It breaks my heart that our value and self worth seems to be directly tied to what we are “doing with our lives” and the fact that we are “not” the people we once were.
It appears that the inability to do the things we “used to do” or the fact that we are now “differently-abled” and not what “society” views as “normal” has a way of stripping us of our dignity, stealing our joy, our hope and sometimes we even question our Faith.
Why has God done this to me? What do I do now? What is going to happen to me?
“I am not the woman he married, I am certain he will wise up and leave soon” or
“Eventually those I love are going to get sick of my shit and am I going to die alone”
This is just a sample of the feelings and questions that those of us who live with chronic pain and illness battle with every day.
We have seen our bodies change through no fault of our own.
We have watched the decline and we had no way of stopping it.
We know what we were capable of then, and what we are able to do now, and for some of us, that is a tough reality to grasp.
We are of sound mind, we are fully functional and ready to enjoy every aspect of life and yet our body has betrayed us.
We are different.
In some ways we don’t know ourselves anymore.
The futures we planned out for ourselves changed abruptly and we don’t know what comes next.
Are we scared?
Are we insecure?
Are we depressed?
We have the right to feel our feelings, process what’s happening and sometimes these feelings will last for moments, days, months and years.
I believe we have to honor those feelings.
Don’t stuff them down because of what society says.
Society is not looking in your mirror everyday.
Society is not helping you to re-learning certain tasks.
Society is not helping you recreate your life.
You have to come to terms with the changes.
You have to learn to live with the many changes your illness or disability brings.
You have to recreate your life.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it…
You are in the drivers seat.
You can still win this race. The course may look different, the road may be slick, there may be days you need to regroup and map out other ways to get there, but the journey is yours to navigate through and the victory at the finish line and sense of accomplishment is ALL YOURS and no one else’s!
What do we do now?
How do we learn to love the person we have become?
How do we mourn the person we lost and embrace the incredible person we are becoming?
How do we stop blaming God for the “circumstances” and make sure he remains in the “details?”
Well I can’t stand it when someone spews all kinds of inspirational jargon then fails to give a solution so I am going to share a bit of my life with you and what I believe.
Eleven years ago at age 36, I battled Breast Cancer.
Due to the aggressiveness of the cancer, the surgeries and mistakes that were made, I have no breasts, no chest muscles, my chest wall is disfigured and I’m left with awful 24/7 pain and different-abilities that have changed my life.
I am YOU!
This post is as much about me recreating my life, as it is about my beautiful friends who call me, text me and Facebook message me wanting love, support and answers to end their pain and help them move on.
So here goes…
Time, Love, Support, Faith in God, Understanding and Acceptance, No condemnation and Freedom!
I believe time heals. I believe time gives us perspective, allows us to relax, regroup and rebuild.
We need down time to process whats happened to us. This may mean we need to stop working and take some time for ourselves. Or we might want to make time for ourselves in the midst of working and life. We need to spend time with ourselves in prayer, journaling, walking, resting and just allowing ourselves to stop for a while, regroup and breathe.
We are all guilty of berating ourselves, making fat jokes, promising to start eating better or condemning ourselves in private. No one is perfect we are all hiding something.
I believe we need to fully LOVE who we have become, illness or disfigurement and all.
I once stood naked in front of a mirror. I closed my eyes, took my fingers and followed my scars all over my chest. With my eyes closed I felt the destruction, the bumps and cuts, they were war wounds; I was a Warrior Princess who fought and won. I felt empowered, strong and courageous.
When I opened my eyes I saw the battleground and it terrified me, I broke out into uncontrollable tears but I was still that Warrior Princess, I was just seeing myself through different lenses.
I believe if we would truly view ourselves as God sees us, we could love ourselves unconditionally and I believe it is that kind of unconditional love we need to heal.
