You know, the part that I’ve struggled with the most about writing this week’s entry isn’t that I can’t think of anything positive to say (if anything I actually have too many positive things to say…). No, the problem that I’m having is that I can’t think of something positive to say that isn’t terribly cliché. Not that cliché is a bad thing… more that I want you to really believe me and cliché doesn’t exactly encourage belief.
I could tell you about how I’ve gained huge amounts of compassion and empathy for other people going through struggles in their lives, or I could tell you how I’ve learnt to listen to what my body is telling me – a skill that would benefit even the healthiest of people. I could tell you that I’ve gained an appreciation for the things that I can do and how I used to take many more things for granted. Maybe I could write about how I now believe in myself more, because I’ve seen just how strong I really can be. But doesn’t it all just sound so cliché? So easy for you to read and push aside with a comment along the lines of “yeah, whatever”, or “ha yeah, lucky for you”, maybe even “well, yeah obviously – that’s what everyone says”. And it doesn’t matter how much I tell you that I really feel these things or how much I try to convince you that I’m just an average person living an average life, you simply won’t believe me. Or at least, you won’t believe that this could also apply to you. Simply because it is cliché. You’ve heard it all before, and doesn’t it just sound so wonderful…
The truth is, being chronically ill sucks. I know. And trying to find positives sounds cliché in itself, like something a therapist might tell you to do. But honestly, those therapists have a point. I’m not about to tell you that being chronically ill is wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for a thing. That would be bullshit. Obviously, if I could trade this body in for one even slightly healthier, I would. That’s not the point. I’m not here to deny that chronic illness is crap, I’m just here to tell you that it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Again, I know, easy for me to say right? I can still work a full time job. I can still go to dance lessons and flute lessons and help with the groceries. I can still go to the concert that I’ve been soooooo excited about, or walk down the road and catch the train into the city. I realise that if you are bed bound and can’t even handle having your curtains open because the light is too much, that coming from me, positives might sound a little far fetched, but I truly do believe that no matter how awful your situation is right now, something good will come from it. Even if that good is the tiniest little stupid thing, and even if that thing is something that would be far more pleasant to learn through other means. Sometimes life doesn’t teach lessons the way we’d like it to.
I actually have a tattoo down my forearm to remind me of this. On one side it says, “Beauty speaks without a sound” and on the other arm it simply says, “silence”. I got these tattoos to represent my struggle with depression and to remind myself that even when you are in the deepest darkest hole and it seems so dark that you can’t see anything and the silence is so loud that you can’t hear anything, beauty can still shine through. Beauty comes from inside you (cliché again, I know, sorry) and it doesn’t need light, sound, or a physical, touchable presence to exist. If you look for it, you WILL find it. I tattooed these on my forearms as my defence, my answer to the world, a little something that says whatever crap life throws my way – I am absolutely ready to block it.
So I’ve gone waaay off topic here, but I think what I’m trying to say is that there are a lot of positives and a lot of negatives and chronic illness or no chronic illness, I think that’s just how life goes.
How do you remind yourself to look for the good in situations?
This post is Part 3 of 52 in the series – A Year of Growth. The series is a celebration of the first anniversary of The Truth About M.E and is designed to help me grow through my illness throughout my second year of blogging. I look forward to having you along for the journey!