I have a favorite shirt, and I bet you can guess what it is.
Yeah, if you guessed my Crohn’s disease t-shirt from The Great Bowel Movement, you were totally right. Some of you probably think I don’t own any other clothes. I promise I do. This one has just become a favorite, especially on occasions where I am going to be photographed.
It wasn’t always this way. I clearly remember the first time I wore my “Ask Me About My Colitis” t-shirt. I was petrified. I was ready to start spreading awareness, but nervous about it. I wavered between really hoping someone would ask me, and praying that they wouldn’t. I purposely wore a cardigan over it so that I could easily hide my shirt if I got too nervous. I made sure I was meeting someone I knew and loved, and hoped I wouldn’t see too many other people. I didn’t look lots of people in the eye while I was out. I honestly was doing nothing to invite conversation.
It’s hard to believe that I went on that outing just less than a year ago. Over the past year, I have learned so much about Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I’ve become thankful for my Crohn’s disease and really learned to embrace it. I’ve gotten a new job that makes activism a part of my everyday life.
As I’ve grown in confidence, I have noticed a change in how I wear my shirt. I really, truly want people to talk to me when I wear it out and about now. Instead of waiting for times when I’ll be with close family and friends, I look for opportunities when I’ll see a lot of new people. I wear it in the airport, out to trivia night at a bar, or out and about in a new city.
In my heart, I know that I am responsible for this transformation. I have learned and grown so much over the past year. I feel like a new me, and I’m happier and more confident than I’ve ever been. But when it comes to IBD confidence, I know there are a few things and people that really helped me get here. I want to send some serious love to The Great Bowel Movement and Team Challenge today. Without them, new Lauren might have taken a lot longer to get here.
Tell me: how have you grown and changed in the past year? In your life, who or what has helped you to grow?