I’m not ashamed of my story. I’m not ashamed of the life I live. I’m not ashamed of my problems, struggles and hard times. I wasn’t before I had Multiple Sclerosis and I’m not now.
We live in a world filled with people who pretend their life is full of only sweetness and that problems simply don’t exist in their world. They think that denying all pain and problems is what a positive attitude is all about…but it’s not. There’s a difference in smiling through the pain when faced with difficulties and in hiding the fact that you’re hurting simply because you can’t bear someone knowing that your life isn’t perfect or that you need help.
We have this inner desire to be accepted and liked by others but don’t hide the realness of who you are just to fit in. That kind of “fitting in” will fade away and you will be left wondering where the people went as time passes. True friends accept you for you…warts and all.
There are times I might share some TMI (too much information) moments…and I’m okay with that. If I want to tell a poop story, I do. I’ve told neighbors, strangers, bosses, friends and family some crazy TMI moments when asked how I’m doing or what’s going on in my life. Sometimes the stories come tumbling out of my mouth before I even realize what I’m saying, but I’ve never been one to hide how I feel or what’s going on in my life.
Why do I do that? Because if I don’t share the reality of MS with others or talk about the struggle I’m going through, how will they ever learn or even know when I need a hug, some encouragement or help? They aren’t going to learn about MS by watching a movie or going out to eat with friends. Most won’t even look things up for themselves online (no matter how inaccurate the information may be) unless it affects them personally. They learn by asking questions and by watching us as we deal with our daily struggles with MS. Our lives are a walking billboard and we get to choose the message on display.
It can be a message of denial and pretending to be okay, but people will never learn anything if you cover up your needs and pains. Asking for help, sharing your problems, opening up your heart, talking about the difficulties…that’s what’s needed to get the message out. Not in a complaining, “woe is me” kind of way but in an “I’m in a lot of pain today and having trouble thinking, can you help me get a few things at the store” kind of way.
You can’t be ashamed of your life or of the fact that you are living with MS. Embrace the person that you are and use your life as a living example of how a person can rise up in the struggle. It’s okay to have a melt down. It’s okay to fall apart. It’s okay to have a bad day. Real heroes do. And you are a hero. Don’t hide your cape under a boring t-shirt. Wear it proudly and rise up to become the warrior you were meant to be.