To My Body in Pain After My First Days in College

I’ve written a few open letters to my body over the years. Today is no exception. Body, I am done. I want to return you. You’re faulty. I’ve been battling you for 16 years since you nearly killed me after fluid entered my heart.

Body, you are relentless. You are manipulative. You are cunning. You are evil. Sometimes I see you as a villain. Not the sexy, Tom Hiddleston-esque ones we see in the movies and TV. You’re more a snake, a viper, a demon hiding in the shadows.

It’s like you’re always five steps ahead of me. Sometimes you give me a break. And it’s in those times that I gain hope, inner strength and independence. I see myself in the future, I aim for the things I want and when I’m but a finger tip away, you rip it away.

This week I started college. My road getting to college was a hard one. My education was ruined by you, body. My mind wanted to learn, but you wouldn’t let me. My mind wanted to be in school every day. My mind wanted to draw, to act, to solve, to write, to care. I had so many passions. I wanted to be so many things. Would you let me? No, you would not.

I had to leave secondary school because of bullying linked to you. When I transferred schools, I was given hope. Then you added other chronic illnesses along the way. You wouldn’t let me sit through my exams. I had to repeat a year — again. And would you let me have another go? No way. I had to leave school without that piece of paper that proved my intelligence I knew I had. I tried and tried and tried, and yet you still stole my hopes and dreams away. But I didn’t give up. Even when my mind was so drained from all of this disappointment, I didn’t give up. I researched, I budgeted, I pleaded and I got into college to do one of my all-time favorite passions: art.

I started on Tuesday, and I’m writing this on Thursday night. What did you do? You destroyed me. Every time I came home from attending college this week, I vomited. Every time I walked just a little, my hip dislocated, even while I was using my trusted cane. After my first proper day of classes yesterday, I came home and sobbed my eyes out. I lied in bed unable to move. I deteriorated so badly to the point where anything touching my skin sent me howling in pain. I had to call my mom to come at 6 a.m. in the morning because of the pain and I couldn’t stop crying.

You did not stop there. Today, you would not let me sleep or rest. I needed assistance getting to the bathroom, getting to my bed and taking my medication. Every joint in my body was on fire and in excruciating pain.

I had to have the heat on full blast with two blankets because I couldn’t regulate my body heat and I was shaking. And then my ulcerative colitis decided to join the party. Bear in mind that it’s hard to control your bowel with this disease. Try doing that when you can’t walk. My mother had to pick me up off the floor from a violent vomiting session where I had been so drained I couldn’t get up.

This happened because of two days of college. Not even two proper days. You are taking away my hope. I was so proud of myself for getting into college and finally show all those abled-bodied people (including family and friends) what I was capable of. They would pester me, just by a lack of knowledge, about my education. They would say things like, “You just need to get out of the house” or “When I was your age, I was doing such and such.” I tried to tell myself that this was all water off a duck’s back, but hearing things like “You’re a failure” and “Maybe it’s all in your head” hurt.

I’m sick of being invisible. I’m sick of you stealing my life away. Don’t do this again. I’ve had enough. I know if you do end up stealing away my college experience that I’ve wanted and waited for that I’ll find something else. I’m resourceful. But surely, the war can be over for just a bit of time.

You stole my childhood, my teen years. Let me be a young person. Let me be 20 and careless and free. Let me be creative. Let me be me. 

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