15 March 2010

'Someone will come along one day'

It's been hard to title this blog. I want catchy, but I don't want pity (self pity, or your pity). I want honesty. I want it to reflect what this blog entry is about. Humour won't really do. Or will it?

'The struggles of finding love when you have a chronic illness'.
This sounded too university assignment-like.

'You didn't tell me you were THAT red'.
Yes, that's been said to me before.

'Someone will come along one day'. I think this suits. Affirming and something that's been said to me numerously.

I was reading an interesting blog that I identified with over the weekend.

Todd over at Thoughts of a Frustrated Visionary
writes about the challenge of the difficulties of being disabled and finding romance. While my own experiences are different to his, I completely agreed and empathised with this.

'Well then imagine what it is like [the difficulties ] for you or someone you know to find a partner, then add a physical disability into the mix'.

Lots of people say to me 'you'll find a boyfriend, you've just got to give it time'. Or 'someone will come along and love you for the person you really are'. Sigh.

This all may be true, and very kind, but in reality, it's difficult for some people (boys) I meet to get over my appearance.

I'm not saying that about everyone I meet because the majority of people I meet do look past my appearance. I've got wonderful friends and colleagues who treat me like a 'normal' person, which I am forever grateful for.

But finding a partner can be hard. And it can make me sad.

This isn't a woe is me blog entry. I'm not feeling sorry for myself. I simply wanted to write about this topic because Todd reminded me of how it feels to have the challenge of having a disability (or chronic illness, in my case) and finding love.

It's not too bad being single. I don't have to share or compromise. But sometimes I just want to share my life with someone. To go to the movies. To cook dinner for. To feel loved just knowing they're in my life.

And it's not like I do much about fixing my singledom. I don't look at the odd online dating site kiss or message I receive these days, because honestly, they are probably '36, average and looking for a bit of sexy'. I am not out at nightclubs on a Saturday night - I am at home drinking moscato in my pyjamas, watching Love Actually and reading magazines, eating cheese. And I don't belong to Rotary or a chess club. Nope, I'm not putting myself out there.

I have had boyfriends in the past. Four in fact. These have all been fine about my skin condition. Even the yucky everyday stuff. One boy was so fine he marvelled at an ant carrying a piece of my skin across the hardwood floor and was fascinated by this so much that he watched it for five minutes. He also told me that one day my skin cells won't have anything to renew anymore and that I'll spontaneously combust. Sometimes he was so fine about it that it became more about my skin than me. But he meant well :)

I've even pashed the odd (in nature!!) guy at a pub. A great boost to the self esteem (once I became mature enough to know that it wouldn't eventuate to more than a pash).

I sometimes think that certain people don't expect someone like myself to have a boyfriend. Once, I changed my Facebook information from single to a blank relationship status, and it then said 'Carly is no longer single'. Even when I was still single. Lots of friends 'liked' this, but one person from school commented 'It's about time'. It may have been good natured, but I wondered whether she thought I've been waiting for love all my life.

Most of my loves have been unrequited. The crush can be fun, for a while. But moves are made (usually on my part – did you know I've given three valentines cards and presents?! - and sometimes on theirs) and then I am left feeling a little bit devastated that I love them more than they like me. The positive letdowns have been quite flattering, and a bit too gentle, really:

'You were brave to tell me how you feel'.
'That made my day'.
'You're too fucking special'.


With these ones, I know they looked past my appearance because they were good people.

But then I wonder how long it will take for me to admit my feelings for someone and they reply 'you're a great girl, yes, we should go out sometime, I'd love to get to know you better'.

I'm not a jealous person. Sometimes I wish my life was a bit more like others, where I didn't have to worry about my skin getting in the way of doing things like going out or wearing certain clothes, or even going to work, as I have mentioned before. But there are times where I have seen people with disabilities in relationships and wonder why I can't be like them. In a relationship AND with a chronic illness? Loved my a partner unconditionally. I feel bad for thinking this. Everyone deserves to be in a loving relationship.

I think I'll know when I meet the man of my dreams because he would have taken the time to get to know me under my exterior.


  1. Once again, thanks for linking back to my blog.

    I find the title of your blog interesting. Grouped together 'Someone will come along one day' would have to my six most hated words in the English language, as the coded messages behind them are so patronising and condescending. I thought the title was enormously appropriate as this post should immediately dispel those attitudes.

    Half the time people don't seek romance it finds us, it can be as exhilarating as it is frustrating. Given its unpredictable nature it can also mess with my highly ordered lifestyle, that's the hardest part for me i feel.

    May your journey through romance continue to be both exciting and challenging in the best ways.

  2. Hey Carly
    It's the day for thoughtful posts :-)

    You are wise and strong.

    SSG xxx

  3. I think that the more you focus on not having a partner or what not, the less likely it is to happen. If that's what you want though.

    Maybe you should 'put your self out there' if you know what I mean, unless you do alot of online shopping, and one night a UPS guy will knock on your door :P

  4. i seriously do not have anything to say that you'd want to hear. i know what its like to listen to all the 'encouragement' and hear nothing and want to do nothing but roll your eyes. you seem like an amazing person and i do believe that there is someone for everyone. i guess the hard part is finding them.

