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The Perfect First Day of School Outfit Gives Teen with Rare Liver Disease (PSC) the Confidence She Needs to Tackle the Day

It was the first day of my junior year of high school. First days are always a big deal, but this one seems even more monumental. I haven’t been in-person at school for such a long time. I started off attending school in-person my sophomore year, but with the high number of COVID cases running through town, our school pretty quickly switched to remote learning. Then, when classes did resume in person, I remained remote. It was easy to just let others think I was at home because of my parents’ fear of the COVID virus. This was partly true - my parents were afraid that I would catch COVID especially not knowing how it would affect my autoimmune problems. But the real reason was that I was already not feeling good from my PSC with terrible headaches and fully drained of energy as well as having a bad flare up of my ulcerative colitis. I didn’t want anyone to know the details of either of these, especially the fact that I was going to the bathroom a million times a day, and I was content to learn comfortably from home. This year, though, I am excited to be back at school. Neither of my health issues are perfect, but they are at least somewhat better than they were. I really hope I feel good this year, because there is no longer a remote option to fall back on which is upsetting to me.

My favorite thing about the first day has always been the first day outfit - picking out my own, seeing how cute my friends look, and checking out how the people that I hadn’t seen all summer have changed. My friends and I had decided a few days before that we would all be dressing up. The weather was still very warm, so cool sundresses were the perfect choice! For myself, I chose a short, flowy dress in a deep hue of turquoise blue. I love that color because of the way it brings out the strawberry blond in my hair, and I feel confident wearing it. I carefully choose my jewelry next. I am sure to slip on the ring that my mother gave me that she used to wear when she was a teen. It is silly, but I feel like somehow it brings me good luck when I wear it. I check myself in the mirror one more time. After putting on some lip gloss and brushing my long hair, again, I decide that I am happy with how I look, and I am ready to go out the door. 

As I go up the pathway to the school, I look around and think to myself that I fit in with all of the other kids walking in with me. I look like them, and I realize that I am dressed similarly wearing the same popular brands. The good thing is that no one knows that I have pains in my stomach, my headache is killing me, or that fatigue makes my day so hard. I really just want to appear that I am  like everyone else who doesn’t have to deal with these health problems, that I don’t look sick. But I guess on the other hand, if I think about it, it also is a bad thing that no one knows or understands how I am feeling. It is nothing that can be seen from the outside.  No one knows. 

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