The Moments Between
The moments between are the hardest. The moments between needles and their cold pinches. The moments between labs spent waiting in quiet rooms surrounded by unspoken questions floating in the air. The moments between the never give ups and the you're so strongs and the I’m okays. The moments between are small, heavy pebbles that pile up into cragged mountains. They’re sharp, rough, and imperfect. They’re impossible to grasp, instead, they slip through our hands and are gone in an instant. Sometimes they’re captured in our cameras, our notes, or dusty old roles of film. Regardless, they never last. Like hummingbirds, they hover with fluttering wings in the oxygen of our minds before fleeing away.
I can’t say what makes these moments so poignant and so purposeful. Maybe it’s that they represent something beyond our control. They’re permanent markings of what we’ve left behind etched into the pages of our past. No matter how hard we try to erase them, these inkblots remain blackened into us. They are the moments before everything changed and before we left a part of ourselves behind.
Before I got sick with ulcerative colitis
It’s been three years since I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I still think about what my life was like before I got sick, and more importantly, who I was before my body started waging war on itself. Some changes are simple to explain like how I used to love fried chicken, and how I now avoid it except on cheat days. Other things are inexplicable and will always be reduced to the hows and whys in my personal story. What I do know is that these changes have made me who I am now. Still, it’s difficult to put my past and present self together into one person.
In “normal” life, it’s rare to experience a moment that makes one question their own identity so wholly. With ulcerative colitis, I find myself questioning my own identity every time I look at a pill bottle. Should I define myself as sick or should I define myself as a regular twenty-something? These moments jam the cogs of my own machine. It’s even harder when others try to label me for themselves. They often see the big moments in which I am healthy and thriving, yet neglect the times when I am hidden away in my bed.
The moments between health and sickness
In reality, the moments between health and sickness are transitional. Yet, when you live with a chronic illness, the moments between become the defining moments. The uncertainty becomes the only certain thing. Our body’s lack of dependability becomes the most dependable fact about our joints, guts, and layers of skin. While it is a constant struggle to confront both sides of my identity, I am no longer afraid. Instead, I embrace being a walking paradox and breathing oxymoron. I’ve relinquished my dependence on definitions, and instead focus on the blank spaces between the words in the sentences of my life.
After all, the spaces between the major points in my life are mine to fill in.
Do you have ulcerative colitis?
How open are you about being diagnosed with IBD?