  5. i love love love how honestly you write, carly.
    and yes, there's no denying that dating is hard and confusing enough without adding a physical appearance 'obstacle' into the mix. except it's no obstacle; it's part of who you are and one of the elements that have made you who you are - and someone who doesn't see it as such isn't the right person for YOU.

    listen to your heart; if you're happy with 'love actually' nights (as i often am), then great. when it doesn't satisfy you anymore, don't be afraid to take chances. that's what life's all about ;)

  6. Hi Carly:)
    Loved your post, and really felt what you wrote...
    I think the most important thing...maybe it is not what you want to hear:)

    Wait, and i DO believe that the man will come:)
    It is all about focus after all---at least that is what The Secret says...but truly i think the book is right...
    "Thoughts become things"

    It is actually a funny thing; i wrote about the same topic on my blog last night:)
    Carly he will come:)

    Have a nice day - SP

  7. Hey there

    I guess this post *does* seem like I wallow in the fact that I don't have a boyfriend. Which isn't true - I am not miserable because of it. But like most people, I'd like to find love.

    It really is difficult to explain to people the challenges of finding love when you have a disability or illness. The challenges exist for me because of my physical appearance. There are perceptions that arise in others because of this. Most times when I meet someone (male or female, cute boy or not...) I have to explain why I look the way I do. Who should have to do that in their life??

    Thanks for all of your kind words of encouragement and empathy.

    It may be time to put myself out there more, but it will be with trepidation.


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  9. Couldn't have said it better myself, Carly. Your post does not 'wallow' in fact I find it does the opposite. It's pragmatic, which is a healthy attitude to have towards dating, disabled or not.

  10. It is hard to find a partner.. But I agree with the saying that you'll find it when you're not looking!

    GL :)

  11. Hi Carly,
    I come to offer you a perspective from the other side. My EX-wife (of 13 years) has lamellar ichthyosis. So does her biological father, and 2 of our 3 children.

    We married and divorced for everyday reasons. The one thing I remember about the first time that we were intimate is thinking "is she wearing a t-shirt or something?". The next day, she explained and that was it. I love(d) this girl/woman for the wonderful person that she is. If there was ever a topic of discussion about her skin, it was about her insecurities and nothing else.

    My boys are also both affected. They've been raised with the philosophy that their skin in the eyes of the world, is dry and that it will never go away. They are both well-adjusted teenagers. My eldest son refuses to date, not due to his skin type, but rather because of the turbulent relationship my wife and I had. The type of relationship any other couple would have. Issues with money, job security, family, etc. My youngest however is a totally different story! I laugh every time I think about it. I was watching some TV and he was on the couch reading. The book in question? "How to get hot women in to bed!" LMAO. He is 14 and discovering male/female relationships. He chats on facebook with one girl or another almost every night, goes to parties and hangs out with his numerous friends.

    I guess what I am trying to say is, the philosophy you should try to live by is, if the world has a problem with your skin, it is exactly that. Their problem. There are plenty of people out there prepared to look past your skin condition and see the beautiful person you are.

    I have a condition as well. It is called being overweight. Not grossly, but I do have a spare tire for the average 3/4 ton truck, lol. I struggle with dating as well. More so it seems than my ex, who is currently dating a chiropractor. I guess my self-esteem speeches worked! (not quite what I had in mind, when I would boost her morale).

    I feel the same way as you about romance. I enjoy being single, but am saddened everytime I see a beautiful sunset, or some rarely seen wild animal jumps out of the forest in a local national park. There are times in life that you "need" to share with someone. The absense of that person is what saddens me the most. My parents always told me growing up, "op elke potje, past een dekseltje". Loosely translated it means, "for every pot, there is a lid that fits." I believe the same will be for you.

    What you should be thinking when you meet someone is not, "what is he thinking about my appearance?" Rather, "Does he have a good heart? A job? Is he emotionally stable? Does he want kids? Is he the marrying kind?" All those questions that normally occur during love at first sight. Think about it, would he be talking to you if there wasn't something about you that intrigued him? Lots of guys are just as insecure about themselves as you seem to be about you. Revel in it! Enjoy the adrenaline and pheramone rush when you meet someone new!

    In short, no one is going to discover the beautiful person you are when you're sitting on your couch. Get out there, have fun!

    I look forward to reading your dating stories on your blog.

    Respectfully yours,

  12. I can identify a bit with this post. I have a disability/chronic illness too. Mine is psychiatric, so until people find that out I do get a lot of interest. Sadly for me that means a lot of let downs.

    But, if anything positive is to come from our experiences, it is that we build up a great resilience; greater than most people will know in their lifetime.

  13. Shinxy - thanks for your comment. So glad you can identify. I agree - we do build up resilience.

    Dave - thanks for giving me this perspective. I mentioned you on a new blog post.

    Todd - thanks for your support. Glad it doesn't wallow.

  14. Hi Carly,
    Great blog! This entry sounds very familiar. I too have heard all those phrases about meeting men, waiting for mr right is very annoying! It's the one area of my life that I can't organise or speed up.
    And I did the facebook thing too, changed my single status to nothing and was inundated by comments - ooh who's the lucky man.... I had to publicly comment - 'I am still single, I'm just no longer LISTED as single, now I'm a silent single!"

    Good luck with the quest, and staying home drinking moscato is perfectly fine!

  15. Hi Carly,
    what an extraordinary, brave and beautiful person you are. I love this post, it's obviously written from the heart - it's so courageous to put yourself out there, I hope that you get everything you want from life.
    Thankyou so much for visiting my blog. I'm proud to be able to call you a reader.

  16. Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts about this, Carly. You did it marvelously, and it didn't sound at all like self-pity. I can see why you got a freelance gig out of this post. Kudos to you!


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