A 27-year-old female living in Orange County, Calif., blonde hair, blue eyes, slender, central core myopathy. That probably sounds just like the beginnings of a dating profile, and in actuality, some of my online dating profile info has read just that way, except perhaps for the last three words. I was diagnosed with the central core myopathy form of muscular dystrophy at the age of 2. My mom noticed that I wasn’t trying to pick myself up or even attempt to walk, something most kids at the age of 2 are trying to do. I wore braces on my legs for many years and then progressed to crutches. With a lot of intense physical therapy, I was extremely blessed to be able to fully walk on my own, something doctors thought would never happen in my lifetime!
When people hear Orange County, I know a lot of images and stereotypes start running through their minds: blond hair, tanned and toned bodies, beaches, big houses and even bigger bank accounts. And with shows like The Real Housewives, Laguna Beach and The O.C., I definitely don’t blame people for thinking that. I can tell you that neither my house nor my bank account are huge and though I am a blonde, my wildly curly and frizzy hair definitely makes me stick out in a crowd here. And I’ll be honest, as someone living in the area who doesn’t quite look or walk like everyone else, I can tell you that sometimes it does feel like I’m constantly surrounded by a lot of what you see on those television shows.
When you think about it, it’s quite funny that one of the main reasons so many people flock to Southern California is for the weather. I will be the first one to say it is absolutely wonderful and something that I try to never take for granted. Last week for instance, we had an 80-degree day, so I headed to the beach just to sit and enjoy the sunshine. I think it’s only been in recent years too that I’ve realized that nice weather is a large portion of why physicality and activity can be so highly regarded out here. The weather is perfect so why not go outside and run? Why not do triathlons? Why not have your body in beach shape 365 days a year?
Unfortunately, for a girl with my form of muscular dystrophy who has trouble walking up stairs, who has a visible limp, and who often falls for no reason at a moment’s notice, running marathons and surfing aren’t exactly in the cards. Sure I can go on walks, but I worry the whole time about falling and not being able to help myself up off the ground (which if I don’t have anything to grab onto, is pretty much the case). My knees have seen more than their fair share of bruising, scrapes and scar-inducing cuts. Many a pair of jeans have sadly suffered the same fate. So when you live in such an activity-focused area, it can sometimes be more difficult to meet people for both friendships and relationships.
I hope that with this blog I’ll be able to take you on my challenging, interesting and sometimes flat out silly journey of dating and relating in “the O.C.” I know I’ve learned a lot these past 27 years not just about dating and friendships, but about myself and about going through life with an open heart and a positive attitude despite the challenges I (and really that we all) encounter. I also hope that this blog will serve as not just a testament to my own experiences, but as something others can relate to. I know when I was growing up, all I wanted to know was that someone else out there understood exactly what I was going through. I’m here to tell you there is! You are not and will never be alone. And isn’t it great that with the invention of the Internet and blogs, we can share it with each other? Welcome to my journey … I hope you enjoy the ride!