Guest Zine by Noah Gilman

I believe illness is a very personal experience.

Telling someone how to heal themselves is almost like telling a dog to speak english, completely different languages. If I am bleeding out of my mouth and ass currently, and I want to not be sick, then how is it my fault for making myself sick? The logic just isn't there, there is a realness to sickness, there is a realness to death. And the sicker I become, the closer to death I come, the more real all this is. It isn't some kind of joke or game where we play with our minds until we heal. It is real life and death, it is the difference between being sick and laid out in a hospital bed all day or being out in the sun living my life. If one wants to talk about fears, I am game, I know this life, I know this pain. But if you want to tell me that I am causing myself to bleed, then I know in my heart you truly have no idea what I am going through. This actually hurts me when you tell me that I am somehow wrong. It paints you as the white knight of health, and me as the black sheep, unable to heal. Recognize this, man up, and take responsibly for the thoughts and words we put into the world, they really do affect others. I can promise you, you wouldn't want a day in my shoes.


I would sacrifice everything I had, surrender my life to something else, meditate all day, take less classes, breathe, love (I actively do all these things). But what does it meant to me when I am still sick at the end of the day? It means that after all the words and conclusions and thoughts and expectations we place on the body, I am still attached to this body. I am still bleeding today after 4 years of remission. And this doesn't make me weak. It actually makes me really fucking strong, because I had the guts to wake up everyday and look my illness in the eye. I have it in me to face my own life and continue to give love. I am survival. I am the will to live. Inside me are microbes scratching away at survival, the miracle of life is taking place within me, and somehow I still breathe. Somehow after my body rotting from the inside, I am here with a smile, able to show you my truth.

You will never see me preach health.

You will see me attempt to explain my own situations and understandings of health. You will understand what tools I have to ease the burden, but you will never hear me talk in ultimatums because I know all too well that humans plan and God laughs. Take this moment to understand how much of an effect we have on each other, and how much easier it would be to help each other up, instead of belittle and push each other down with divisive rhetoric that preaches for perfection. Accept me as I accept myself, allow me to be human and I will allow you to hold your own assumptions about life. But please, please understand that just because I am sick, doesn't mean that I am any different from you.