It was a Sunday afternoon in February of 2014 when this project began to take shape. It wasn’t a long, drawn out idea or dream, but rather a concept thought up and put into action within the space of a single day. Prompted by a conversation with a friend, as we reflected on the struggles we both were facing and the many questions I was often asked, this began as nothing more than a post on social media.
I was afraid of how my words would come across, fearful of drawing attention to myself and feeling inadequate to speak in such a way. I also assumed that first post would draw minimal attention. But numerous “likes” and comments later, I realized that perhaps I had started something bigger than I anticipated.
As I continued to share the realities of my life, the response never dwindled and a friend and reader suggested publishing these posts in book form. But despite the favorable response, it was a challenge to publish each post and not allow insecurity to get the best of me. Here I was, publicly sharing the raw reality of my often-makeup-less life through photos and words, and it terrified me. In reality, I never imagined that this project would end up being published.
I began this project because I wanted a way to be real about what I’m facing. This isn’t about sympathy, but about understanding; not just for me, but for those who feel misunderstood in their chronic illness and for those who desire to understand. This is my story, but it is not the exact story of every person in this battle. I have faced chronic illness as a teen and young adult, experiencing the way that it adds to the natural struggles associated with those seasons in life. However, I have not personally known the unique struggles of chronic illness in childhood, parenthood, or other common seasons of life.
Chronic illness comes in many forms, through many stages of life, and affects everyone uniquely. The symptoms vary with each person, even if they live with the same illnesses. For some, their illness is a condition they’ve had since birth, for others it is a result of trauma or atmosphere; some live without a diagnosis, others live without a cure. There are people on this earth who have suffered from chronic illness far longer than I’ve been alive. My experiences are not a universal truth, but a single reality that many relate to. The purpose of this book isn’t to define life with chronic illness, but rather to promote communication and understanding.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
“This is amazingly accurate! Thanks for being brave enough to share!” -Tiana
“This is a beautiful series… Thank you for giving a beautiful, visual voice to those who are weary and in pain.” -Lyndsey
“This is a brilliant idea, and such a poignant expression of a facet of life that is usually suppressed. I don’t think I’ve seen such a lovely yet accurate portrayal of this kind of struggle before, and you’ve done a wonderful job. It’s not easy to be real, but it is precious and needed.” -Jessica
“So raw, so genuine. I love reading your posts!” -Megan
“You have the guts to put out what I feel is shameful to myself… and I thank you for being able to put yourself out there like this.” -Tonya
“Thank you for this series… They’re always such a nice reminder that I’m not alone.” -Lindsey
“I have never seen the reality of chronic illness articulated so raw and beautifully accurate.” -Tara
“I’ve been sick since 2008 and have struggled a lot, especially in the last two years or so. Thank you for taking up the challenge to get the word out about chronic disease, especially the invisible diseases.” -Sam