The Contrast Between Positivity and the Realities of MS
I am tired of having multiple sclerosis. I am just so tired of this disease. And you know what? That is OK.
Being tired of MS does not negate my gratitude. It does not replace my joy and zest for life. It is granting myself the grace to be honest about how I feel. I am far too adept at disguising pain, hiding sadness, and ignoring anger.
Ever the optimist, I can find good in almost every situation or experience. I have worked for years at cultivating a positive mindset. Yet, even the most grateful being would be shaken by my reality. This is not to discourage optimism or its merits. It is to acknowledge my humanity. It is to accept the duality that exists in so many with this disease.
Far easier said than done.
I peer over the cliff of perennial optimism to reality below. The distance between them has never been as vast. I see danger and virtue in each, yet I have trouble identifying with either. The yin and yang of my existence.
Optimism can be a dangerous standard for anyone suffering. We are encouraged to stay positive, yet so often realities are in stark contrast. I limit the honest expression of my experiences to maintain the status quo. This can be exhausting and depressing. Each of us deserves to feel the gamut of our emotions. We deserve to do so without fear of reprisal or rejection.
I spent time with my family this week. As part of a family of avid boaters, my father wanted to take the boat on the bay. Excitement coursed through my veins. I craved sacred time on the bay. In almost the same moment, my heart sank. I wanted to refute my parents’ concerns about my joining them. Although they said it was ultimately my decision, the pain soaring through my foot drop gave me my answer.
I smiled through tears as I watched them depart. At that moment, I resented everything about my MS. I cursed its existence and severity. I pitied the way it has irrevocably changed my life.
I did not need reminding to stay positive. No one needed to point out I had so much more than most. I did not need to hear that my cup was half full. Even in the throes of sadness, this much is true. Yet, that does not disqualify the hurt or negate my heartache. It is important to metabolize its validity. Only then can I somehow reconcile each.
Positivity is not so much about ignoring our challenges as it is about accepting them. We are each a sum of our parts. The good and the bad, the pain and the healing, and the hope and the fears. Each comprises the patchwork of our existence. Each illustrates a moment in our journey.
Alone, they are singular. Sewn together, they complement one another, illustrating the beauty and strength in each of us. I can think of nothing more positive.
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