I don’t know how you do it.

“I don’t know how you do it.”

I get this phrase from people all the time. And honestly, I don’t really like it.

I start to explain my life to people, how I’m working three “jobs” dedicated to social justice, managing 12-16 credits of school, working my way through my Lyme treatment protocol, and navigating through so much oppression from the medical industrial complex and widespread ableism. When I talk about these things, often times, people tend to, well, sort of freak out.

Photo on 2-19-14 at 3.29 AM

The people who say this to me cannot fathom the life I’m living. They cannot fathom why I’m doing all of the things I do, or the drive I have. They don’t because they haven’t, and may never have to, experience the trauma that I’ve felt. Furthermore, in their attempt at solidarity and acknowledgement of my struggle, these individuals actually alienate me even more.”I don’t know how you do it” makes me feel like a strange creature, a space that is unable to relate to my peers.

But really, I’m no different from you. I also procrastinate. I also binge on Netflix. I also have the problems you have. The only difference is that my experience with problems I face transcended into something bigger and has given me the drive to do something about it.

So don’t tell me that you don’t know how I do it,
Because honestly, I don’t know how I do it either.

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My Mantra

A few months ago, Robert Fogarty of Dear World came to my university for a open photo shoot. Robert asks us the question If you were to share one meaningful message with your family, friends, and strangers, what would it be? This portrait is the result of his question. 

"You're stronger than you think."

“You’re stronger than you think.”

You’re stronger than you think. If having a disease like Lyme has taught me anything, it’s that I am stronger than I think I am. I’ve faced an innumerable amount of hardship from this disease, yet here I am, stronger than ever. I chose this message because as we face the struggles that life brings, we often forget our strength. Strength can be pleasantly surprising.

Whenever I am having a particularly bad day or I find myself in a rough patch, I think of this sentence. It becomes a warm, gentle nudge that reminds me of all that I’m capable of. I am always pleasantly surprised.

Best,

Sofia