.

All of this is incredibly confusing. Like, how did we get to a point where people can’t go outside? Anyway, this morning I wrote a much more lighthearted draft, and want to still offer some of that sentiment, even as a comfort to myself right now.

First, I have done the whole quarantine thing before — or at least it felt similar to me. When I first got sick with POTS I could barely sit upright, much less go do my normal activities. I created a new normal that gave me as much joy as I had in my 22 years before getting sick. It wasn’t always easy and I often missed things about having a healthy body, but I was still able to be happy, despite the earth-shattering change. This change was actually even bigger than the pandemic feels because I was so used to being an athlete and out in the world, but literally could not leave the couch or go from floor to floor in the house more than once in a day. Now I at least can stand up to cook, go to the basement to exercise, and play hide and seek with my dog. Lesson one, you can have joy in the face of adversity.

Another thing POTS taught me is that circumstances change. That’s lesson two of learning to deal with a life-shattering change. The first year I was so sick even going to the grocery chore was a difficult to impossible task (read: me lying on the aisle floor until I could stand again without passing out). Over time I was able to run errands. Then I could go out to dinner. Then I worked my way up to doing things like trips with friends or walking around the beautiful city of DC. I still can’t run or anything, but I can walk for an incredibly long time without feeling dizzy, my pain is decreasing astronomically, and I can drive for an hour at a time! I’ve really come a long way. My new normal did keep changing, and I’ve been able to work with it every step of the way. Things change, and even if they’re slower than you’d like, you learn a lot of lessons along the way and can still be joyful.

Finally, the most important thing in life will always be your loved ones. For this I am sure (Insert Nunzio voice here, Robert).

I’ve always known this, but having any kind of health scare definitely changes your outlook. It’s funny because I do definitely think taking things for granted is in our nature. When I was really sick I always thought I would never take little things for granted if I was lucky enough to get better, but sure enough, things like going out on walks with my dog weren’t aren’t appreciated and I haven’t taken advantage of the fact that I can do yoga now. It’s weird being so separated from everyone, and I think this experience will change the way we spend time with others. I hope we are more present and cut more time out of the day to be with people, and take the time out of the year to travel and visit our long distance friends and family.

Anyway, I think we all need to remember that this is going to ultimately be just a blip in our lives if we can all come together and support each other. I pray that we can get things under control sooner rather than later, and that we can all be tough together. I know this isn’t easy, but I feel like it will be similar to my past experience in that we will appreciate more in life, worry less about trivial things, and learn to be joyful through every stage in life. There are a few things I’m incredibly grateful for right now, and I know I’m being looked out for and taken care of, which is really comforting in this strange time. I hope you can find some things you’re thankful for in this transition time, too!

Lessons Learned In Love

I’ve had my heart broken a few times and it always feels like a small piece of you goes away that will never heal. At first this seems discouraging. After all, I don’t want to lose any of myself in a relationship. Then I think about what I have gained.

I decided to make a list of what I’ve gained from my exes or even just people I casually dated. I encourage you to do the same, as it offers great wisdom with the way you want your future to look like.


My boyfriend in college taught me that I could completely open up to someone and be loved. He taught me that my flaws were okay, and showed me some of my strengths I didn’t even know existed. He also taught me a very important lesson on giving people a chance, and that a date is just that — a day on the calendar in which you make plans with someone to get to know him better. It doesn’t make you obligated to do anything after that.

The first guy I dated who turned into a jerk taught me that sometimes you can be great to someone who doesn’t deserve it, and that it isn’t always up to him to break things off when they become unfair. He taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever realized, and that just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean they have to be a part of your life. Through our unhealthiness, he taught me what a healthy relationship should look like. He also taught me to pay close attention to how a man treats his family — because that is likely the way he will treat his wife one day, too.

The first person I crushed on after a bad breakup taught me that I could feel butterflies around new people and that not everyone I like will like me back. He taught me that sometimes people are more interested in a chase than they are in a relationship, and he taught me that I needed to be more careful with my heart.

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One man I casually dated taught me that it’s so important to be with someone who you can have fun with just sitting on the couch, playing board games, or entertaining yourselves with music and conversation. He also taught me that you don’t have to have everything in common with a significant other, but it’s important to have some similar interests. I learned from our relationship that just because someone knows your heart and loves you for it doesn’t mean they’ll never hurt you. He taught me how quickly someone’s actions can change, and he taught me that I can respect myself enough to walk away as soon as someone treats me poorly. This was a big step up from where I began with dating.

My first deep and passionate love taught me that God often has different plans for you than you do for yourself. You can’t always control when or where you meet someone you’ll fall for, and you never know when an acquaintance might just turn into someone who changes your life forever. This man teaches me what it is like to be loved to your core and how to be selfless in a relationship. He doesn’t let a day go by without telling me how much he cares for me, but he also shows me this is true by making me a priority and spending time on me. He respects me, he loves me exactly the way I am, and he takes care of me, even when I don’t need him to. He has taught me what I want in a future spouse, and makes me want to be the kindest, most caring, and loving version of myself.

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Today’s lesson: None of your past was a waste of time. I have made so many mistakes that I sometimes wish I could take back, but they are what made me the person I am today. I am more empathetic, understanding, kind, and accepting because of what has happened in my life. When I really take the time to think about it, I wouldn’t change a thing; now I can write about things that have hurt me and I have done wrong so that others might escape from some of the pain I have endured in my own life. I also may not have the love in my life that I do today had my past not gone the way that it did, and I am infinitely thankful for that.