I have a secret. Something that I’ve been carrying over half my life, and there’s not another person on the planet that knows it but me. Today, I want to share it. Why? It’s NOT because I have a big, burning desire for the world to know my business. But, because I’ve started to realize that there can be just as much power in sharing it, as I’ve felt like I’ve had in keeping it.
A little over half my lifetime ago, I got sick (beyond my regular handicap) and, even though there were tons of tests done, the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. As that had kind of been a recurring theme in my life, I was super frustrated by it, but not overly surprised. During this time, I was also attending college and trying to juggle school while dealing with this crazy…whatever it was.
Several rough months later, the illness left as mysteriously as it had arrived. But, even though it didn’t hang on for the rest of my life, it hung on just long enough to totally screw up my life! Because I was too sick to attend school, a couple of my professors actually failed me – even though I had all the medical paperwork to prove that I wasn’t just being a dumb, lazy kid. So, I never graduated, and I was too embarrassed at yet ANOTHER thing I couldn’t control about my health to tell anyone the real reason for my not going back to school. The truth is, I never quit! They just wouldn’t let me back in – and regardless of my efforts, I literally couldn’t do anything about it.
But, it’s been THE ultimate failure to me, whether I had any control over it or not. By not exposing the real reason, I felt like I had SOME control over at least something in my life. With all of the rest of my physical life under constant scrutiny by doctors and total strangers, I needed something to be nobody’s business but mine. As weird as it sounds, it’s sometimes easier to just let people draw their own conclusions (and there have been a million guesses!) than to have to sit and rehash it all over again and again to anyone who asks.
In my head, it doesn’t matter what my disability or illness is. It doesn’t matter where (or if!) I went to school. It doesn’t matter that I’m a stay-at-home mom or have some fabulous career. The point is – I’ve ALWAYS done what I can, regardless of anything thrown at me – and that’s enough for me. Shouldn’t it be that way for everyone?
My whole life has been one giant ‘figure it out’, and this challenge has been no different. If I can’t physically do something, it still needs to be done, so what’s the plan? I can’t sit back and constantly feel sorry for myself that my body won’t cooperate, or that I don’t have some magic paper telling the world I’m ‘smart enough’ to do such-and-such.
Life still goes on, and if I truly in my heart can’t do something, then it just plain doesn’t get done or the responsibility will have to fall on someone else to do it. It’s taken a long time for me to swallow my pride enough to ask people for help when I need it. But maybe, this particular struggle has been the way for me to realize that it’s okay to ask – and I think that’s pretty powerful, too.
It’s been a tough road, but the blessings from it have been immeasurable. I feel like I’ve learned FAR more than I would have, otherwise. I would NEVER have learned how to cook as much as I do now – let alone, grow my own food or learn all the different ways of preserving it. Domestic stuff and I have always been pretty much frenemies, ya know?! LOL
But, the point is, I figured it out! If I didn’t have the formal education and an awesome career with the equally awesome paycheck, then I needed to figure out how else to provide for my family. I had my babies by my choice, and it’s my responsibility to feed and take care of them. Not having a college degree was not my choice. But, moving forward and doing my best is.
I also NEVER would’ve learned how to grow a garden (let alone have a FaceBook group for home & garden ideas!) I’m sure my family just dies laughing every time they think of me in the beginning stages of my domestic journey. If there was ever a brown thumb, I had two of them! But, after a LOT of blood, sweat, and tears, I can do it now. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. I can personally tell you that there is a LOT more joy to be had when we suck it up and do the hard things! By learning these skills, I’ve gained a new, and every bit as powerful, independence – and it’s amazing to me!
With all of that said, I just want to encourage you. Keep trying. Keep pushing. Figure it out! If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that life rarely goes how we want it to. But, maybe, it can be better than we ever expected! YOU may very well not be able to do everything you want to do. But, maybe that’s a blessing in disguise? It truly is not the end of the world. Look around and see if there are other possibilities or directions you could explore. When one door closes, maybe it’s because a window needed opening. That’s okay, too! Check it out!! YOU CAN DO IT!