“I miss who you were”.
Someone told me this the other day, and I wasn’t quite sure how to take it. I know that it was said with good intentions, and I get it, because I miss my pain-free, bubbly self too. But at the end of the day when one is diagnosed with a chronic illness, it’s important to accept that they will never again be “who they were.”
My illness is not a bump in the road on life’s journey. It’s a part of me. Forever.
Sometimes we have these painful seasons in our lives that don’t ever seem to end. So long sometimes, that it seems like it’s not a season, but it’s forever. As California native, I never had an appreciation for the seasons until I moved to Colorado. I can appreciate each one much more now that there’s a never-ending rotation of change. We are allowed to have a favorite season, but there’s always the opportunity to find joy and wonder within our least favorite months.
Do I wish that I could fast forward to a place where this pain would go away and my body would behave like it was designed to? Of course. But the things I have learned about myself over these past few months would never have come to me without going through this time. It’s inspired me to write, advocate and educate. It’s inspired me to learn how this body I’ve taken for granted for so long actually works. I’ve grown monumentally in ways that will impact me for the rest of my life.
Who we are is where we are now in this moment. We aren’t defined by what most of our life looked like, or what we hope it could be. It’s right here, right now. Instead of focusing on what a challenging time has taken from you, focus on what you have gained.
We do our best growing in our off-seasons, and emerge into the next ready to burst into bloom.
This post originally appeared on Living the High Life. It has been reprinted with permission.