Sometimes I stumble upon quotes that rub me the wrong way.
They maybe beautiful and haunting but the concept itself may nag at me.
This was one of those quotes.
But I wrote it down and kept it in a special place.
I tend to believe that when I have a reaction to someone or something, it is a lesson
waiting to be learned.
At that time I didn't want my suffering to be beautiful. I wanted to stomp around in it and get mucky. Why did I need to rise above when pain was so set on tearing me apart?
Sure I liked to spite authority as much as the next person and surely Pain
was running the roost at that point. Yet the
wasn't enough to lure me into being cheerful
about my station in life.
I took that scrap of paper with our quote written on it and put it in my wallet, sometimes I would put it under my pillow and other I would tuck it into the soul of my shoe.
I was determined to figure out my relationship with chronic illness. It was a most interesting experience. I found that I sought understanding from others. I craved it more than chocolate.
I wanted the doctors to understand the pain and turmoil I went through at the hands of these illnesses. Yet understanding the psychology of my chronic life was not really par for their course. So I sought understanding from friends and family. However life being as experiential as it is, I never felt truly seen or understood there either.
It wasn't until I extended myself some grace and acknowledged my bewilderment at my circumstances that I began to feel things loosen up a bit. I found I had more ground to stand on. The earth didn't feel quite so shaky under my feet. Of course, it was natural to hope someone else could extend gentleness to me first. Compassion can be easier to try on in borrowed form first. Especially in western society where we try to push through illness and injury alike. We are not great at listening to the body as a teacher. Instead we are disconnected and try to tune it out on a whole. Anyone with chronic illness reading this knows exactly what I am referring to.
I did what we all do for the first few years. I made myself worse by soldiering through. I refused to believe that my body was the boss of me. When my blood panels would come back with dangerously low white blood cell counts, I would feel personally responsible. Half joking, I would tell my doctor that I should've studied more. We both knew that I took these tests to heart and felt failure when the results were poor. I blame the residual guilt on coming up in the New Age Era, where it was believed we manifest our illnesses and there is a reason for everything.
I do not subscribe to this thinking today.
In time, the hard places in me started softening. The edges that had been leaving sharp little cuts in my flesh, began to heal. I started with a community of one and listened to all that was difficult within. Overtime I found greater community in others with chronic illnesses. This changed my life entirely. It healed me to be there for someone else. It made me feel real to know others shared in my life experiences. I had been going it alone for so long and feeling so lonely that I had never imagined knowing connection on this level ever again.
I believe it was Friedrich Nietzsche who said: He who has a why can bear any how.
This was especially true for myself. It was not romantic love that brought me through the darkest times, nor was it familial love. Once I plugged into a community of like minded migraineurs, #Spoonies and those awaiting diagnosis, I came home to my cheerful authentic self.
The initial Aristotle quote made complete sense.
Feeling heard and understood is foundational for well-being.
This journey continues with every new #Royal I meet.
Thank you for being part of a community of support and being the change you want to see in the world. I am always humbled by the grace and perseverance each of you #royals embody.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here, to listen and to be of support to so many amazingly strong characters. Your interaction and experiences bless more people than you can imagine.
It really is a beautiful world we have.