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The Unhealthy Reason Why I Do Not Attend College

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At my age, I'm constantly asked what grade I attend in college. Doctors ask me, people in concert lines, even cashiers and waiters. I would be graduating this week if my school experience had been normal.

But my life has never been normal - I wasn't a normal, healthy child - so why should my education be normal? I remember not wanting to go to kindergarten. I never went to preschool, so kindergarten was my mommy-don't-leave-me experience (except it was my dad who actually took me my first day). Oh, and the kicker: A neighborhood girl told my classmates that I wet my bed.

You can see why my teacher quickly became my BFF. My parents let her know that I was sickly (I had been from birth). There were days of sitting close to the teacher's desk, and half days, and mornings curled up underneath my mother's blanket because I simply couldn't get out of bed.

When I got to first grade, my teacher assigned me a front-row seat. The other kids made fun of me for being sick, but I never thought they were bullying me. I just didn't understand why I never felt well. I had my first panic attack when the kids laughed at me because the teacher wouldn't call my mom to tell her I had a stomach ache. I only attended half of the year after that.

I liked second and third grades just fine, but we switched schools in fourth grade. I had bullies there, and one of them was a teacher. My mom worked in the customer service building next door, and whenever I got sick, I was allowed to go lie down in her office. This happened often. So did having her take me home early.

September 11 happened the year I attended a private school, and I didn't want to go back afterward. My teachers had to take my mom and me to the hospital on an emergency. I spent two days in the stomach labs. If I had not been allowed to work at my own pace and skip ahead in the curriculum, I don't know that I would've passed that year.

I thought I'd found a miracle when my parents announced we were going to homeschool. I didn't want to go back to school and be sick again. I homeschooled the rest of my education, minus a stint where I tried going to high school until I was in so much pain that I could barely walk and was diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome.

I HATE being asked why I don't go to college because I don't have some special otherworldly answer like I'm trying to find myself. The truth is, school and I don't get along. The truth, is I'm just too sick.
I never really think about how sick I am - even though I deal with it every day - until I talk to someone about my symptoms or tell them the things I can't do. And then it just hits me. I'm sick. I mean, I'm really sick. I can't go to college, I can't work, and I can't travel far. It's hard to go to church most Sundays.

But I have never felt sorry for myself. People tell me that they're sorry I'm sick, and I'm just like, "Why? I'm not." I may be sick, but I can still make a life out of what I've got. I want to write. And all I've ever wanted to do is write. OK, when I was 15, I wanted to be Tara Strong, and at 7, I totally thought I could be the first princess on the moon. But, other than that, it's always been writing. And it has never been about whether or not I'm sick. My illnesses are completely separate from my writing. And everything I need to learn about my writing, I can get from reading.

I can't go to college. Frankly, the thought scares the ever living mess out of me. And thankfully, I don't need to.
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