On Multiple Sclerosis and Dating, A Series

Photo by Quintin Gellar on Pexels.com

When do you tell someone you are excited about that your body could literally stop working both at any time and for any amount of time with nearly no warning? Haha! Never, I wish!

Dating with Multiple Sclerosis is not something that is often talked about. Perhaps because people with an official MS diagnosis tend to skew older, and already paired off, or perhaps because no one wants to talk or even think about people with disabilities having sex lives – ew, right? How does that even work?

I am not a sex educator and I am not a doctor or a nurse, but I am someone with MS who has sex and dates people. And I think its time to talk.

Expect Less of Yourself

*Not a picture of the writer*
Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

I am sitting here on my couch, trying to relax.

It’s 8pm and I just worked 9 hours. I work from home a few days a week, and this was one of those days. If your work from home style is anything like mine, and it probably is based on anecdotal evidence from so many people I know, you work and work and then it’s 8, 9, 10 hours later and you are like, “Maybe with a little more caffeine, I could power through this one more spreadsheet.”

NO. Do not do it. Work will always be there. It’s true. It feels good to get things done, it really does. But it feels better when your body rests and gets enough sleep. You will be more revitalized for tomorrow. For your family, your loved ones, your love of your life, your hobby.

I am writing this partially to convince myself. You see, I am here on the couch, but I am also eyeing my desk. My multi-screen set-up. I could probably cross another thing off of my list tonight. But, I’m being good. I’m sitting here in an uncomfortable position, “relaxing.” Am I doing it right??

I decided something today as I took a 30 minute “break” where I answered emails on my way to, while waiting at, and on the way back from Starbucks to get my daily peppermint mocha (I’m addicted, pleez send help).

I am no longer going to expect much from myself.

No, this does not mean that I am giving up on me, or that I am giving in to my failure. I am siding with reality. I have never been able to cross everything off of my daily to-do list in one day. Have you? Has anyone? Every day, I sit down, I write it out. I think, I plan, I assume this can be done in one hour, this can be done in two. They can’t. There will be emails that need me, coworkers who need help finding something, a Slack message from a workfriend.

I have decided to admit something to myself: I’m human. Humans suck at estimating – check it. I always think I only need 20 minutes in the morning to get ready. Then I miss my train. I think I’ll read my book on the way to work and back home. I just kind of turn into a lump instead. We all do it. My girlfriend and I together are terrible at getting to parties. We think we can shower, put on makeup, feed the cats and even bake cookies in the like 30 seconds we give ourselves. We are genuinely shocked when we are an hour late. But being late to a party’s cool, so whatever.

I want to give myself a break. I have 4 federally recognized disabilities. Yep, 4. MS makes me so frickin tired, and I don’t want to admit that. I want to work 9 hours and then run a fucking marathon and then come home and clean the house. I am Superwoman. And I am, but Superwoman needs to rest too.

So now, I am going to expect less of myself. I am writing my to-do lists and then cutting them in half. I did it today and it felt great. I still over-budgeted my time. But I am going to work on it. I want to cross off my list. I don’t want to feel bad about not finishing my impossible lump of tasks. I want to be like, “Fuck yeah, grrl! We nailed it!” and then high five myself. High fiving yourself feels great, you should try it. That’s a side note, but an important one.

Expect less of yourself, dear reader. Shower before the party but buy store cookies. Or go disheveled, but still feed the cats first, you monster. As for me, tomorrow I’ll write my list as usual, but this time, I’m going to tear it in half.

You’re Not An Environmentalist Just Because You Use A Metal Straw, Karen

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

The idea of reusable straws saving the world has irked me from the onset. Not just as a person with a disability that could potentially take away my ability to easily feed/hydrate myself, and not only after I read this article about a fellow disabled lesbian who died when a straw impaled her brain. Although, yeah, that article doesn’t exactly add to the other side’s argument. Are people harmed by literally everything in our environments? Yes. Could you die tripping over a young girl’s lego mansion or a boy’s barbie – yes, of course. That doesn’t mean that we should ban legos or barbies (although barbie does present questionable female body standards, but that’s for another post).

I’m not anti-reusable straw.

When I’m home, I only use glass or even, yes, metal straws. They aren’t the devil. They are the devil to clean though, that’s really a pain in the ass, but I do it (my girlfriend does it). It saves money and stops plastic from going into the landfill. Listen, I’m pro-environment, Karens of the world. Your grrl hasn’t used a reusable plastic bag since like 2012 (unless I’m super depressed and just can’t fight the cashier that day – shout out to those of you who get that). I’m a vegan – not supporting factory farming over here. I even use all-natural products when they don’t even work very well. I’m committed. And yet. The straw thing.

Perhaps this wouldn’t be so peeving if the liberal hive mind hadn’t decided to turn against anyone who uses or asks for straws. A swanky coffee shop I went to the other day in FiDi (shitty mocha, don’t recommend) literally had these weird ass lids that you were supposed to drink out of? I looked around for straws and there was no sign in sight with an explanation. You just get the weird ass lid with the shitty drink, and you suffer. For the environment! ❤

I want to make the case that it doesn’t really matter what we as individuals do for the environment.

Our small scale recycling and diligent denying of bags for our other bagged and boxed goods pales in comparison to what major corporations are doing every day. The changes we make, make us feel good. They make us feel better about ourselves and our world, and for a delusional few, our future on this planet. In that sense, go for it. That’s why I do it – I’d feel bad if I didn’t. Just don’t make other people feel bad for their straw-consuming choices. Go to your yoga class and breathe it out. Maybe pick up a nice smoothie on the way home. Just don’t be too hard on yourself if you reach into your yoga bag and realize you left that incredibly-hard-to-clean-straw dirty in the sink again, ok?