So today was an interesting day. This morning, I think sixteen (is what I heard) Wesleyan students went over to Middletown High School (the local high school) to give talks to small groups (around 25) of students. I was one of them (in case you didn’t get that). Our talks were a part of the school’s Diversity Week, and we were supposed to talk about pretty much anything relating to identity.
I’m still a little giddy or something which is probably why I’m not super winning at speaking English. Oops.
I gave my talk on productive ways of handling changes in identity. We talked a lot about identity, how we see our own identities, what can change our identity, if those changes are positive or negative, and good ways of dealing with them.
Of course the MS thing came up because it’s been my main change in identity, getting used to being sick/disabled/whatever this is. I was really surprised/happy/is it awkward to say happy? about the amount of MS awareness that was happening in the classroom. One kid’s aunt has it, another’s grandmother, another’s mom works at the MS Foundation, the teacher’s sister-in-law just got diagnosed, lots of connections. And then one girl raised her hand and said that her grandmother has MS, her dad just got diagnosed, and her sister is in the process of getting diagnosed. And what advice would I give to someone who’s 16 and getting diagnosed with MS? I didn’t know what to say.
Sixteen sounds young to me. I was a really different person at sixteen. I still lived with my parents, I was in high school, school wasn’t that hard, things that made me upset were mainly boys. (Well, boys can still make me upset)
She later revealed that her sister was in fact her triplet (one of her triplets? how to phrase that?) who was sitting next to her (they aren’t identical). We talked for a bit after my speech-y thing was done. It was really good to commiserate with someone, about spinal taps and MRIs and numbness and everything. I also finally felt like I had done what I wanted to do over a year ago when I started this blog, which was to have the chance to help someone else who was just starting out.
I gave her my email address on an index card. I hope she gets in touch.