I believe we all need a strong support system. We need people in our lives who we are certain will love us through anything and we need to believe that fully. We have days where we are joyful at 8:00 am and a royal bitch by 2:00 pm. We are human and pain grates on you and some days you can only take so much. We may need to talk to an unbiased person, get into therapy, pray with a close friend or confide in someone. Family, friends, spouses, children or best friends, we need people who will not berate us but instead empower us, people who believe in us and who will support us no matter what. I believe with a strong support system the mountains are just waiting to be moved.
FAITH IN GOD:
I can do nothing without my Faith in my precious Lord. My life has had many ups and many downs and each time I was falling he caught me. The only times I felt lost in the desert was when I ran away and was lost in the desert. He may not answer when you call, he may not write the answers on your fridge, he may not text or Facebook you with his plan for your life BUT he will send support, he will put people in your life who love and honor you, he will always comfort you when you cry, he will never leave you IF you allow him into your heart and into your life.
The pain is some days so unbearable and sometimes all I have is God and God is all I need. I scream out to him and beg for him to hold me and as long as I wake up the next day then we did good. Love on him, pray to him and allow him into your heart and he will never let you go.
UNDERSTANDING and ACCEPTANCE:
YOU need to understand and accept that you have changed, you are different, and this is your life now. You can chose which direction your future goes but fighting the past and what happened will only keep you stuck in yesterday and it will only set you back. Once we understand and accept what happened and where we are, we can finally move forward and start the healing process.
Get it all out of your system. Scream, yell, cry, bitch, whine, curse and let it all out. This could take a while so embrace where you are in this process and let it all out!
Then you enter the No Condemnation Zone. You were perfectly made by God. He chose every hair on your head and purposely made you different, unique and special. We were not meant to look alike and no matter the circumstances you have a cheerleader in God. He doesn’t view you any differently so you shouldn’t either.
Words hurt, we all have anger, sharp tongues and bad attitudes but we don’t need to hear that kind of smut and lies from our own mouths when referring to ourselves.
Make yourself a priority, no condemnation, no hurtful words, and no self-abuse!
It is time to run like someone left the gate open. To figure out who you are now, what you enjoy, what you want to do with the rest of your life. Your disabilities are badges of honor; your pain is a launching pad for greatness! We cannot let pain rule us! It is up to you how you choose to manage your pain, there are various ways, not everyone agrees on one way and some days it won’t work but “we may live with chronic pain but we will not live for it!”
Aren’t you important too? Don’t you want to enjoy the days God have you? So take back your life, get up, get out and feel the wind in your face and the taste of freedom.
No chains, no condemnation, nothing holding you back but you.
You are talented, beautiful, strong, courageous and full of life.
You have dreams, goals, wants, needs and a plan for your life.
Don’t let your circumstances become your legacy!
I Believe in YOU!
I Believe God does NOT make mistakes.
I Believe God has a plan for ALL our lives and I Believe this hiccup in the game of life is just a detour to greater things.
I Believe pain sucks but with courage and determination it can propel us forward.
I Believe we all have the ability to create a beautiful life for ourselves no matter what the hurdles, IF we truly want it.
I Believe that we are valuable and worthy no matter what our different-abilities are and that we should NOT define ourselves by what we are “doing with our lives” or the fact that we are “not” the people we once were. Thank God I am not the person I once was. I didn’t always like the person I was and God is allowing me to grow and I am so grateful for that!
I Believe that society needs to get its nose out of my business!
We all need to stop thinking about how others view us and start loving ourselves for the courageous Warrior Princesses and Warrior Princes that we are!
I am not Normal!!!
I am freaking spectacular and no one has any right to steal my joy or hope anymore!
This is my journey; this is my chance to run like someone left the gate open.
Pain, different-abilities and disfigurement, they have changed me and they have made me who I am.
I am grateful, I am loved, I am blessed and I am on the ride of my life!
There is plenty of room on this bus, are you coming along?
Gods abundant blessings to you and your families.
I get you, I pray you will find peace, joy, hope and write the ending to your own story.
Now lets ROCK THIS LIFE!