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10 Things I Identify As That Aren’t UC-Related

I get it. It’s easy for me to get sucked into the one, big, hairy truth of my life, which is that I live with ulcerative colitis. Outside of my family, it’s the longest thing I’ve ever known, spanning more than 20 years of my life on this Earth. And so much of what I do is due to UC – the speeches I give, the podcasts I go on, the articles I write for The Mighty. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that UC has given me, despite all of its hard parts. I love raising awareness and (hopefully) helping someone else feel less alone.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

However, sometimes I do need to take a step back and remind myself of all that I am that isn’t related to UC. I need to remember the things that I do and believe it and identify with that have nothing to do with my gut. Does UC maybe sometimes insert itself into those identities? Of course, but I’d have them regardless if it did or not.

So let’s make this fun. Take out a piece of paper, and write down numbers one through 10 on one side. Then continue reading and make your own list along the way of 10 things that you are proud to be that aren’t IBD-related. Ready … set … go!

  1. I am a runner. I’ve always been a runner. Despite recent body changes, I still run/walk at least once a week. I’ve completed the Boston Marathon. I’ve run more than 20 half marathons. I have a 5:19 mile PR on the track from high school. I ran in the cross-country state meet as a sophomore. I am a runner.
  2. I am a mother. I gave birth to my son in March 2022, and being a mom has been the greatest joy and greatest challenge of my life. I’ve learned so much about myself in the last five months. To all the moms and mother figures out there, you’re doing an absolutely great job.
  3. I am a writer. I write about UC, yes, but I also write other marketing-related things for a wellness company. I write poetry on occasion. I journal. I edit. I proofread. I just read. I studied writing in college. I love to write. 
  4. I am an empath. I feel deeply, and I feel your emotions deeply too. This is a lifelong journey for me to hold and honor boundaries while also respecting the superpower that is being an empath.
  5. I am a partner. My husband asked me about my UC on our first date, and by the second one he had researched all about it. But that’s not why I married him. I married him because of the 99 other ways he shows up for himself and for me.
  6. I am a sister and daughter. Family is everything to me, even when it’s hard. I’d do anything for my family.
  7. I’m a huge Peanuts comic strip fan. I grew up reading the original books that my mom gave me from her childhood. I went to the grand opening of the museum in Santa Rosa, CA, after Charles Schulz died. I have a signed piece of artwork of the Great Pumpkin from the original illustrator of the movies. Next to UC, this is probably the longest relationship I’ve ever had.
  8. I am a hiker. Since having my son, we’ve established Saturday mornings as my morning to just go do whatever I want by myself, and that usually means doing my favorite hike in the foothills. It’s my time to decompress … and ironically, treat the world as my bathroom if I need to. Kidding … sort of. 
  9. I’m a big Chris Stapleton fan. One of my main missions in life is to get really good tickets to his overpriced concerts and also have good bathroom access. One can dream, right? 
  10. I’m an enneagram 2. I study the enneagram to understand myself, my husband, my relationship with those around me, and people in general. I identify very much with this number and all of his lines and wings and intricacies. I was born an empath, a 2, a HSP, and all those things – and I believe that my UC is a tool to help me keep my boundaries in check because of those superpowers.

So tell me … what’s on your list?

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