Recovering the Parts That MS Stole From Me
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that is the great puzzle.” — “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” by Lewis Carrol
Jan. 9 was my 31st birthday. I remember looking outside, watching the low January sun glisten on the frosty ground as its orange haze thawed the earth.
I liken this to my journey with multiple sclerosis. As the morning sun began to thaw the frozen ground, it struck me that this image is a perfect representation of how I’ve been feeling lately. I am finally beginning to feel like I’m regaining the parts of myself that MS stole from me like a thief in the night.
The struggles that waltz hand in hand with MS highlight the meaning behind the cliché “new year, new start,” which offers a promising future to accompany a brand new year. While I generally dislike clichés, I am rather fond of the hope this new year brings. This year, I aspire to focus on the silver linings and the positives.
An open-minded start
I love the inspiration and the hope that the idea of a new start brings with it. I take from it the lesson that I should open my mind to new possibilities and challenges.
I’ve previously written about being a scientist at heart, and I don’t think that will ever change. But I wish to share something else with you that you may not know about me: my creativity.
I’ve decided to dedicate 2022 to exploring this part of me. I already feel as though I’m regaining some of the confidence and strength I lost when I was frozen in time battling MS and struggling with the most basic daily tasks, which doesn’t leave room for anything else.
If you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you’ll understand what I mean. Psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced this tiered concept of human needs that states that to achieve a fully rounded life, one must secure one level of needs before advancing to another. Creativity, he stated, falls under self-actualization, which is the final tier.
So, I’m dedicating this year, my 31st year of life on this planet, to creating. I wouldn’t call this a resolution per se, but rather more of a rediscovery of who I used to be. Last year, I began with writing. This column was the first piece of the puzzle to click into place. Next, I’ve reestablished my journaling and creative writing, which were some of the first things to fall by the wayside when the MS symptom of fatigue reared its ugly head.
I also plan to immerse myself in music and photography. Rediscovering the passion in a beautiful song or a breathtaking photograph is like nothing else.
Finding my voice
I feel the most in tune with the world when I use my voice to make music. When my MS began to take hold, my inspiration for singing plummeted. I always used to sing in the shower or while cooking the evening meal, but then it felt as though MS had slowly taken my voice away. I used to be involved in the choir at school and took singing lessons for several years. On a quest to rekindle this talent, I have discovered a friend who also wants to dust off his guitar strings. My lost inspiration has been reborn.
Photography, in contrast, is a brand new venture. Aside from casual cellphone photographs, I have no prior experience. I’ve always been interested in it, but having started it as a hobby at the dawn of my MS, sadly it, too, fell by the wayside.
In the song “Amazing,” the band Aerosmith sang, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” I don’t know where these new ventures will lead, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the little parts of the puzzle are falling back into place, and I’m reigniting the fires of passion that MS had extinguished. It is both exhilarating and comforting. It feels like I’m coming home.
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