How Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Has Turned Me Into a Superhero
Like most superheroes, I found my powers by accident.
On what was meant to be an epic sibling vacation in Las Vegas, I found myself unable to walk for more than 10 minutes. I had never experienced such agony. Before the day was done, my superpower revealed itself: the power of invisibility.
I could hide my pain, my fatigue, my confusion and no one could see it. On the outside, I look like an ordinary young woman. But on the inside, my bones shift and tendons stretch, causing painful dislocations and subluxing of various joints. With my superpowers, the power of invisibility, I can continue to look like an ordinary woman.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. I can only use this power for the good of others, to save them from feeling pity, or to save them from their own despair. Invisibility is not to be used for my own gain. I must adhere to the superhero code, do not deceive others so that I may gain favor or sympathy. I must not take advantage of those who come to my aid. And of course, I must help others as well as I am able.
I was gifted a second superpower, but only if I follow the code. This second power came through perseverance and constant training. This power may only be used in the presence of those who need it the most. To the people who struggle with hardships and heartache. This second power is the power of “revelation.” I can reveal my own suffering to them, show them the way of embracing pain and frustration, and change it into strength and courage. This gift is far more powerful than super strength, or super speed. It is a gift that I can give to others, and they can also give.
There are those who will try and take that gift from me, the naysayers and the envious. I must guard my gift of revelation from them and use my invisibility gift wisely. With a smile, I face my enemies using only my quick wit and well-practiced art of socializing. I battle my way through enemy trench lines, while seemingly enjoying myself at small gatherings and parties. My invisibility is both my power and my cloak. No one can see the superhero underneath the shroud of invisibility. This hidden power can only be stopped by absolute denial of truth. Only then can my enemies see the strength of my powers. They see my power of revelation, my invisibility, and they cower before me. They will come up with names to distract me, “The Hypochondriac,” and “The Exaggerator.” Little do they know I have the power of science at my side, and my own little sidekick, “The Truth.”
Of course, if I let my enemies know that their words are hurtful, then they will increase their attacks. As long as I remain true to myself, and keep my hero conduct, they can never truly hurt me. Words are only as potent as their receiver keeps them. In the end, the naysayers and the envious only hurt themselves. As I spread the gift of courage and strength, they spread the idea of doubt and weakness. Do not believe them, our strength makes them feel weak and our courage makes them fearful. Be wary of these foes, but do not stoop to their diabolical tactics. Heroes hold themselves to a higher standard of conduct, whereas villains care not for the moral high ground.
In the end, it all comes down to how I see myself. I could see myself as a young woman with a painful and scary chronic illness. I could look at my cane, my braces, at my own frailty and let myself feel pity and wallow in it. I choose not to. I choose to fight my battles every day, and inspire others to do the same. I choose to be stronger and do whatever is in my power to live each day to its fullest.
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