This month, I attended my boyfriend’s cousin’s wedding in North Carolina. It was a whole family affair and really, the first time I had spent any significant amount of time with my boyfriend’s family. His immediate family knows sparsely about my disorder, but his extended family, most likely does not.
The first night we arrive, another cousin picked us up from the airport. We went straight to the hotel and then were supposed to meet the family at the venue for the rehearsal dinner. As many of you know who travel with medication, bringing it through security can be a nightmare, but a necessary nightmare. At least in my case, I am not taking a chance of losing my medicine with my luggage. As a participant in the Triheptanoin study, I cannot just go to the local pharmacy or food store and pick some up. I travel with my protocol in hand, ready to explain my unique situation to TSA. To ease my travel, I do not carry yogurt with me, which is another necessary component to consuming my medication. That would be whole other scenario to have to explain and have found the less talking you have to do to TSA, the better.
However, since I do not travel with the yogurt, I have to get it wherever my travels take me (or sometimes I have to settle for a less desirable alternative). Through my searches in several areas, I have developed a keen sense for where to find convenience stores that will carry yogurt or something close to it (I can even tell by their size now!)
So we are walking to the venue of the rehearsal dinner and my boyfriend exclaims “We have to find a convenience store for Tasia! She needs yogurt.” No further explanation. Of course to my boyfriend, it is just like second nature now and he does not think anything of odd statements like that. It is just our life; we often treat it like an adventure and that is why I love him dearly. However, for his cousin, she was clearly confused–understandably. Only a few years ago, I would have been embarrassed. I would have been stressing about how “uncool” it seemed. I would have tried to hide my medication and my disorder, trying to pretend like it did not exist. More recently, I have developed a greater confidence in my disorder and myself as a person. I am more comfortable explaining it (or attempting to) or in some cases, just leaving it unexplained. I no longer view it as “uncool,” but rather as responsible. I am proud of the fact that I have learned to be resourceful and take care for myself. The people who cannot understand that are not worth the effort.
Since I wanted everyone to be focused on the wedding festivities (and not in a state of confusion over my metabolic processes) I simply said “It for my medication. Go ahead-we will meet you at the restaurant!” and headed into the store with my boyfriend for the yogurt search. I get a lot of looks- looks from the cashier as to why I was buying one single Naked at 9pm at night, looks when I take out my small vials that hold my medication in public, etc. You get used to the looks, because looks start to hurt a lot less than sickness. Instead of letting people’s judgment make me sad, it makes me proud. Proud I have gotten to the point where I manage my disorder, it does not manage me. Proud to be a person who does not feel like I need to hide who are truly am, no matter the situation.
As the weekend went on, I had to stop by the same convenience store at all hours of the day and night to get yogurts and smoothies to put my medicine, carrying it about from one wedding event to the next. I had to bring a Naked into a bar at one point-a bar! It was late, time to take my medicine and I happened to ben i a bar, celebrating—and well, that’s my life. It is by no means picture-perfect, but that is kind of boring anyways. I am sure there were many people at the wedding festivities thinking “That kid’s girlfriend is so weird. Why is she always carrying around yogurt?” I would rather be the weird yogurt girl than someone who hides behind a façade. Authenticity and confidence promote happiness-true, inner happiness.And if that means being the yogurt girl-so be it. #VLCADprobs