Today is Purple Day. Purple Day is for those of us with epilepsy. Canadian Cassidy Megan started Purple Day in 2008 so that people throughout the world could connect with each other and transform how people saw us. I was 16 when I had my first seizure. Cassidy is still only 17.
When I was 16, I was encouraged to hide epilepsy. I did not have a camp or event… or color. Now, I see purple often, especially on days like today. I saw a purple flower at the first Camp Coelho summer camp I visited in 2009. It was in plain sight. It felt as if it were there for me.
Having a color means that I have people. I have people who have been there for me when I need them. They are like miracles. People love me when I feel that I am unloved. People encourage me when I feel that I can’t move forward. People remind me of my worth when I feel worthless. I was taught to find my voice after being taught to hide.
I find purple in the large smile of tiny Royalty
or a family I finally met in San Diego who were wearing the royal color.
In Washington D.C., I saw some old friends. One would not return for the next National Walk for Epilepsy. Some purple people disappear…
and become names on purple flags. While this is sad, it is important that we honor those we lost, especially as we walk past so many memorials during our National Walk.
It’s eerie walking past memorials knowing that we often pretend people with epilepsy do not die.
When we say that we are “unbreakable” it doesn’t mean that we will live forever. It means that some days we must fight more than other days. We are not afraid to fight… or, even if we are afraid, this fear won’t break us.
I love purple. I see it. I feel it and I hear it, even if it isn’t pure.
I love that I feel purple. Purple is a mixture of blue and red and a few other colors… it might be hazy or cool. (Perhaps you have heard that some people feel blue, or Taylor Swift sings about loving someone like Red.) Having a supportive community feels like Purple Rain poured over me, and as Neil Young might suggest, the feeling is better than silver and gold.