Since April 2012, much of my identity has centered on my health. For the first time in my life, my health has absolutely had to come first in everything that I do. Everything that I eat, every activity I engage in, how and when I travel, and so many other aspects of my life have been impacted by the different health conditions that I have developed through the years. I try not to complain, to most of the people in my life I am very quiet about what I deal with on a daily basis, but I have come to realize that I am too heavily impacted by my health issues and no longer want my identity to center on them.

Yes, it is true that I have diabetes, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, retinopathy, gastroparesis and nephropathy. But those conditions should not and will not define me. I want to be someone and something else entirely. I want to be healthy and happy. I want to be Jennie, who takes good care of herself, and not Jennie who takes good care of herself because her illnesses demand it.

I am so much more than just the trouble my body is giving me, or the harm that I have done to my body. I have forgotten in the past couple of years what my true identity is. Realizing this now, I know that I need to get in touch with long-lost parts of me.

I am:

  • Creative. I love to make jewelry, to work with my hands. To craft. To draw. I love to make little origami figures. I can make teeny, tiny paper cranes and rabbits and a wealth of other small creatures. I have an incredible amount of origami paper that has been sitting, waiting to be utilized. I have so many beads and findings that want to be crafted into jewelry. Where has my passion for jewelry making gone?
  • A writer. From day to day I write stiff, boring website content for my employers, but I am also a creative writer. I have many different ideas kicking around in my head but I’m not committing them to paper. I really want to use this blog to get back into the swing of writing creatively, passionately and for reasons other than a paycheck.
  • Energetic. When I am not hiding under the blankets cursing fibromyalgia for being a thing, I have a fair amount of energy and love to play. I love to chase the kids around, I love to ride my bicycle, I love to go for walks, to dance around the house, to practice yoga, to wrestle and so much more. It can be tricky, sometimes, to push through the aches and pains and get my body going, but I never regret it once I’m on the move.
  • Friendly and social. Although I am an introvert, I do love spending time with my friends and loved ones. My “adoptive family” here in New York, and all the friends I’ve met since I moved here in late 2011, are so absolutely amazing. When I am not feeling well, I let myself go into hiding rather than surrounding myself with these incredible people who truly care about me. I want to make an effort to spend more time with my good friends, the people that bring me so much joy and remind me that life is worth living.

I am going to make a point moving forward to live the life I want to live, rather than living the life I think my health demands of me. I still fully intend on taking care of myself, focusing on my health and  becoming a stronger and healthier person, but I am going to stop letting my health define me. Instead, I am going to let my actions and my personality define me.