“Don’t let your struggle become your identity.” – Ralston Bowles
This quote inspires me to continue moving forward on my new path, and to appreciate being able to grow into the person that I have always wanted to be.
I say inspire because for just as far as I have come, I know that I am still learning. This is a goal that I know I will enjoy working towards.
For the longest time I felt I was lost in my illness. I remember feeling how strange it was to feel completely disconnected but trapped at the same time. Years passed and I became my diagnosis.
During this time I would journal and write poetry. I found it really helpful to vent and try to process what I was feeling, but mostly I felt it might be a way to map my way back to myself. I would like to share this poem I wrote in late 2005.
Looking in the mirror I see mysterious sadnessThe girl is painted happy, an exhausting facadeNo longer can I see myselfI feel I’m lost insideTime erasing who I amPerhaps I fled in anguishI doubt my existence, I fear I’ve disappeared
I will always feel some sadness when I read my poems, but ultimately it just reminds me of how far I have come and why I am so motivated to keep moving forward.
Separating yourself from your past and your struggles or even something you are working through today is not an easy task.
For me, the process began when a doctor asked me to think about what I loved and what others loved in me.
Overtime, as I learnt to reconnect with the feeling of loving what was most important to me, I started to find my way back to myself. I knew that I was NOT my struggle or my illness. I was Catherine and I loved my family. Slowly, I started to build on and believe in the things that they loved in me.
The next step was learning to love those qualities, and eventually myself.
This has been a long process, but finding my own identity was a great place to start.
I know everybody has something in their past they struggle with. I would like to encourage you to believe the struggle is not who you are. When you are finally able to let it go, you will become the person you are meant to be. Your identity is your own and it will be there for you when you are ready.
I hope this part of my journey can be helpful in someway. Please know we are all on a path, we just have to decide how many bags we would like to carry.
– Cat –