Monday, October 2, 2017

The first article I ever wrote and published was a review of a new show on NBC titled, Will & Grace. I had just began my freshman year in high school. High school was not a place I enjoyed. It was full of people who were less socially awkward, didn’t enjoy reading or listened to Sarah McLachlan like a hymnal from church.

My first writing assignment, for the school newspaper, was to write a review of the of a new show. I don’t fully remember what first drew me to Will & Grace.  I suspect that it had something to do with a looming deadline and it was the only new show airing on a stellar NBC Thursday night line up including, Friends, Seinfeld and Frasier (?). By the way, I gave the show a rave review!

Saturday morning, I watched the reboot of Will & Grace. It was smart, funny and absolutely Will & Grace. All of the same elements were there; Will was looking for love in all the wrong places, Grace was living with Will (after another failed relationship), Karen is still drunk and Jack is “Just Jack”.  The show brought much needed laughter and intended absurdity in an examination of how our lives intersect between politics, living life and finding love.  To be clear, I am smitten and over the moon that this show is back!

As much as I enjoyed Will & Grace, after the show ended, I realized I was feeling something. The feeling was a cross between sadness and a longing for something. I was confused by my feeling when I had enjoyed, laughed and looked forward to watching one of my favorite shows rebooted. I thought I would feel something else? Maybe a happy nostalgia? Maybe a sense of relief? As I watched a lovely couple get married in the building that I work, It became clear to me why I was so sad – nostalgia for all that could have been.

When I first enjoyed Will & Grace, I was in high school, writing a tiny review of a show that no one would read for my school paper and trying desperately to fit in and be in awe and fear of the life experiences I had in front of me. I was completely dependent on my parents, financially, for any mobility (i.e. a car) and for ensuring that I went to school and staying out of trouble. I had freedom but, I was bound to my family for so much of my existence.

The Will & Grace reboot made me realize how full circle I had come. I had been out on my own, I had a full-time job, I went on to university and obtained a Master’s, I lived on my own and was responsible for myself. Then, in the blink of an eye, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. The diagnosis forced me to make decisions that most people don’t make in the their early 30’s – I was dependent on others. For the first time, I couldn’t work to sustain living on my own, I would not be able to work full-time and I had to ask for assistance. I attended more doctor’s appointments, fulfilled lab work and was sicker than I have ever been. I was scared, confused and sad.

In the three and half years since my diagnosis with PsA, I have learned that I am so much more than my diagnosis. I still live with my parents, I work part-time and I still have a fear of my medical future. However, I have never been more content. I have the knowledge that I can overcome and be anything that I want. My future is not dedicated by PsA, it is shaped but not formed.  In so many ways, PsA saved me from myself. The constant anxiety and self-doubt, that plagued the high school me, is less noisy. I know that I am.

As I finish writing this blog post, I am proud that I was one of the first to recognize the potential in a little show titled, Will & Grace. I enjoyed writing about it then and it is again being written about during another important time in my life.  I will wait each week for the new episode, like I did then but, I will watch reruns on Hulu and record and watch later, new episodes. Not much has changed but yet everything has changed. As Sarah McLachlan sings (from Spotify), “Everyone is waiting”.

Lots of health and love.

~A