I AM thankful for having Ichthyosis.
The incredible Stephanie (supermum - she's just given birth to her second baby!) has put together a list of reasons she's thankful for having Ichthyosis. I contributed too, so did Mui and Hunter. I can relate to what they're grateful for too.
We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, but it's a tradition that I wish we'd adopt. Showing gratitude and spending time with those you love is so important. And that food - amazing. Pumpkin everything! Also, I can watch the Thanksgiving episode of Felicity over and over.
To people without Ichthyosis, it might seem strange that we're thankful for having this often painful, visibly different and socially challenging condition. But there ARE reasons to be thankful. Many reasons. I'm not resentful. Inspired by Steph, here's my Thanksgiving list.
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis as it's given me perspective. Physical beauty is not the most important thing in life. A cold is not something to complain over.
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis as it's given me a reason to write and speak about my story and the importance of celebrating appearance diversity. I've written for publications I dreamed of since before studying journalism. And I've spoken for some noteworthy organisations. I've won awards (and declined one).
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis as it has allowed me to see the funny side of looking different and having a chronic illness. Here's my interview on 612 ABC Brisbane about visible differences. I talked about difficult situations but I could laugh at them with the interviewer. The other contributors and callers were so interesting and relatable. This is why we need the ABC.
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis as it means I don't have to worry about being 'normal'. What's normal anyway? A setting on the dryer. I'm happy with non conformity. (Also, read this post on A Mighty Girl for a great story about the expectation of normal.)
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis because it forces me to talk to others, to engage with strangers, and has given me confidence. While it can be tiring, it's no secret that Ichthyosis is a conversation starter.
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis as it's blessed me with an amazing community - and I feel so lucky to have these friends in my life. My friendships have gone from online to real life - and it was a delight to meet so many people with ichthyosis on my recent trip overseas.
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis as it's given me wrinkle free skin. I am almost 33 but still look 23!
I am thankful for having Ichthyosis because it has given me empathy. I am always amazed when I meet someone with a disability or chronic illness or even from another diverse dommunity and I can relate to their life.
I am grateful for having Ichthyosis because the people around me are amazing. My parents are the best I could ever wish for and my fiancé is the most beautiful man.
They've had to learn, to adjust and to cope. They're protective, compassionate and put up with all my hot and colds and itches and confetti skin.
I am thankful for having ichthyosis because it's made me resilient. I bounce forward. I'm positive.
What are you thankful for?
For more quirky things about my Ichthyosis, see the things I haven't (or now have) told you about my Ichthyosis.