I was in a life drawing class with one of my friends. They noticed my nifty eraser grip, which makes it much easier to hold and use.
"Wow, cool grip." They said. We were setting up easels and getting ready for the class to start.
"Yes," I said, "Yes it is. It's so I can hold it without killing my hands."
"Well, aren't you special with your arthritis?" They remarked.
"Oh, I'm not just special. I'm extraordinary."
I don't know who you are. I mean, I might. But the odds are I probably don't. If I asked you to introduce yourself in as many one or two word sentences as you could, you would probably define your roles and highly important traits. Short and straight to the point. 'Mum.' 'Husband.' 'Teacher.' 'Student.' 'Athletic.' 'Outgoing.' 'Musician.' 'Young.' 'Artistic.' Just a few words would give me a better understanding of who you are.
And let's face it- illness is a part of us. We use words to describe how it affects our lives. 'Chronically ill.' 'Disabled.' 'Handicap.' 'Sick.' 'Arthritic.' 'Sufferer.' 'Sickie.' And tons of others I could name right off the top of my head. It's amazing how many words we use! When needing to arrange accommodations we say 'I'm Disabled.' When we try and explain why we have been 'sick for so long' we say 'I'm Chronically Ill.' But when do we ever say that we are special? I don't think I've ever heard that! When do we ever use a positive word when regarding living with an illness?! When they jokingly made that remark, it made me realise that I am special because I have arthritis. My chronically ill sisters and brothers go through so much, and yet are not 'out of the average?' Of course not! We're great, I preach to you! We are humans who have super strength to push ourselves -whether on a good day or in a flare- to go on with our lives. We are as precious and strong as diamonds. We are very extraordinary people, and others have a privilege to know us.