The New Yorker

A day with my family revolves around our food schedule.  At breakfast we were discussing when we should have lunch and during lunch we were discussing dinner.  At some point I was discussing if and when I would fit in a run.  Today was appearing to be more of an if day.  Especially after this monstrosity, the New Yorker.

behold the New Yorker.

behold the New Yorker.

Florida in the summer is a complicated place and everything that I could say here has been said before-  It is humid and hot as hell outside, over air conditioned inside, and no one can drive.  I decided to stay off the road and head to the clubhouse for a swim.  After some serious debate over whether or not to pack my gym clothes I packed them up and headed to the pool for some R&R.

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I wanted to take a hotdog legs shot (see here: http://hot-dog-legs.tumblr.com/) but decided against it. Here are some of my new friends, wading in the pool, discussing the complexities of life.

After, oh, ten minutes, my attention deficit kicked in and I was bored.  I had already flipped through 2 magazines, texted friends ridiculous pictures, and gone in the water.  I knew what I should do, but the idea of running on a treadmill was paralyzing for some odd reason.

I walked into the gym and should not have been surprised to find this in a retirement community.

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Treadmills for everyone!

I followed this up with a 10 minute procrastination stretch session and then flipped through about 5 songs until I found THE song.  I don’t discriminate when it comes to music.  My Pandora stations include:

The Black Keys, Modest Mouse, Kings of Leon, Spice Girls, Hot Hot Heat, The Lonely Island, Florence + The Machine, Santana, Deftones, Tool, Swedish House Mafia, Sugarland, La Bouche, Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LFO, Bob Marley, 311, Beyoncé, Passion Pit, Rihanna, The Strokes, The Beatles… I’m done writing.  But you get the point.  Whether my tastes are good or bad, I am eclectic.

I then began my run and it just did not feel the same as the fresh outdoors, but I knew that today was the day that I was kissing 2 miles goodbye.

How did I know?  Because I felt empowered by Beyoncé and Rihanna.  I felt like a powerful black woman who could do anything!  I was a survivor… I wasn’t gonna give up.  I was crazy in love.  If anyone walked in I was having the time of my life.  At one point I was singing Rihanna’s “Hard” like I was convinced I was just Rihanna in the gym.

They can say whatever I’ma do whatever No pain is forever Yup, you know this
Tougher than a lion Ain’t no need in tryin’ I live where the sky ends Yup, you know this

This song was then followed by Bruno Mars and then B.o.B., who both convinced me I am a beautiful girl.

So there I was… a beautiful, powerful, black woman who could take on the world.  I walked out of the gym, 3 miles in the bag, looked in the mirror.  Still the same old white Jew from Long Island, but damn.  I did it!

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Luck Fupus

May of 2009 I created a team “The Lucky Thirteens” for the New York City lupus walk. This was the first time I can recall feeling ownership over this disease. I spoke openly about it, wanted people to understand what having lupus entailed, and wanted to bring awareness to a disease that is not well known but so many suffer from.

For so long I did not want to be associated with this word. It felt like a dirty word that could so easily define me. It was a label that I feared would define me.

Events shape our perception and through experience we learn. What I had learned from being open with people about having lupus was that I would be judged.

“Oh, I know someone who died from that.”
“You don’t look sick.”
“This woman I know can’t even get out of bed anymore.”
“Wow…so are you going to have kids?”

I don’t think that anyone meant malice by their words, but these were the conversations that shut me down. I began to fear that I would be unlovable or that I should not put someone in the position to be with a “sick” person, or a person who could possibly one day be unable to get out of bed. I developed irrational fears such as, if my job finds out maybe they wont want to keep me.

Confronting my fears head on were the initial steps that I took to be able to accept that lupus is a part of me, but it is not me. The Lupus Walk was a chance for me to rally support for something that is important to me. I was so afraid of putting myself out there, but I needed to.

At the time I was in college and I was broke. My friends were broke. How could I ask for money? I began a campaign for cans and I called it “Drinking for a Reason.” Classy. I know. The support I received was overwhelming. People were going out of their way to make sure that I got their cans. Messages over facebook, texts, calls, friends by association. People wanted to help. It was amazing, minus living in fear that the can collectors of downtown Albany would identify the ring I had going on and hunt me down for blood. They had a serious operation going on.

With the help of friends who dedicated hours, mini vans, and their time I was able to collect $250 in money just from cans. Think about that. $250 is five-thousand-cans. After writing that out I now realize I probably should have gotten tetanus shots.

I then decided that wasn’t enough. I spread the message and I began to advocate for my team. Sometimes you just have to ask people for help, and you would be surprised by how much people want to support your cause. As a team we were able to raise over $3000 dollars. We were a top team in the lupus walk that year. Most important to me were the people who came out and showed their support. Friends that came from Albany to Manhattan just to walk next to me, friends who I had not seen in years were there as well, I walked with my mom, my brother, a bulldog, and people that I can never thank enough.

So for the first time in my life I feel like I can say I have lupus. Pobody’s nerfect.

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