New Experiences So Far in 2014

I have had a lot of new experiences so far this year. I moved in with my boyfriend in January. I have been doing a lot of new things with my advocacy, including going to Chicago and flying on a plane for the first time in about 16 years. I have also made wonderful friends and connections from some of the events I have attended.

There has just been a lot of change going on in my life and I anticipate that there will be even more to come. And I expect those changes to be positive ones for me, my life, my future, and my loved ones. Knock on wood. (humor me, please)

All of these new experiences are so exciting to me… NOW!

When I started becoming more entrenched in the IBD and advocacy world at the very end of 2012/beginning of 2013, I started feeling really overwhelmed. I said ‘yes’ to pretty much everything because I wanted to be involved. I also looked at all of these things as good networking opportunities. Aside from facebook, I was also just beginning to learn the ropes about the various social media platforms. Therefore, doing any projects or working with others that required me to use any of these ways of communication was a huge stressor for me.

My thoughts were also all over the place with IBD. I wasn’t sure how to articulate a lot of my ideas or how I was feeling about certain things. I was really just coming out of several difficult emotionally charged years.

Engaging with patients was also new to me. I looked to other leaders in the community who had an advocacy style that I really liked. From them, I found ways to communicate with patients on a variety of levels. I also began learning how to moderate discussions among patients, caregivers, and others in the healthcare community.

I feel like I am in a completely different place than I was a year ago. I have been experiencing new things, stepping out of my comfort zone and I have been alright doing so. I think so much of it has to do with the people I am surrounding myself with. My family, Frank, his family, and my friends are all so understanding and have made things so much easier for me. It allows me to just be myself even if I am someplace out of my comfort zone.

When you take out the need to pretend and hide certain things about your body/life, it gives you time to enjoy whatever it is you are doing. Being fake takes up a lot of time and energy; Doesn’t leave room for much of anything else.


  • Jodi

    so, so , proud of how far you have come. so, so , happy, you are in such a great place. Keep growing, learning and ENJOYING!!!

    • Marisa Lauren

      Thank you Jodi!!:)

  • bastiat1776

    I totally agree with your statement about being “fake” and feeling like you had to hide a huge part of your life from the world.

    It takes a lot of time and energy to do that. My goal this year is to fully integrate the public side that everyone sees with the private “sick” side that no one knows about.

    I’m done having a “split” personality as well. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed this post very much. Brad

    • Marisa Lauren

      I felt like I had a split personality too for a long time. It’s awful. Thanks do much for reading and commenting. Let’s me know I’m not alone as well :)

  • Sherri

    Like Brad, I also enjoyed this post very much…you have come so far in one year and done so many things that are scary and overwhelming regardless of whether a person has been sick or not. And you layer on top doing all these things with all the other things you have dealt with and continue to deal with. Wow…Keep being you, keep being real, because you, my GF is amazing! I love you…<3

    • Marisa Lauren

      Love you so much GF! Couldn’t have gotten here without you!

  • val0525

    You have come so far since I met you, Marisa. I am so proud of you and your courage and desire to open up to help others. I think you have a very exciting future.

    Love you.