It’s invisible disabilities week.. a week focused on making those who feel invisible.. visible. A week to highlight and spread awareness on battles most never face or see. I am a proud member of the invisible disability club..I personally have been diagnosed with multiple invisible disorders or medically deemed disabilities…most of these I didn’t even know existed until they resided inside of my body and brain..most I can’t even pronounce. To be apart of this club.. you have to develop some pretty tough skin..you have to let the phrase..you look fine.. just roll off your back. You have to look past when others question.. are your struggles and health fights truly there or do you just need attention?? Sadly in life.. seeing is believing.. and for our club this makes the fight a little harder. You deal with some backlash.. when one day you can do things and then the next you can’t get out of bed.. you cancel a lot and at times lose friends and family because in their opinion you can’t just let it go and move on..they question why you are stuck on this and can’t move forward.. but the thing is this.. this is our life.. there is no moving past what is dwelling inside.. as much as we would love to not be stuck here..it isn’t our choice..as much as we hate to have our health dictate our lives.. it does..we have to listen to our bodies and accept a life and road we never wanted to travel on. Sometimes when you are stuck in the fog.. you get focused on your personal fights and forget to look around and realize there are others out there living this life just as you are. You may not have the same diagnosis or your club membership card doesn’t look the same.. but none the less.. they are traveling a journey they never thought they would have too.. they are grieving the old them.. they are stuck in between the world that existed and now exists.. trying too navigate just how to make it minute to minute and salvage the old to combine with the new. My dear friend Kara belongs to this club..her life has been forever changed and most will never even realize to what magnitude. Kara has multiple chemical sensitivity.. the world she lived in was turned upside down.. it turned into a world that she couldn’t exist in for that world could lead to numerous setbacks.. hospitalizations and as scary as it sounds take her out of our world. Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is her bodies reaction to all chemicals.. perfumes..products and lotions used on a daily basis by us all. It’s a disability that leads to overwhelming reactions to these products as well as smoke.. exhaust from cars and cleaning products. Being exposed to these items and environmental exposure to them..can compromise her health and immune system on multiple levels. Every outing.. every interaction with any human..any environment..impacts her health and triggers multiple symptoms. I can’t imagine the fear and anxiety attached to this struggle..giving your friend a hug can lead to a hospitalization and long road back to her baseline. Kara has always been the life of the party or any occasion.. her laugh alone sparks a chain reaction of endless smiles and laughter. Kara has always been one friend that is there for you in every single way..always present.. always excited to celebrate her family and friends. Kara has always been the most amazing and influential teacher.. loved by her students and colleagues..always involved and compassionate about those she felt honored to teach and work with .. she has won countless awards and been praised for her amazing role in her students lives. Kara is a hardcore athlete..not many want to face her on the golf course. These things that have defined her and enriched her life.. now have taken a toll on her health and forced her to walk away from a huge part of her heart and being. Kara is still that amazing teacher.. she teaches me daily how to get up and deal with a shitty hand.. how to make the most of each day and to always look on the bright side. Kara is still that hardcore athlete.. she battles.. braves snd beats this disability every single day! At times on my own journey I have felt alone.. misunderstood.. isolated.. but I could always meet up with a friend and work through it. Kara however does not have this luxury..a freshly showered friend or the detergent on their clothes could wipe her out and force her to lose days. Going to the grocery store for Kara is like stepping into a war zone.. I can’t imagine needing a gallon of milk and the fear and anxiety that is attached to something most of us don’t even think twice about. The grocery store.. the gas station.. school events could literally make it unable for her to breathe. I may never understand all she faces or feels.. but I see her..we all are very capable of seeing Kara and seeing others who look great but internally fight a war we never will. For a long time I just saw life through the eyes of my disability.. I couldn’t see past the fog to get another’s walk. So today..this week.. the week to promote invisible disability awareness and education..I find myself looking outside of the fog to try harder to understand and support those that feel alone.. invisible and exhausted from this life long battle. We may not have joined this club for the same reason..but everyone deserves to be supported and encouraged with all they face. Kara is still the beautiful.. strong.. hilarious friend she has always been.. it is my responsibility to take the precautions to bring the party to her. It takes a second to educate ourselves to give those we love a sense of security and stability. It takes a second to see another.. to see the road laid out before them and to make that road a easier road to travel! I will never forget the friend that found her way to my hospital bed.. who filled the room with laughter and light when I didn’t even feel like laughing or opening my eyes. I know we both didn’t choose this.. I know we both wish life didn’t lead us here.. but my friend..I am happy to be in this club with you.. I am happy to get the chance to watch you climb and conquer..and I feel blessed every time you give me a hug.. for I know what that could do to you..true friendship.. one sacrificing themselves just to make sure you know you are loved and not alone. Let’s look past ourselves and our battles to reach out to all those that are trying to just get through the day as best as they can! Invisible… visible.. disabled..not disabled.. recovered.. remission.. actively fighting..we all can take the time and steps to acknowledge.. empathize..include and support those that are trying to accept changes and regain independence and better days! Hey Kara.. you got this..thank you for once again teaching me about your journey and thank you even more for letting me be apart of your beautiful story! And for the record seeing is not believing..believing is seeing! 💚
