They called me “Seizure Girl”.
I haven’t had a seizure in 4+ years.
But they called me “Seizure Girl” anyways.
I’ve become very good about making light of my accident.
Joking not to fall off things or, “you’ll end up like me”.
Joking that “…..it’s the broken brain”.
But they called me “Seizure Girl”.
I’m not a very sensitive person. I mean, I used to be, but then my accident happened. I went through so many different emotions in such a short period of time. It was a rollercoaster. I got so tired of emotions, and having to deal with feeling them that I eventually told myself I was just going to stop, feeling them. That I would pretend they weren’t there.
So when jokes were made about my accident, I laughed and chimed in too. Because I wasn’t feeling emotions anymore. I was pretending they weren’t there.
I’m the underdog in life. I’m the odd one out. I’m the rare pumpkin in the patch, but not the good rare, the strange rare. I have been for five years now.
Apparently I’m the “Seizure Girl”.
You know it takes a lot of effort to not feel feelings anymore. Or rather to pretend they aren’t there.
For the last five years I’ve woken up every morning and have been reminded that I’m different.
Our society isn’t very accepting of different.
So for the last five years I’ve joined in on the jokes. In fact I make a lot of them now. Some of them even leave those around me in shock. Those that don’t know me find it odd I would laugh at myself. “She’s used to it” those that know me will say. “She doesn’t care” they add when you laugh or make your own joke about it.
They’re right, I’m used to it. But they’re wrong, I do care.
I care so much that for the last two weeks I haven’t been able to get the phrase “Seizure Girl” out of my head.
“Oh get over it” says family. “You’re better than them” says friends.
But they’ve never been the “Seizure Girl”.
Do you know what it feels like to wake up on the floor of a parking lot surrounded by people staring at you?
How about being told by an MD that there’s nothing wrong with you, that it’s all in your head?
Or even better, let’s get real vulnerable here. Being stripped in an ambulance because you’ve pissed yourself from seizing?
Telling the stranger that used the flash on their camera “it’s okay” after they’ve made you fall over?
Asking for someone to help you open the door for you after they’ve watched you try to in your wheelchair from across the hall for five minutes?
Yeah I didn’t think so. So when you try to tell me that I’m not the odd one out, or the underdog, you’re wrong.
Those things made you cringe didn’t they? They left you feeling uncomfortable didn’t they? You just thought, ‘wait that really happened to her’ didn’t you?
For some reason our society doesn’t want to hear about the ugly, they only want the good. And when they hear about the ugly anyways, they need to quickly make light of the situation, and make a joke so that they can laugh and no longer feel uncomfortable about the ugly. Well let’s face reality, there’s a lot of ugly that exists. Why are we turning our heads to the things that make us uncomfortable? This is life people. Uncomfortable things exist, and they probably wouldn’t be uncomfortable if we all stopped turning our heads and accept that they happen.
Yes I used to have seizures. It was miserable. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. But I’m not going to beat around the bush and leave out the parts that were hell for me just so that you can feel better about yourself or warm and fuzzy on the inside. My story isn’t all warm and fuzzy, it’s uncomfortable and ugly too, deal with it. I’m not sorry you felt the need to give me a lousy nickname (and it really was lousy pal, you could have at least called me the fainting goat) to feel better about what happened to me, and ignore the fact that me standing in front of you makes you remember my story, and it makes you feel uncomfortable.
In the last five years I’ve been humiliated more than I could ever even begin to explain. My life is a series of random events that someway or another end up with me swallowing the feelings and stuffing them back inside.
Tell me I’m more than “Seizure Girl”. That they were wrong, go ahead. Tell me all you want. Try to make me feel better about someone else’s lousy choice of words.
At the end of the day I still will have been “Seizure Girl”. I mean they weren’t really wrong were they?
I’m also Merideth though.
And I’ve worked damn hard to get where I am.
I’m not sorry that my accident might make you uncomfortable to the point that you feel as if you need to make a joke about it to “lighten things up”.
Until you’ve been “Seizure Girl” don’t let the words, or any others of the like come out of your mouth again in reference to me.
Because the “Seizure Girl” you’re referencing is much more than that.
I hate the color pink. My favorite food is Indian. I’ve never had a pet dog. My mom and sister are my best friends. I have a cat named Tuna.Monday’s are my favorite days of the week. I’m very loud.
And I used to have seizures.
This world wasn’t made for people that are the odd ones out. It isn’t easy to wake up every morning and be reminded that you are different. No matter how many years ago my accident was I will forever have to jump through extra hoops and leap over extra hurdles just to get to where you are. People don’t understand.
But that’s okay.
I’m not the same as everyone else. That changed five years ago and it will never go back. There’s no undoing it. I got the unlucky end of the stick or whatever that saying is. I can’t forget feelings. I can’t pretend they aren’t there. Words hurt. Reactions hurt. Actions hurt.
I hope you’re reading this and I hope you regret letting the words come out of your mouth. I hope you realize that I’ve been through hell to get to where I am now. I hope you understand that people in my same position, the other “Seizure Girls” some of them are dead now. Yes I said dead, not “passed away” on purpose. Because it’s awful. This “thing” that turned me into “Seizure Girl” it’s an awful thing. I don’t need to be reminded by you that I have it. I’m not trying to make you feel bad about yourself. I mean I secretly hope that you do just a little bit (not so secret anymore.) I’m trying to get you to understand that labels don’t mean shit. That there are more to people than their diagnosis. That as strong as that person may look on the outside, there’s a very real possibility they’re falling apart on the insides.
You don’t have to have been sick to understand that someone that is deserves respect. Stop staring. Stop pointing out the differences. Stop making jokes about them. Stop treating them with special attention or extra kindness or doing that weird thing where you act completely different around me as if I’m not a human and that I’m some weird extraterrestrial creature.
I’ll joke about my broken brain when I want.
I’ll call it a broken brain because it’s how I cope.
But that doesn’t give you the authority to unless I’ve made it very clear that you may.
My name is Merideth, in case you’ve forgotten, or you don’t know, or whatever else led you to coining me “Seizure Girl”…..idiot.