I'm Allergic to the Sun, but I'm Not a Delicate Flower. I'm a Warrior.
In honor of Women’s History Month I wanted to speak out about misconceptions about my disability related to my gender. Please share your stories and help end the stigma!
I’m allergic to the sun — which sounds like a condition invented in the 19th century to assure fashionably pale skin. Some of the accommodations I need for a sun allergy sound like elitist preferences: I have to park my car in an attached garage to avoid a reaction; I can’t really work outside or under fluorescent light. I’m also female, 5-foot-6 and willowy. I’ve got big doe eyes and long hair. I wear dresses and lipstick. I’ve got a graduate degree from an Ivy League school, and I live in a wealthy urban neighborhood. All of this ladders up to a general consensus that I’m a delicate flower.
But that’s simply not the case.
I was one of only three women in my major, and I worked hard to make the female voice heard in economics. I now work in an industry so sexist it inspired an AMC drama. I’m currently on an account where I’m the only woman. I fight prejudice in my work and intellectual life every day.
I embrace the grind as an athlete and dancer.
I fight every day to get solar urticaria acknowledged by organizations that don’t categorize a sun allergy as a real disability that needs recognition and support. I fight every time I have a reaction through symptoms so debilitating I often can’t form sentences.
I am not a delicate flower. I am a warrior. And I cannot express how thankful I am for the community of women warriors here at The Mighty. Keep fighting, sisters!
Getty image by ysbrandcosijn