Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who Did I Think I Was!?

I look back on my life before being diagnosed. I sit and I try to remember the days of playing sports with my kids and dancing with my husband and just walking tall and proud. I knew so much about so little back then. I wasn't a bad person by any means. But I was a misguided one.

I thought my beauty was found in my clothes, my makeup, and  hair. I spoke eloquently and I was oh so very educated. I didn't think anyone was beneath me, I just didn't think much of it. I mean as long as I knew who I was, I was fine. I mean I did know who I was, right?

Not at all. I had no idea who I was back then. The main reason I say this is because now after dealing with so much loss and pain and going through revelation after revelation. I realize, I was weaker then. I was less concerned then. I was dishonest to myself back then. I just knew that I had it all figured out. I never left any room for error. The idea of one day not being able to walk was not ever a consideration. I was just too good. I had done so much right that my chances of getting sick were slim, I mean aside from the flu.

I could blame a lot of that on being young. I could say that I just had not experienced enough in my life to be cautious of the unknown. I could say my parents sheltered me and made me think nothing bad happened to good girls. I could say all of that and I would be lying. The truth is I really never imagined myself as disabled. I saw disabled people and I thought, "Wow, I feel sorry for them." I never really imagined how they got that way. I am not sure I even realized debilitating illness could be a reason they were disabled.

I was naive in so many ways. I thought I had planned my future pretty well. But I never had a WHAT IF plan!!!! I never thought that that young woman in that scooter in the mall could be me. I never thought that the lady whose kids were pushing her in the wheelchair at the soccer game may have Multiple Sclerosis. I never said, "Valrie, what if that was you?"

Now some people may say, "I refuse to live my life with a what if, or what could happen plan." It is almost like you are predicting or asking for something bad to happen. But it really isn't. It is just like having a 401K or a savings plan. You plan and save for the future. You have intentions on doing something somewhere down the road with the money so you hold on to it and you plan.

The same can be said for illness. If I had thought about what may or could happen down the road with my health I would have planned better. I would have done things in a less carefree way. I would have eaten differently and exercised more. I would have listened closer to my body. But I can admit that back then I thought I was invincible. It goes along with being young.

We have to realize that a great deal of the time we can prepare for the unknown, if that makes sense. Just by paying more attention to ourselves internally and worrying less about what the world see's. I would never tell a 21 year old woman to live life on pins and needles. But I would tell her to listen to her body, take time to enjoy every moment. Be kind for no reason at all. I would tell her to ask yourself every once in awhile when you see someone hurting, struggling, or disabled,"What if that was me?"

If I could go back 20 years I know I would tell myself all these things. But I would also tell myself, "You are going to go through a lot but trust me, if you pay attention now, you will love yourself in the future. Everything about you, not just bits and pieces."

WE do not know what road our lives will take. So we have to live free but live prepared for the curves and the twist and the turns. Who knows you may live 100 years effortlessly or you may be 41 like me and look back and say, "Wow.....who did I think I was?"


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