I was diagnosed with Crohn’s in January of 2015. In the Marine Corps, especially the infantry, having a disease that requires copious medication is considered a no-no. So I was sent to Wounded Warrior Battalion.
Up to this point I had never been treated as special or different. It came unnaturally for me to consider myself before others in my decisions. I was led to believe that I needed to care for myself differently.
I needed to eat special foods and make healthy choices when I went out to eat, have a bed time and practice good sleep hygiene, and make sure that I took care of myself body, mind, and spirit. I was told THIS was the way that I could help my family, community, and country the best. I slowly made the changes but felt even more dis-eased than before. I was adjusting to a new way of being and it was dead wrong.
Their was no reason that I should feel “special” for doing the things that I should have been doing in the first place. Making healthy choices when I go out to eat is not different, but I can sure as hell draw attention to how “different” I am. If instead of ordering a burger and fries, I get a burger no bun with a side of vegetables, it is not a big deal. I can certainly make it a big deal. I can explain how I came back from Afghanistan and suddenly had gut symptoms, how I became anemic and required a wheel chair, I can even get into the copious amount of ER trips and colonoscopies I’ve had in the past year. That would be obnoxious and drawing attention to my why. Guess what? No one gives a fuck about my why!
I don’t need to be validated for picking up a barbell because I have a disease. It doesn’t matter. I pick up a barbell because I want to be strong. I compete because I want to put my strength to the test. If I go and compete, but instead of a man and his barbell I make it about a man and his barbell and his disease and his buddy he lost down range and his ex girlfriend from high school and the English 101 test that he’s worried about from last week, I have created a false environment where I can’t lose, where by just showing up, I win.
That, THAT is why older generations hate millennials. Stop being a special snow flake. Do whatever you love because it’s what you love. Don’t come up with some abstract reason why it’s ok for you to suck at what you are doing. Besides, snow flakes are soft and melt easily. Instead, like Bruce Lee said, be like water.