Dear Ronda Rousey,
You will not see me in the boxing ring or an MMA cage.
You won’t see me training for hours on end at the gym, or running a marathon, or lifting heavy weights.
But, trust me: I know how to fight.
I have dealt with several (several meaning over 40) doctor-diagnosed health conditions since I was ten years old — most of which are chronic, with no end in sight. I have been called a medical anomaly many times. Like Ronda Rousey, I have had to overcome one obstacle after another to get to where I am in life. Like Ronda Rousey, I never took my eye of the goal. Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic migraine syndrome, POTS, sjogren’s syndrome, celiac disease, and more, may keep me from being able to be a stellar athlete. But I show my strength in other ways: undergoing brain surgery, going through excruciating bone marrow biopsies, wearing foot braces and having painful bone and joint injections.
I am a champion of my own life.
Sure, I had to take a step back from most sports. Yes, I tend to compare myself to others, athletically-speaking. (It’s hard not to, when your husband is a personal trainer and many of your friends are runners and fitness fanatics.) But, I haven’t let physical obstacles prevent me from chasing my dreams.
Like Ms. Rousey, I was born with some health issues and battled/continue to battle an invisible disability. Like Ms. Rousey I can’t be put into one simple box. She’s a UFC and a judo champion, a model, an author, and an actress. She’s a star. But she’s not just one thing (and she’s DEFINITELY not a D.N.B!)
I’m not just one thing either: I’m also a published author. I’m an animal advocate, a health coach, a patient advocate, an award-winning blogger, a fashionista, a public speaker, and a social media consultant. I’m not a D.N.B, either, though some days my illnesses make me feel like it. Sure, there are people with sadder stories than mine, and there are people who are physically tougher and more impressive. I know that it could always be worse, and I know that I could always be better.
But like Ronda Rousey, one thing that remains true is that I stay true to myself. And despite my own body often trying to hold me back, I WILL NOT FAIL.
Throughout all of my struggles I was able to reach my dream of being an author (of three published books and many articles) and I have cultivated a happy life for which I am grateful, and of which I am proud. My fight is against my own body (that’s what autoimmune illness is!) and my fight is the same as many others like me, who don’t look sick, but are fighting a battle within.
Thanks for allowing me to share my story and thank you Ronda Rousey for being a strong, fierce female who other women can relate to. Your fortitude is something to be admired and a quality that I strive to have, too.
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