Around Thanksgiving, I love how conversations naturally turn to gratitude. Finding gratitude in difficult things is a key component to resilience, but also an important way to ground yourself.

In my new role as Interim Director, I’ve received a new-to-me-laptop. You’ll see in the photo it is currently speckled with blood, smeared with lotion, and sprinkled in flakes. When I noticed this, immediately a negative thought cascade unfolded. (Maybe you know how this goes?) I shook it off and said, “Well, of course.” 

This time of year is the hardest for my skin. The cold always seems to strike before I get my gloves out of storage. I stand in CVS (crabbily) calculating the skyrocketing price per Bandaid, which matters when some days I need 8 of them between my 10 fingers ($2.00/day). The wind adds another element to my general skin condition—raw. I need thicker creams, which makes exfoliation harder. Add to that travel by car or plane (hello, dark seats and dry air) and it’s a perfect snow storm (of flakes). Well, of course it is!

But when I am able to hit pause and look for gratitude, I see my body as truly remarkable. We are reminded every day of our unbelievable ability to grow and transform. This is happening in a literal sense, and if we tune into it, we can grow and transform in a figurative sense. Well, of course we can!

I can honestly say this positive shift in my perspective was made possible only because of FIRST. It connects us to ways to make our disease more bearable, and offers us a chance to become part of a community who truly understand what we are going through. From there, we have a choice to look at our skin with gratitude for it’s unique ability to transform and communicate a truly exceptional cell turnover process. And if that’s too far, in the meantime, maybe we can start looking at our skin thinking “Well, of course!” 

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