I can’t remember exactly when it was…
One of my sisters was getting ready for her third or was it the fourth parade that summer as Queen of such and such. (It seemed as one or the other was always crowned ‘something!’) The other was helping her primp. I was just sitting at the table watching all the frenzied crowns, gowns, and sash adjustments. My mother turned to me and said, “Well, you didn’t get the looks, but you got the brains.”
I didn’t realize at the time that those words were a gift. Those words meant I could do anything! Be anything! I just couldn’t be ‘pretty.’ To a teenage girl, I admit those words stung at the time.
I have two sisters and three brothers. I guess they are all brilliant in their own way. I must have some sort of brilliance within me by default? I mean, I came from the same genetic pool they did.
So I grew into adulthood and knew I had to use my brains to get somewhere in this world! Obviously, I couldn’t rely on my looks or lack thereof. My mom burst that bubble while I was still young enough to do something about it. Funny how I now look back at that as a defining moment. I appreciate those words now.
So I learned to hustle! I learned how to learn. I was hungry for success and never stopped until I met my goal. I wrote many posts about my life before I became chronically ill. Most of you might remember reading the “Before I Tripped Over a Stone” series. Life was never dull for me.
When you are raised to be a ‘do’er’ and that gets taken away from you, your identity suffers in crisis. Who are you if you can’t do what you know how to do? What good are you to anyone? Do you have any worth now that you are broken? Devastation sets in…
We can approach this devastation in one of two ways. The first way is to fight back with everything you have inside you. The second way is just giving up. How does that look? How will you feel about yourself if you just give up? Certainly nothing ‘pretty’ about that! Let’s not give up. We will fight!
There is one crucial thing you must do while you are engaged in battle. Many of us have not or could not stop long enough to say goodbye to our previous selves. We are so busy fighting! We simply forgot to say goodbye and grieve for the part of our selves we lost to our illness. We need to say goodbye to the person we were, grieve that person for as long as it takes, then welcome the person that we are now, even in our broken state.
Anything can change the periphery of our lives in an instant! In one hot second, you can go from life to death, healthiness to illness, rich to poor. In a moment, life can change. In a moment, life usually does change.
Who is this new person staring at you every morning in the mirror? Are they kind? Are they a warrior? Are you caring for this new you? Are you kind to your new self? Do you realize you get to live two lifetimes in this one life…?
Have you grieved?