Here We Go Again
The last time I talked about love over two years ago, I thought I had met the one. What a cliche. I'm not sure if there is just one right person for us or several people who could make us equally happy. I don't know if it's a matter of luck or time - right person, wrong time as people say - or if there is some grand plan and perfect pair for everyone out there.
I used to believe in soul mates and love at first sight, and maybe there are people out there who perfectly compliment your soul or you know in an instant that they are meant to be part of your life. But what I do know is that my experiences dating with sickle cell and going through my parent's divorce forever changed my opinions on love - what it is and how it lasts.
Love without judgment
One of the most impactful life decisions we make is choosing the people we surround ourselves with. For sickle cell warriors, we have to be extra selective in finding people who are willing to support us and not judge us. I have been fortunate enough to not have the people in my life reject me or love me less because of my disease - though that's not the case for everyone. I have never had someone decide not to date me because of my disease, though I have chosen not to date those with my same disease.
Love without compromise
I am unwilling to compromise on my partner's genotype because I want children in the future and I don't want them to experience the pain that I have. I don't regret anything about having sickle cell; it has made me who I am and I love everything about me. But, it has not been easy and though I may not be able to prevent passing down the trait to my future children, I can make sure they don't have my disease.
Love without explanation
I made the decision early on but it has not been easy. See, no one gets it like sickle cell warriors do. No one quite sees the world the same or understands all the little things. And I find it so hard to truly describe everything I go through to others. I am an open book but I still struggle with asking for help. I'd love to be with someone who understands without me having to explain. I know that's a bit unrealistic.
I've dated people in the past who knew I had sickle cell and educated themselves on my disease. They tried to support me the best that they could but I found it hard to explain to them the kinds of support I needed. I think my fear of being a burden to them made me hyper-independent. How could I find peace and rest in a relationship where I still felt the need to keep my guard up around my disease?
Love without doubt
But there's new love in my life. It came to me unexpectedly, as the best things tend to. He doesn't have sickle cell but someone in his family does. He has watched them grow up through the pain, helped take care of them, and continues to support them. So, he gets it. Wow does he get it. And I find myself opening up about my pain in ways I have never done before. He understands and I hardly even have to explain. So maybe there is a right person out there for everyone, and maybe he could be the right person for me.
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