“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
It is no secret that I have been have a very troublesome few months. With or without chronic pain, we are all going to face huge challenges that try to tear us apart. The only difference is for those who do have chronic pain, those life challenges are much more taxing and painful on the body than those without this invisible illness. As I was writing out a grocery list yesterday evening after my two year old fell asleep, I said out loud: “I do not know how I keep going. How is it possible that with everything going on around me I am able to wake up each morning and keep trucking on?” I honestly started thinking it was La La (my grandmother who passed) who is literally keeping me strong. I took my little girl to Sesame Place for Halloween this past Saturday despite the fact that I was struggling and having a difficult day without much sleep. I did not want to go. I wanted to just lay down and forget everything and watch reality TV all day. However, I made her a promise that we would see her “friends” Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Abby for Halloween. This was the last weekend the amusement park was celebrating one of my favorite holidays. Clearly, I took her and Abby’s “haunted maze” was the highlight of this little angel’s day. I had to truly use my mantra more than ever this day: “Fake it, till you make it.” I made it. We did not stay long as we usually do and Kayci was a great sport about not staying the seven plus hours she has grown accustomed to. Ok, lets be honest I love it as much as her. I have the soul of a child and even forget that this is not Abby from Sesame Street but a costume over some college student in the area who is probably in there cursing his or her head off.
Many years ago when I would probably be going out drinking with friends at night to “forget” all my problems, which only makes everything worse if you are me at least. Two years ago, I would have gone to my doctor for pain medicine as it was solely my choice to manage chronic pain naturally. I have done nothing of the sort and it occurred to me last night, I never would. I started thinking: who am I? How am I doing this every day? What is pushing me through this. I looked at Kayci and realized it was her as I had a very hard childhood and never want her to have a mom who isn’t one hundred percent there for her and clear minded. However, it is more than that. I cannot imagine and honestly will not imagine life with pre:K (pre Kayci.) Yes, she gives me strength and now I understand how a mother is able to lift up an entire car to save her child as I would literally do anything for my daughter. But, I also love myself deep down. I do not want to hurt myself by doing anything to numb any emotional or physical pain. I was the definition of insanity when shit got bad in my life: go out with friends, get drunk, pass out, be depressed times ten the next day. That is just not who I am anymore. I have cried more in front of Kayci than I would want to. I have not been great at potty training because so many much larger things are happening, and she still grabs that damn binky during the day. But, I am doing the very best I can. I have a new job that I began yesterday, I practice yoga each morning, and most of all take care of my little girl.
There is no strength like the strength that a mother has. There is also no strength like the strength of anyone with chronic pain. Life throws us a lot of curve balls that try and destroy us. We keep going. We find that strength. Even those times you say: “I cannot do this anymore! I just cannot. I am done with everything.” You wake up and you try again until you reach a point where the ocean has calmed down. You look back at your one liner journal and say: Wow, I made it through that?! We always ask: “How am I going to get through this.” The realization is we do not know how but with strength, we always do.