And I was feeling hopeful that I could once again fly. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a profile that caught my attention immediately. I was a little taken aback by its synergy with my own life mission and sentiments. I said hello and a lively conversation soon followed. But this was my kind of human. Potentially a great friend indeed.

After a few days, his inquiry turned to my personal story. That night I sleep barely a wink. Nothing I had written or shared was untruthful.

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I spoke from the heart and meant every word. I was me in every way I could be.

Trying Online Dating With A Chronic Illness | The Mighty

But now the moment required I share more. If I shared my identity, it would be a whole two seconds before everything was out there on the table. My personal journey through illness. With a digital footprint revolving around this topic. Some people will never see me for who I am because they get stuck on appearances. I have experienced that before. So I was afraid if I shared my whole story with this person I had just met via the online dating website, that would be all they would see in me.

It was with absolute clarity that I knew. This was a life defining moment. Every person that enters our life provides us with opportunities to go to the next level of our personal evolution. They can be a mirror reflecting wounds that need healing, a catalyst for new realizations or a reminder to honor our boundaries or reaffirm the soul based contracts we have made with ourselves, especially those that serve as testaments of self-respect and self-love.

Part of me wanted to shrink back into mediocrity, play it safe. But the timing of the Universe is always perfect. Each lesson, always divinely orchestrated. So now I had to walk the walk. I had to rise up and own my story. I had to be myself and trust that everything would be ok. More than one person has broken up with me due to my health status in the past. Many life long friends have disappeared into the distance too. For the longest of times, I believed that no one would ever love me or want me in their life because of my health challenges or what I was going through.

And as quickly as I heard the mean girl talk in my head reminding me of the heartbreaks of my past, I heard another side of the argument….

My Online Dating Experiences - the AM with Amy

Well this is your opportunity to be that person. You are not broken. Because your authenticity and your willingness to back yourself is the ultimate act of self love. I have been through the toughest of circumstances, dug deep into the corners of my soul and done the inner work required to merge with my true identity. I have atoned wounds of the past.

I have shared my story in the media and come up against all sorts of criticism and insensitivity in the process.

My true identity does that. That will always shine brighter. Since it was free.

Finding someone to accept me — all of me

I filled out many boxes of information… Body type: Might want kids Diet: Working on University degree. But there was no box for "Diseases. When, I wondered, is the best time to tell a potential mate that you have a condition like that? Directly in your dating profile? In your intro message? On the first date?

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Some of these options are clearly better than others. I knew I wanted to filter out anyone for whom my wheelchair would be an immediate deal breaker. If I were going to be rejected for my muscle weakness, I would rather it be before I was invested and not in person. I also didn't want to waste anyone's time especially my own.

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This meant putting the disclaimer up front on my profile—two carefully crafted sentences that indicated I had a neurologic disease and used a motorized wheelchair to get around my college campus. I included a trite comment about "loving life!! Many of them didn't message back.

The 7 People You Will Meet While Dating With A Chronic Illness

Maybe it was the wheelchair, but—I told myself—it could also be that they didn't like brunettes or biology majors. I learned that any energy spent wondering "Why?

They weren't interested, and that's okay. Someone will be, and maybe I'll be interested in him, too, and that is the only kind of person I need to worry about attracting. It helped that online dating is anonymous.