There was a time when I didn’t know how—or if— I would be. And by if I mean: would I function? Would I even exist? I was so sick. So sick in fact, that it changed who and what I am today. It changed everything. I want to share in that… because it’s a current thought rolling through my mind..
I often feel weird sharing thoughts on my past and current illness. Honestly, I’m tired– oh so incredibly tired of even hearing myself talk about it. But over and over again I feel the need to explain myself to people.
I was once someone else.
This is me now.
In my life story, there is and will always be a very real before and after that occurred the year I turned thirty. Yes, if I dive hard enough into ‘the before and after‘ thought, I can debate myself, “but there are other before and afters moments of your life too— there was a *you before motherhood*– and a *you now*. But: I shifted through motherhood. There were steps I took forward, passing and growing through time. And like the other big milestones and hard moments in my life: I developed.
With sudden illness there were no steps, no slow development. There was a drastic replacement of who I was, who I could become, and the person I was forced into. No time for shifting. No grace period. The person I was, substituted with the person I am now. Lesser.
And so to each new person in my life I explain, I was once someone else. Something happened. This is me now. An internal feeling of “You would have liked me before. Please forgive me. I am not my best self. I could be better. I should be better.” An internal begging, a plea of “Please accept this broken version of myself. I am healing.”
I used to be braver. I used to be stronger. I used to be funny. I used to be happier. I used to be FUN. I used to be motivated. I used to be witty and quick. I used to be capable… able, less needy. I used to be creative. I used to be reliable. I used to be confident. I used to be… me.
I am healing. And this is me now.
(please forgive me).
I was once in a place where I felt I was becoming everything I was capable of… and more. I felt able. I felt strong. I felt confident and focused. I was a perfectionist creating the life I wanted for myself. My home, my family, my career. I was setting goals… and better yet: I was reaching them. But then illness came. No grace period. No transition.
This is me now.
I’ve lost myself. I have ideas but no goals. Needs but no wants. Every idea has been consumed with the vision of healing. Today, I wonder if I’ll even be able to live up to the former version of myself.
And from experience, I can very confidently tell you: you’ll never know how capable you are, until you become the lesser version of yourself.
In the beginning of illness, I wanted to feel good again. I wanted to find health. I wanted to feel like the person I was before I got sick. But as years passed and time changed, I’ve came to understand: that person is gone. And what I was left with was an often feeling: lesser version of myself. A person who is healing.
I am person who needs to learn how to grow again. A new person. Someone who must create a new path based around the body and energy I now carry. I joke: “My body hates me”. And I catch myself and then I pull back. Negative self talk? I know better. My body loves me. I need to not only love it back, but show it. Stop with the negative self talk. Who is the joke humoring? Who is benefiting? Not myself. Stop it. Your mind is listening. It’s always listening. Change the internal conversation.
I am healing. My body does not hate me. My body is trying. I am trying. I am trying so hard. With everything. Not only with myself but in every aspect of my life, I’m hyper focused in being better. The perfectionist that has always lived inside me is over-stepping. I know better.
Alex tells me, “you live with a fear of dying”. He’s right. “And now that voice tells you that nothing is enough, because you’re on a timer and you know your timer is running out.” He’s right again. At one point that fear kept me alive. It kept me going and growing. Today that fear stands in my way.
I cried when we got to a church in the middle of nowhere, Uayma. Not exploding dramatic tears. Not even whimpering tears. The burn your eyes feeling that creeps in when an emotion finds you. For me, it was the feeling overwhelming joy. At one point in time before illness this place, Uayma, was a goal. An image found. A treasure hunt. And a plan to one day find this hidden gem. Then sickness came and it felt like an intangible dream. An image to look at, to hope for, but a reminder that I might in fact never make even my simpler dreams come true. Forget the big picture, the big goals, a reminder that the little moments I wanted were out of reach too.
But at some point I healed enough to get out of bed. I healed enough to travel again. I healed enough to spend more than a week feeling better, feeling okay. And at some point following, Mexico came. Time away and making goals, even smalls ones, come to life. Our car reached this church and the tears came in.
A small victory in healing.
The problem in my healing is that this is who I am now. I’m healing. But what else? This month, this week, today, more than ever before I’m realizing that I lost myself. I’m tired of healing. I want to be stronger, capable, quick and witty, fun, motivated… happy. I want to be… myself.
I know I wont be the person I was before. But I don’t want to feel like a lesser version of who I was either. I don’t want “healing” to be who I am—- I want it to be the part of my story that has moved into the past-tense. I want who I am now to be a list of qualities beyond “healing” and “determined to heal.”
And so now, I silence my pleas and quiet the internal begging for forgiveness. (Or I try to). Because who I was then, does not change who I am now. I have to find myself again. I have to create myself again. I have to be someone beyond healing. I have to believe it.
Because this, no matter what I choose to believe– or especially what I choose to believe, is who I am now.
From here I can develop. Yes, I am healing.
But I am also someone who can be braver, stronger, funnier, happier, more fun, motivated, witty… and quick, more capable… able, less in need, more creative, more reliable, and more confident.
Because this is who I am now.
I am me. And I am growing.