TO: Men all over the planet
RE: When we first go out…
DATE: August 19th, 2014
I sometimes feel like I’m an imposter, as if I’m desperately trying to hide so no one will discover my secret – my true identity. I’ve even imagined how my secret would be discovered. The scenarios vary, but they follow the same general pattern: I’m sitting in a dimly lit restaurant across from my date. We’re both scanning the menu, and I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking. The words escape my lips before I have the chance to bury them with first-date small talk.
“So, this is my first time,” I say, somehow secretly hoping the menu will muffle my words.
“Oh, really?” he replies. “Well, I say you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Everything’s great.”
Hmmm, this might be harder than I thought.
“No, it’s not that. I mean, this is my first time…dating, I mean. Well, actually, this is my first time doing any of it.”
I’ve never really thought of what might happen next (maybe because I’m too scared?), but I’m sure of one thing: My situation is a pretty unusual one, so I’ll just say it: I’m a 33-year-old blogger and freelance writer, and I was born with Freeman-Sheldon Sydrome, a genetic bone and muscular disorder. I’ve had some 26 surgeries and have spent days and months in hospitals and doctors’ offices. I’ve done all that.
What I haven’t done?
Been on my first date.
Had my first kiss.
Had my first boyfriend.
There, I’ve said it. Like I said, pretty atypical. But then again, my entire life has been anything but typical.
Society is so quick to forget that women with disabilities are women first. They forget that we have the same starry-eyed romantic dreams and desires as our able-bodied peers. But the fact that I’m disabled doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m a woman, and this is a journey of self-acceptance that finally, in my early ‘30s, I’m just starting to begin. So, on that first date, I do hope you’ll keep that in mind when I drop the big bomb on you. Sound like a deal…? xoxo
P.S. And yes, boys, I’m well aware that this post perfectly illustrates my theme song. I never said I was perfect, remember? 🙂
[Photos via We Heart It]