BY: Demetrious McMullen – “Ruler of Androgyny”

My window is frozen open. The air in my room was so bad last night, that I cracked the window, even though it was freezing outside. I went to close it in the morning, but it wouldn’t budge! It was pretty chilly, but not intolerable. However, after a couple of hours, I became a human popsicle. Rather, a human fudgesicle! It makes no difference in the fact that my room was a temporary freezer (good thing our cat, Ziggy, is a fluffy puff). I just absolutely love chocolate.

So, my last blog was a mess. It’s difficult to make a well-rounded introduction. I had to get it out of the way and I’m happy that from now on my blogs will be more precise and focused on individual topics. Today, I want to talk about the frequent change of life and the paths one could take. This is because I’ve decided to leave SUNY Potsdam.

My reasons for leaving have to do with how unsuccessful I’ve been for the last five semesters.  My disabilities are bringing me down. The accessibility on campus is atrocious, as it is extremely difficult to get anywhere in my wheelchair.  I can’t eat that much sodium because when I do, I swell up and can barely walk. I have to cook my own food because of this, and the kitchen is across the building! These are only some of the issues that I’ve come across. Many more have been exhausting me and driving me mad.

Next semester, I will be taking online courses at Westchester Community College and will decide where to go from there. What surprises me is just how happy I am with this plan. I feel free and ready to jump into the next part of my life. I will definitely miss people here. I learned a great deal from being here. I will miss the wonderful professors I’ve had, the students I had a chance to get to know, and the programs I participated in. Although I know that this is the best thing for me, change can be tough to swallow.

Many times, life changes rapidly and you’ll end up where you didn’t plan to be. I was going to try to finish this semester. I am unable to.  I don’t know what’s wrong, but my health is just awful.  Last week, we rehearsed forthe Candlelight concert at the Crane School. We then performed on Sunday. I had to go to the ER on Saturday night because of the pain in my abdomen, along with other concerning symptoms. They gave me an IV of saline and Tylenol, along with another medication to help with nausea and pain.

Want to know why a person would have to have two IVs? The first IV I had was infiltrated and my arm started to fill up with liquid. It was the biggest IV needle that has ever been in my arm and it hurt. This is why I was certainly not happy when they had to insert a second IV for the CT scan in my bad arm. With all of this and bloodwork, they found nothing. I should have expected this, as they did the same thing to me two years ago, when something serious was happening. I will go to my doctor for a follow-up on this issue, but for now, I, unfortunately, have to wait a little bit. Just a side note: my fiancé, Lindsay, decided to take a picture of me with two IVs in my arms. What a memory, right?

I had to make another decision recently. I have constant trouble with my IV for infusions. My veins fall flat from being used so much, and they are already tiny. An option to help this is to get a Port-A-Cath. It scares me, but I know it will be better for me and my treatment in the future. I scheduled my appointment to get a Port-A-Cath for January 7th, and I am sticking to it. It will be scary, but it will be beneficial for my treatment.

I never would have expected this to happen. I didn’t even know that I would have Ankylosing Spondylitis, and many other conditions that are best friends with the medications I take every day. Life is ever-changing, yet challenging. Life is beautiful, yet burdensome. Life has variety and variation, yet many do struggle to make the simplest of decisions.

My health is what needs the most of my attention right now. I am at a stage in life where I am done with tradition.  I have dealt with an abundance of insufficient accommodations and stressful workloads. I’ve had paperwork issues that didn’t allow me into a music program and then a life-threatening asthma attack that affected my next vocal audition.  The path I was planning on taking seemed to have hurdles that only grew taller as time went by. I am meant to go a different way and it’s okay. I need to listen to what my body is telling me, particularly when it is saying what it is. I finally recognized how miserable and sick this is making me. Changing my course won’t only benefit my health; it will better my life.

Demetrious McMullen is currently a college student, attending SUNY Potsdam, majoring in Theatre. They are a vocalist, play piano, baritone ukulele, violin, hand percussion, and more. Demetrious is also an actor, photographer, and painter. Demetrious is a caregiver and loves to teach. They want to be a special education teacher one day, and at some point perform their love of the arts.

Demetrious is transgender and created a title for themself of “transmale androgynous”. This is because they are on the masculine side of gender, but is still extremely androgynous. Demetrious is chronically ill and two of their most debilitating disabilities are Ankylosing Spondylitis and Asthma. Demetrious has to deal with chronic illness every day and it is tough, but they will not give up. Chronic illness will not win.

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