I used to struggle with constant guilt and feelings of shame for who I am. Who I have become. Like who I "am" is just not enough for everybody else. I fall short of what I want to be and I fall short of who I want to be for everybody around me.
Life can be rude sometimes, but it's funny how in all it's rudeness, its a magnificent teacher of all things good and true. When I found out that I could not carry a child, it was my first experience with life's rudeness. Life's brutal-ness. I was shaken to my core and felt like this insurmountable brick wall had been placed in the path of my future. Quite literally blocking everything that I'd ever wanted. How could this be???
I spent a long time at the base of that brick wall, crouched in the fetal position with my back, literally up against the wall. I was so shaken by the news that life. does. not. always. go. the. way. you. want. it.to.go.
Not only was I devastated. But more than anything, I was ashamed of who I was. I ashamed that my poor husband had an infertile wife, I was ashamed that I could not bear grandchildren for my parents and his parents. I was ashamed that my sister had to carry my child for me. I was ashamed that my parents would have to tell their friends that their daughter was infertile and that the other daughter was carrying her baby. I was ashamed that I couldn't breast feed. I was ashamed that my husband would never experience the "belly" or maternity photos in white airy dresses on covered bridges. Y'all I could go on, but you get the point.
Pain is an amazing teacher though. It hurt until I grew from it., As time went on and I started to look my shame and guilt in the face and say, "Look, you are who you are. Take it or leave it People. Stop apologizing for who you Are." It was only then that the seemingly insurmountable brick wall started to just... fade away. Sometimes I remember it- in all it's glory. So big. So huge. So unyielding. I wonder if I had imagined it. I wonder if it was never even there at all. If it was all in my head. I think about the time I wasted in front of that wall that was maybe not even there and I wish I had done it differently. I wish I could talk sense into my younger self and get back that time. But then I also think that I must have needed it. I must have needed that time to learn that lesson.
Fast forward, to 36- this past year, as I was finally diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis (immune system attacking joints). I had to start humira injections- Yes, you've seen the commercials. Humira is a scary drug to be on. I'm well aware. It was another brutal hit. I'm only 36! How can this be happening??? What will my future look like? The feelings of shame started to rush in once again. Guilt for my husband ending up with an infertile, and now- arthritic dud-of-a-wife. My poor daughter, with a mommy that is limited physically. My parents who worry about me and want to fix it. I was once again faced with a brick wall in my path.
However this time was different. I cannot tell you that I cleared the wall with a single bound. Or that it quickly faded away when faced with my newfound strength and bravery. I spent some time with my back up against it again. I did some crying, some begging and pleading. Some cursing...
But then I got up and I made a choice to get on with it. I looked at myself in the mirror and I said, "You are you. And that's enough." I took the damn humira injection. I got my life back. My joints are better than they've been in months. I can live a more mobile life than I had ever expected- Infact, most days, I feel pretty much pain free (flares are few and far between). I am aware of the risks of the medication I'm on, but I choose to live now- right here. I want quality in my life. I want to live my best life. I don't want to look back later and wish I'd just gotten on with it and enjoyed my life.
That brick wall still makes an occasional appearance. Sometimes I have a setback. But now I know to expect them. This is life y'all. Expect the setbacks. But now I also expect the comebacks. I believe in the comebacks and I believe in myself. I can honestly say that I'm not ashamed of who I am today. In all my brokenness, I am whole. I am me. And that's Enough.