It’s been hard to title this blog. I want catchy, but I don’t want pity (self pity, or your pity). I want honesty. I want it to reflect what this blog entry is about. Humour won’t really do. Or will it?
‘The struggles of finding love when you have a chronic illness’. This sounded too university assignment-like.
‘You didn’t tell me you were THAT red’. Yes, that’s been said to me before.
‘Someone will come along one day’. I think this suits. Affirming and something that’s been said to me numerously.
I was reading an interesting blog that I identified with over the weekend.
Todd over at Thoughts of a Frustrated Visionary writes about the challenge of the difficulties of being disabled and finding romance. While my own experiences are different to his, I completely agreed and empathised with this.
‘Well then imagine what it is like [the difficulties ] for you or someone you know to find a partner, then add a physical disability into the mix’.
Lots of people say to me ‘you’ll find a boyfriend, you’ve just got to give it time’. Or ‘someone will come along and love you for the person you really are’. Sigh.
This all may be true, and very kind, but in reality, it’s difficult for some people (boys) I meet to get over my appearance.
I’m not saying that about everyone I meet because the majority of people I meet do look past my appearance. I’ve got wonderful friends and colleagues who treat me like a ‘normal’ person, which I am forever grateful for.
But finding a partner can be hard. And it can make me sad.
This isn’t a woe is me blog entry. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I simply wanted to write about this topic because Todd reminded me of how it feels to have the challenge of having a disability (or chronic illness, in my case) and finding love.
It’s not too bad being single. I don’t have to share or compromise. But sometimes I just want to share my life with someone. To go to the movies. To cook dinner for. To feel loved just knowing they’re in my life.
And it’s not like I do much about fixing my singledom. I don’t look at the odd online dating site kiss or message I receive these days, because honestly, they are probably ’36, average and looking for a bit of sexy’. I am not out at nightclubs on a Saturday night – I am at home drinking moscato in my pyjamas, watching Love Actually and reading magazines, eating cheese. And I don’t belong to Rotary or a chess club. Nope, I’m not putting myself out there.
I have had boyfriends in the past. Four in fact. These have all been fine about my skin condition. Even the yucky everyday stuff. One boy was so fine he marvelled at an ant carrying a piece of my skin across the hardwood floor and was fascinated by this so much that he watched it for five minutes. He also told me that one day my skin cells won’t have anything to renew anymore and that I’ll spontaneously combust. Sometimes he was so fine about it that it became more about my skin than me. But he meant well 🙂
I’ve even pashed the odd (in nature!!) guy at a pub. A great boost to the self esteem (once I became mature enough to know that it wouldn’t eventuate to more than a pash).
I sometimes think that certain people don’t expect someone like myself to have a boyfriend. Once, I changed my Facebook information from single to a blank relationship status, and it then said ‘Carly is no longer single’. Even when I was still single. Lots of friends ‘liked’ this, but one person from school commented ‘It’s about time’. It may have been good natured, but I wondered whether she thought I’ve been waiting for love all my life.
Most of my loves have been unrequited. The crush can be fun, for a while. But moves are made (usually on my part – did you know I’ve given three valentines cards and presents?! – and sometimes on theirs) and then I am left feeling a little bit devastated that I love them more than they like me. The positive letdowns have been quite flattering, and a bit too gentle, really:
‘You were brave to tell me how you feel’.
‘That made my day’.
‘You’re too fucking special’.
With these ones, I know they looked past my appearance because they were good people.
But then I wonder how long it will take for me to admit my feelings for someone and they reply ‘you’re a great girl, yes, we should go out sometime, I’d love to get to know you better’.
I’m not a jealous person. Sometimes I wish my life was a bit more like others, where I didn’t have to worry about my skin getting in the way of doing things like going out or wearing certain clothes, or even going to work, as I have mentioned before. But there are times where I have seen people with disabilities in relationships and wonder why I can’t be like them. In a relationship AND with a chronic illness? Loved my a partner unconditionally. I feel bad for thinking this. Everyone deserves to be in a loving relationship.
I think I’ll know when I meet the man of my dreams because he would have taken the time to get to know me under my exterior.