My brain is running a mile a minute.. if only those runs burned calories. I guess in many ways my brain runs are shedding dead weight and processing through what needs to be dropped..let go..reformed and configured. Today was a day.. but it was the day.. I realized for too long I gave control to things and people who never even deserved the right to consume my thoughts.. my way of life.. and rob me of my identity. Too often we lose who we are.. whether through trauma.. loss..pain.. hardships or others words or actions. We stop believing that we are without limitations.. for this is our life and we have the choice and power to steer our own ship and sail to wherever our heart desires. We are capable of becoming who we want to be and we are capable of loving who we are on that destination. No one should determine or rob you of this right or power. We deserve to know and recognize our strengths and we alone get to recognize our faults and work on them as we choose. We feed into other’s darkness.. we internalize their hurt and we let them break us down for self gain and control.. but with that being said.. we alone have the power to recognize we have the strength to overcome and fight every evil act put upon us.. every haunting action and soul shattering word that crushed our souls and lead us to believe who and what we are. We alone have the tenacity to dig the deepest we ever have before and make the stance you will not control me with the manipulative seeds you planted that fester in my brain and body.. you don’t have the right to kill who I am.. take away all that makes me.. me! Eleanor Roosevelt said.. no one can make you inferior without your consent… those words.. that ideal is true for us all. When you find yourself lost and broken realize.. you are your hero.. you can break any chain that binds you to any soul and body breaking pain. You no longer have to accept limitations bc others have placed them on you. We must always find freedom in the choice of choosing who we are and what we are capable of.. we find freedom in knowing no one can break you but yourself… we find peace in knowing we don’t have to accept a life we never wanted.. we can rise each day and decide and recreate who we are.. a person strong and unbreakable for they know and always know.. they have themselves for any battle and they are unstoppable bc they said so and believe so. Never let anyone mold..form or compromise who you are..never give into the norm or what is expected of you..make a decision every single day to become who you are proud of. Figure out what you like..fall as many times as possible trying to achieve this.. climb every single day..not for anyone else but for you. Realize your child is watching your example and forming who they are.. realize your journey impacts theirs and the best gift you can give them is you…a strong.. confident.. badass.. who is unwilling to sacrifice themselves or compromise themselves for others expectations and social norms. Be you.. and take any steps required to reach this personal Utopia. Cut out all that hurts you and puts standards and defines you! You get to decide who you are and what you want..so wake every day with eyes that see the best in the world and others.. but also eyes that see the best in you and celebrate and embrace this daily! Love deeply and give out as much love as you can.. but remember to love yourself first.. for that love will grow deeper and be more powerful if it comes from a pure and strong source. And above all.. remember every day.. every minute.. every second is another chance to create the life you deserve and love.
I lately have found myself taking steps back..not going in the wrong direction or heading backwards on my journey. Not being pushed back on a road I have already traveled. The step back.. is a step away from myself.. to see things outside of my narrow self focused view..my own world I too often get stuck in and consumed with.
When you take a step back and see the world with different eyes you start to realize others are taking steps..scary steps..exhausting steps..steps alone. Their steps are the steps that push them away from where they want to be.. the steps that push them down and make them feel like they are being left behind. A step can change ones own life.. a step forward or a step towards another.. can be all that makes the difference in the walk of life. To think without a step back from ourselves.. we wouldn’t be able to make sure another holds their ground or makes that next step forward.
We all are wearing our watches..or have our daily step counters on our phones..out of all of those figures and calculations.. how many of those movements are towards others..how many steps a day are we making with the effort to help another meet a goal or just make it through the day? I have stood still countless days..focused on how to make my own steps forward..idle with self consumption…focused on not taking backward steps on my journey.. being concerned with my destination. Unaware of what others are trying to step past or move forward from.. unaware of where they want to go. That’s the thing about life.. it’s easy to get lost in your own daily mileage.. it’s easy to feel the weight that holds you back from moving forward and running your ideal race.. that very race is a lonely race against yourself..structured and consumed with you.. you forget to make sure everyone crosses the finish line with you on that kind of a race. When you are so focused on your race.. the time it takes you to get to the end..you forget there are others out there that can’t even make it to the race.. there are others out there that need you to race towards them or for them. We all have countless races life signs us up for..all important and challenging races.. but for one to realize their race isn’t the only race out there.. for one to look past what they are trying to move away from..that is the key to moving forward. It’s no secret.. we only heal when we look past ourselves and learn to consume our thoughts and actions with others. Why race solo when you can be apart of a pretty amazing relay team.. a team that hands off and hands over a baton..a baton that symbolizes what another goes through..it seems small at the hand off.. but when another takes on that weight and helps to lift it away from one of their running buddies.. it’s freeing.. and it’s comforting to let go a little.. for someone is running with you and for you.
I will continue to take steps back from me.. so I can take steps forward with others.. I’m will continue to look around and realize everyone is just trying to make it to the finish line. Crossing the line alone.. seems uneventful..empty.. and lonely.. no one to celebrate with.. void of all things that made you want so badly to step forward too.. crossing the line with others.. well that is a celebration I can get down with! It’s funny when you are taking steps with others on their journey..you forget where you were going..you forget your destination and the need to be there..your focus turns to another’s destination and your need to make sure they get there.. their steps become your steps..their destination becomes yours..it’s a lonely walk alone..so remember to take a step back it will always be a step in the right direction.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton