When Weakness Becomes Your Superpower
This is me. For at least 20 mins a day, you'll find me wearing this ice mask around the house. Pretty sexy, huh?
One of the symptoms I have from Lyme Disease is swelling in my face, particularly from my forehead into my eyes. My kids will say "Mom, your face is falling again, where's your mask?" And once I put it on, inevitably one of them will say, "I'm Batman" and laugh hysterically - to which I respond "No, I am Elastigirl! And she'd kick Batman's butt."
On those kind of days, I don't feel like I can kick much of anyone's butt really, it's hard enough to get my own butt out of bed. But living with chronic dis-ease, as I've come to reframe it, has become a gift. After decades of struggling with my health, in and out of hospitals, surgeries, dismissive doctors saying it was all in my head, I was so relieved when I had some answers. Because it put me in the driver's seat again. It gave me my power back.
When you have an understanding of what's going on with you, you can then make choices. From that place of understanding, you can develop a relationship with your physical self in that knowing. When it feels like it's just happening at you or to you and there's no sense of control over it, it's scary. And frustrating. And it really takes a toll on your emotional and mental health in addition to the physical strain you are under.
My physical health has always been my weakness. But I am so head strong and determined that I push through to live my life any way. The victim mindset has never been comfortable for me and I'm not real good at accepting limitations. So I would simply shut off the mind body connection and function from sheer determination. My body would let me - for a while. And then I would crash - landing in the hospital or bed ridden for weeks. Not an intelligent strategy but it's how I functioned for a very long time. And then when I was gifted with the understanding of what was actually happening in my body, I was better able to help my body. But...there was a catch - I had to love myself enough to choose self care.
And therein laid my much bigger weakness. I had to find enough love for myself. I had so much healing to do from trauma. So much choosing to learn. Choosing myself, choosing my well being and my self care. My body had been expressing what was happening with me on all the other levels. Disconnection. Imbalance. Being drained.
So, the real work began.
The new awareness and understanding of my physical state, led to awareness and understanding of my emotional state.
My weakness then became my strength as I learned to choose me in all the little things. Like eating more vegetables - eating the veggies wasn't the problem. If someone else prepped them for me, no problem, I'd gobble them up. It was me having to consciously choose to cut up veggies because they are good for me was the problem. Consciously choosing to feel better was the problem. Because to make that choice, I had to believe that I matter...I had to believe that I have worth. And I didn't.
I remember one therapist (and I say one because there have been many lol) telling me that my homework was to make myself a healthy meal. And I scoffed at the idea until there I was, standing over my stove, having consciously chosen to fry up some healthy vegetables, I'm stirring away and SOBBING. From the depths of my soul kind of sobbing. Because I was choosing. I was choosing to feel better. I was choosing me. And that was not just uncomfortable, it was terrifying.
And now, my physical limitations are such gift. It's a built in system that allows me to practice choosing. They are a constant reminder to choose. To choose well being. To choose to love myself. To choose me.
And now, I don my Elastigirl mask beaming with pride, smiling as I velcro that thing to my head - because yes, my face is falling! And yes, I have a chronic dis-ease! But yessssss! I am giving myself what I need - I am choosing me - because I know I have worth and I believe that I matter.
And that is my superpower. T xo