Thursday, March 19, 2009

Defining Yourself

Yesterday I read this blog post. It's written by Sarah, who I recently met on Twitter. Sarah is on a journey and I have been drawn into her story for about a week now. I will definitely continue to follow it, because she is making changes in her life! Sarah writes about how her illnesses have defined her. And about how she is changing that! I urge you to read it, there's such a sincerity in her writing.

I was watching something last week and the person had been diagnosed with HIV, maybe it was House. But, after years of living with it, they became depressed upon hearing they did not have it. It was explained that when you have a diagnosis you identify as that. Losing that diagnosis wipes the slate clean, and sometimes it just makes the person feel empty. That, along with Sarah's post prompted this post.

I was mis-diagnosed with MS for 6 years. It defined everything I did. Everytime I got dizzy, it was my MS. Everytime I forgot something, yep, the MS. Muscle aches, weakness, tingling extremeties. My MS was with me constantly. It affected many decisions I made in my life. I totally let it define who I was. When I went to a new doctor, he asked about my symptoms, and he filled pages and pages with everything I told him. Then he looked at me and said "I will run the tests, but it does not sound like MS to me." I thought he was crazy! Within the month, the diagnosis had been lifted.

There were decisions I had made during that time that I am still working to reverse. And, I was kinda depressed. I didn't really express why to anyone because what kind of insanity is it to be sad that you are not dying of an incurable disease? But I no longer had a crutch. I had no easy way to dismiss when I forgot a conversation. I had nothing that made me 'special'. Not rational thinking, no. But that's how it was.

I had not really thought about that much til I read Sarah's blog yesterday. My un-diagnosis came about 5 years ago.

When I think about it, I realize that we all need ways that we are defined. I'm a mother. I'm a woman. And something I've not been feeling much of lately... I am an artist! I am a photographer. Sometimes I'm a mentor. I am a friend.

I really don't think my dad let's black lung define him. Perhaps he lets his Harley define him :-). And I think his family may define him. He's a dad, a grandfather. He is not his illness.

So, reading Sarah's blog about the journey she is on... it made me realize that I've drifted off of mine. It's time to get back out there and BE. I need to be the artist I am. I need to express my vision and move forward with it.

What journey are you on? How are you defined?


~~Sew Happy Designs~~ said...

Robyn, I'm wishing you the best on your journey back to your art and your life....take one day at a time and be thankful for all the wonderful journeys you have ahead of you. God Bless You.

Sarah Marie Lacy said...

Robyn, this beautiful.

And that misdiagnosis was so hard. I've often felt the same way about being sick - what on earth would I do if I got better? It seems counter-intuitive, but it's true. It's easier to have an explanation, than a mystery I think.

I'm so happy that you're moving back towards your own journey. I hope it brings you buckets of joy and happiness.

Much love,

(hey) dandelion. said...

I can definitely relate to this, as my mother is struggling with something similar. It is a daily struggle for her to keep her identity, I think that is a difficult part of becoming ill, not losing yourself in it all.

Dennis Dalton said...

I'm certain you will revive your art! It's a natural progression to feel the need create as we grow emotionally, or age. I too found myself strangely drawn into Sarah's writing; she is a brave and honest kid! I struggle with creating as well, not so much the creative aspect but the motivation required to create. I have painted for over 30 years, but can only do it when "the spirit moves me." Remaining in-spirit is tough. Good Luck

Drop of Sunshine Design said...

All I can say is wow. Thanks for sharing this with us and making us realize that we can control who we really are if we just pay attention to detail. I have been suffering from my thyroid recently and have been blaming everything on that: my lack of motivation, weight gain, sleeping in, etc. From this read on I will define myself all over again. Thanks.

Jan Moulder said...

Robyn, Thank you for your honesty, transparency and courage. You've given me much food for thought.

Connie said...

Wow, that was an incredible post Robyn. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Thank you for your honesty. I've been thinking alot about the same idea lately too. I don't want my body to define me anymore either....I'm realizing that the limitations I perceive...are actually these imaginary boundaries I set up on myself. Let's kick those babies down and to the curb together!!! How inspiring you are!

Peace & Love.

Anonymous said...

Very thought provoking Robyn. I too have been thinking along these same lines lately, but didn't realize its meaning until I read your words.

Suddenly I am feeling something, or find something that maybe has been there all along.

Ditto Sew, God Bless You...


Natasha said...

I feel like I was supposed to be here've been on my mind. I have been thinking of you and your Dad so I came to visit and I'm so glad I I was sitting in a car this afternoon thought...I need to streamline..who am I anyway? Where am I headed? No kiddin that was the thought and now this...the honesty and heart in your writing is beautiful....I think your "un-defining" is magical...we spend most of our lives trying to un-learn or break all the silly rules we learned as children like don't color outside the lines - BUT outside is SO muh more fun!! And we are always redefining ourselves - do we even need definition? I'm not sure...thank you for feeding my mind and soul...please share more about your's helps to feel that connection!

Geoff Schutt said...

Dear Robyn,

Thank you for sharing your words -- and your "self" once again with us.

As far as I go, I am defined by my words. This has pluses and minuses, but I truly feel that without the words, I would not have "purpose."

Geoff (& Eleanor, nodding her head)

Melissa said...

Robyn...this is awesome!!!!


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