A woman steps out of a nest with a cracked shell, wearing a backpack, and points ahead.

On My Own...Kind Of

At the beginning of this pandemic, many of us made this huge laundry list of things we would get done. Whether we made this list mentally, physically on paper, or on our phones, we fantasized about things we would get done, finally tackle, learn, etc. I know the positive side of me did this at the beginning of my current stint of TSW. My laundry list was made long before this pandemic, and I can tell you with confidence that it is still a pristine, extensive list with imagined curled-up scroll ends and not a short, stubby, end of the toilet paper roll of a bullet-point list.

A way too relatable quote

The other day I came across this quote from my new favorite Instagram page, @fuckologyofficial “I don’t always have time to fold laundry, but when I do, I don’t.” I busted up laughing. You see, after three years of living on my own all the way across the country with a severe chronic illness, this quote hit too close to home.

Desperate to be "normal"

You see, I wanted to prove to myself and everyone else in my life that I could do it - that I could start and sustain a life that I built on my own, from the ground up, in a part of the country where I knew no one. And I did — kind of. You see, the life I led in that small seacoast town was nowhere near what most people would deem as normal.

I’m telling you this so that you don’t normalize your pain. Don’t convince yourself that the current pain, restricted range of motion, and level of itchiness are normal.

What I thought was a normal life

From 2015-2018, I lived what I thought was a pretty normal life. I barely had any time to do errands, let alone have a social life on the weekends. When I first got to the east coast, I would go to rehearsals, maybe cook or go grab food somewhere after, and I would come home and crash in the late night/early morning. I wouldn’t be able to get up until right before rehearsals would start, then rush out the door. Once the shows were over and I started working a full-time job, I did nothing but work, attempt to sleep while itching through the night, then get up with just enough time to get ready and head straight to work. If I was lucky, I got to grab dinner with coworkers on some nights, and if I was even luckier, maybe even groceries.

It's not the same for eczema warriors

But I noticed between the exhaustion from work and the exhaustion from my condition, I just didn’t get to live the life all my coworkers were living. The normal life. I heard of them going on early morning jogs or hikes, running errands until work started, then partying after work. I didn’t realize that my old-lady lifestyle wasn’t normal. I didn’t realize that normal people didn’t get crazy anxiety and have to plan out their every move before never getting to take that quick weekend trip to see a Broadway show.

So don’t sell yourself short. Your life was meant to be LIVED, not to be suffered through. The pain, extreme discomfort, and intense itch are not your new normal.

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