1st Story of Transgression: I Live with Chronic Illness

It occurs to me that I need the Transgressive Woman project to make meaning, not just of the story arc of my life thus far, but also of my current situation where I am transgressing by circumstance because I am chronically ill with a “contested condition” and partially disabled and no longer able to contribute or be productive in the ways that culture says are required for us to be of value.

My previous transgressions included joyful aspects; for example, keeping a child conceived in rape allowed me to be a Mom to my incredible daughter. Chronic illness doesn’t have a joyful side, nor is it likely to have a happy ending. In fact, for my own sanity I’ve stopped looking for one. I will continue to try new therapies, but I have no expectation of finding the magic pill that will make all the pain go away forever. And that is a transgression, too – letting go of the idea that perfection or “better” can be achieved or is even desired. If I strive for radical inclusion of all that it is to be human, that includes illness and disability, especially my own. I do what works for me to manage pain and then I keep living my life and daring to take up space with my flawed body and mind.

Except maybe there is a gift here I hadn’t recognized before, the spaciousness and freedom to follow the song of my soul. Perhaps this is the only way I could stop spinning my wheels in the nonprofit industrial complex and learn to see my own value without having to work for it. And that my own mission is as valuable as someone else’s. My partner and loved ones and those few but dedicated of you that support me here are teaching me how I am enough simply by existing as me.

And isn’t that the ultimate transgression in today’s America? To believe that our dignity is not earned, nor bestowed by someone else, it is inherent in our beingness. To believe that our very existence is all the claim to belonging we need.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *