Approximately once every other month or so, I allow myself to go into a total mental breakdown about the state of my health and body. I jokingly refer to it as my bi-monthly breakdown. I am a fairly emotionally stable person, and I owe it in large part to the fact that I think it’s okay to occasionally feel sorry for myself. Is that pathetic? Absolutely not. Life is hard, and everyone has their struggles. If I refused to acknowledge my own struggle, not only would I be lying to myself, but I would be denying myself the opportunity to reflect and heal, as well as build strength.
Think of it as an emotional piggy bank of sorts. Each time I have a new flare or health-related upset, I put a coin in the piggy bank. Typically, within a couple of months, the bank begins to overflow and I cash it in for a good, solid cry. It is rejuvenating and I always feel 10x lighter after each breakdown.
So how does this seemingly masochistic semi-ritual of mine relate to building strength?
To me, strength is not about gritting your teeth and bearing pain with a straight face. It is not about silently tucking your pain away so that no one can see it. It is not about ignoring your pain. In fact, to me, strength is about embracing your pain. It is about allowing yourself to feel the pain, and then continuing to fight in spite of it. Strength is defined by the choice to keep fighting each day.
A beautiful thing about my disease is that it has trained me to be a fighter. After having to fight what felt like a losing battle for my life, it feels as though there is no endeavor too great for me. Whenever I encounter a challenge of any kind, my brain immediately begins developing a battle plan. I no longer know any other way.
My disease has made me a warrior.
I found this bracelet here, and when I sent a photo of it to my best friend, she immediately insisted upon buying it for me, without any hesitation. She knew how important the word warrior was to me, and she wanted me to have a constant reminder of my triumph over my health, as well as my continued will to fight. I am grateful that this bracelet not only represents my fight, but also my support system that has armed me with love and encouragement from the beginning.
This is what the packaging says:
“Remember that true glory is in rising every time you fall. Let this band be your reminder that you are so strong, so fearless, so powerful. You are a warrior, stronger than you have ever been.”
Every single day, I grow stronger. Because every single day, I continue to fight.