My name is Shira Strongin and I’m disabled and chronically ill. Whew. The world didn’t implode.

I think it’s time I came out of the disability closet once and for all. For those of you that remember the old Disney show “Hannah Montana”, well she made living two completely different lives look easy. Having to hide a whole side of yourself sucks and is practically impossible, especially in high school. When you do decide to tell just a little bit to a few people you then worry about whether or not they’ll keep your secret. It’s stressful as hell.

So, I’m done.

This is for the people I went to school with. This is for the people who said I was straight up crazy. This is for the people who said I was an attention whore. This is for the people who think they know me. This is for the people who said I was lazy. This is for the people who spread rumors about me. Most of all, this is for me.

I have invisible illnesses and am what's considered "pretty ill" because of that. Basically it means you wouldn’t be able to tell how sick I am by looking at me. It’s why I’ve been able to pull off this whole Miley/Hannah thing for so long. You can read about my specific illnesses in my older posts. My illnesses are rare, I generally am the one educating doctors. They affect my entire body. In the past five years I’ve had to relearn how to walk six times and I’ve almost died five times.  I’m not saying this to get pity, in fact that’s the last thing I want. I’m saying this so you’ll realize how sick I have been and how much effort I have put into faking a smile and pretending to be okay everyday.

I hope you’ll take the time to go through my blog and get to know the real me. Maybe things will start to make more sense. I know this is probably confusing, so if you have any questions feel free to ask me them. I appreciate directness.

I’m sorry if you feel deceived, but see it from my perspective. I’ve been judged and looked down on for being sick, which is something many sick people experience. I didn’t want to spend my high school years defined as “that disabled girl” or “that sick girl”. It's also not something that easily comes up in conversation. I mean how awkward is this, "Oh an interesting fact about me? Well, my autonomic nervous system doesn't work. My doctors think that's pretty interesting." Yeah, I don't think that would've gone over so well in the "get to know you" games. Also, as I said before my illnesses are rare. Since doctors have a hard time making sense of me, how can I expect teenagers to? Especially since my outside does not match inside, and because my illnesses are chronic. It's not like I'll just wake up one day completely better.

I don’t want to hide anymore. As I said in one of my earlier posts, I hated my body and was so ashamed of it for so long. I’ve learned to love and accept myself the way I am. I think “staying in the closet” is only doing more damage. 

So, welcome to the real me.


Sick Chick aka Shira Strongin

P.S. Sorry for all of the "Hannah Montana" references. I'm still adjusting to not being at Brown where "High School Musical" flash mobs were considered normal.  

Special shoutout to the Justice League - you guys were my inspiration to "come out of the closet" thanks for being the awesome and accepting people that you are. I love you all!