My first real memory of having EDS symptoms in school was in 4th grade. We had a substitute PE teacher and she made us run laps around a field. I have always had bad allergies and asthma, so not only was I a wheezing, sneezing mess, I also couldn’t keep up with the other kids because my whole body hurt and my hips were subluxing (something I didn’t realize until I was diagnosed last year). The sub told me I was faking and to keep up. Every lap I tried to meet her expectations, and every time I passed her I was told to knock it off. Sports obviously did not become my thing.
Fast forward to college. I focused all of my energies on book smarts and trying to soak up everything my professors taught me. I adapted from community college to George Fox University and it was there that I met one of my greatest teachers of all time, Haley Winkleman. She was also a transfer student and we met on day one. I immediately started talking her ear off and she only mildly looked like she wanted an excuse to get away. We became good friends and while I tried to understand her passion for mathematics, she taught me that the only person to be in life is yourself. Being a mold or copy of someone else isn’t fulfilling. This didn’t sink in until many years later. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her, and for that I am forever grateful. Her favorite place is the Grand Canyon, so it is there that I rock my Zebra onesie in honor of EDS Awareness.
P.S. I was blessed to have many great professors and teachers, some of which took the time to get to know me. What they likely didn’t know was that this effort is a major contributor to my success and to overcoming the (unknown at the time) symptoms of EDS that often taunted me with depression. Thank you Roberta Klaus, Connie Penna Nagreen, Zip Krummel, Kevin Jones, Kristina Kays, Clella Iles Jaffe, and Steve Meeker Sherwood for being one of my lifelines!