Bonus Round Patient Pages
Encouraging patient/doctor/caregiver communications


Sunday, May 02, 1999: I Am Not Normal Because I Don't Want To Go Prom

dear sparky,

my mom has a way of putting me down that undermines my self-confidence in myself. for example: i don't want to go to prom this year. at all. i have no desire to get dressed up, put on a scratchy, tight, probably ugly dress and go with some pimply faced guy to a dance. that is not my idea of fun.

this practically devastates my mom. when i was born she had this vision of a perfect daughter--and she eagerly looked forward to the day i would get dressed up and go to prom. she wants pictures to show all of her friends and coworkers of me in a dress looking cheesy.

we were getting our hair cut the other day (mine has gotten far too long...) and a girl and her friend came in, they talking in high-pitched voices about how they need to make hair appointments for prom day. mom got a sour look on her face and glared at me. after they left i asked if she was mad at me and she said that she was upset that i wasn't going to prom.

we've been through this a million times and i told her so and she just looked at me and said "i've accepted the fact that you aren't normal".

well, gee mom, thanks. she said it like it was a BAD thing. as if my abnormality was something i should loathe and go to pyschologists eager to fix it. i don't understand what makes her think that i should have turned out "normal". i've NEVER been like other kids. from the day i got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis to this moment in time i have never fully related to other kids my age or even felt like i was a "kid".

i know that what it comes down to is that she's afraid that she's done a "bad" job raising me. that there must be something wrong with me for not wanting to go to prom and that it's her fault. i never know what to tell her when she acts like that. attempting to reassure her just makes her reiterate the fact that i am, indeed, a pod person. fighting with her or debating her just makes her angry at me.

i always end up feeling bad about myself. i berate myself with the thought that i SHOULD want to go to prom. girls my age want to go to prom. and then i get trapped in all of the other thoughts about what girls my age SHOULD be doing and what i'm not. and i feel even worse about myself.

except right now i feel pretty good about myself and about the life i lead. last night i ran into a bunch of kids i haven't seen in about a year and we proceed to catch up about things and i unintentionally turned into a name-dropper. i was telling them about TLS, my friends steve and jimmy, all of the people i've met and tons of other stuff. they just kept staring at me as if they didn't recognize me... and i felt damn good.

one thing i got so sick of with kids my age was how much talk they all were. they were all just waiting until something happened before they did anything--for example: when they learned to drive life would change. when they got a car they would do the things they always wanted. when they were a senior they would rule the world. when they graduated life would be perfect. they always talked about all of the things they were GOING to do.

and i'm doing them. it's not so much that i'm living a grander lifestyle than my former schoolmates or anything conceited like that. i just don't let things pass me by. maybe that is what makes me different. i learned at a very early age that life is incredibly short and you never get the same chance twice. so i took as many chances as i could, and i still do.

that's what i realized last night talking to these kids. they were looking at me and exclaiming over how they wished they were me and how lucky i was and i realized that there is NOTHING holding them back from doing the exact same things that i am. in fact they have it easier because their doctors aren't monitoring their every move. it's just that something has been drilled into them about who they should be and what they should be doing... and i never had that.

my parent's encouraged me to explore everything about myself and everything that i was capable of achieving. sometimes they would chastise me--when i told them that i was going to go to egypt and discover king tut's father they told me that they didn't think egyptologists had a large calling. but i knew they didn't mean it. the way i know that my mom is mildly upset about the fact that i am ditching prom--but that she's really proud of the person i've become.

and so am i. i'm damn proud of the fact that i'm not normal.

love you lots,

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