Trusting the Battle

I’ve received quite a number of emails over the months and read many responses from people who ask how I stay so positive, happy, and humorous among illness and all the things I’ve lost. It makes me smile to read emails like that because it’s sort of like “Oh, haha, these people think I’m happy and have my shit together.” The truth of the matter, is that happiness is something I work at, every day. I mean that. I’m not a naturally chipper person. Especially in the mornings. Most days I don’t feel incredibly alive until about 7 pm. I don’t have a ton of friends or a blooming social life. I am OK with that as I’ve always been someone who enjoys solitude. But I just don’t want to give the impression of “The grass is always greener” over here. I’ve gone through a lot of heartache and despair. I’ve just made it out on the other side. But I still struggle with optimism and simple joy. Writing here has enabled me to find the lessons that were hiding beneath the tears and sickness and loneliness. So sometimes it appears that I’ve got it all figured out and wake up whistling the tune to “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day…” I don’t. I work to find the beauty and meaning of every day of my life. And many times, I fail.

I have been prone to periods of despair throughout my life, especially last year. One day in February, I cried almost the entire day. I kept thinking I would run out of tears, and I never did. As soon as I’d finish blowing my nose and wiping up my face, I’d sit down just to have the tears return and my heart go back to aching. That night, my mom brought in tomato soup to my room and made me eat even though I had no appetite. There I was at 26 years old, being spoon fed by my mom. It was humbling, but also a really beautiful moment to know that even in all of the isolation I felt, someone was still there to feed me, when I didn’t have the strength to feed myself. She talked me through the pain and the tears, many of which were falling in the orange liquid in the bowl and making little ripples like a rock in a pond. I remember how sad and hopeless I felt that night, distinctly. But, I made it through, with the help of my mom. It wouldn’t be the last day where I felt like I was drowning in the sadness of my own story. But each of those moments when I reflect on them now, were revealing something quieter, and not as easy to see. In my anger that I had to move back in with my parents, I missed the fact that I was lucky to have somewhere to go and have someone to take care of me. In the sadness of losing my job, I skimmed over the idea that staying there would’ve made me sicker, possibly to the point of no return. Last year revealed many moments that at times would suffocate me, if I looked only at those moments. But life isn’t isolated that way. In every moment of darkness, something else is revealing itself, if we choose to see the whole of it. A lot of times, I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and take an honest look at the way things were. This was not easy, and it still isn’t easy. It’s work. Like Nepo says “This is the trick to staying well isn’t it; to feel the sun, even in the dark.”

I still struggle today in finding the meaning of my life. But further than that, I struggle with general happiness. I sometimes slip and get stuck in a hole. At times it feels easier just to be depressed or angry. And momentarily I guess it’s OK to feel those things, I just know that the only times I’ve been able to move forward is when I choose to look honestly at my experience and try to see what it has to offer, not what it has taken away. Staying mad, staying sad, saying ‘It’s not fair’ just keeps me in the hole. And who wants to live in a hole? It’s dark down there!

Everyone is fighting their own battle, whether it shows on the outside or not. We often assume everyone else is happy, has an easy life, and could never understand our struggle. I often felt that way last year. But that thought is not only our ego trying to isolate us, it’s false. Peel back the layers of any person, and you’ll see the battles they’re undergoing and the scars they carry. I have mentioned this before, but it is something that has stuck with me for a while. Trust your battle. Trust that the life experience you were given is exactly what you need. The lessons you learn will become the whole worlds lessons. Wayne Dyer says to find the lesson, you have to actively ask each experience “What is this here to teach me?”

So that is what I’m working on; not only to seek the lessons of my experience, but to try and live each day happily and with ease. Again, it’s something I have to work at. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the questions and mysteries of life, that I miss the simple pleasures. I could spend all day wondering and fearing whether the sun will rise tomorrow, and wrapped up in that anxiety, I miss the sunset. I’m going to try and trust my experience and my battle. I’m going to stop wishing for a life that isn’t mine. And I’m going to try whistling that tune “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day…” every morning. Because my grandma always whistles that tune, and I’ve yet to meet anyone happier.

Health, Happiness, and Battles.

 

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23 thoughts on “Trusting the Battle

  1. There isn’t anything I can say that hasn’t already been said. You are seriously an admirable person, one I find inspirational and I’m not just saying that. If I had a third of your problems I think I’d have just given up on life. People like you show me just what human beings are truly capable of doing. Keep writing and keep up your hope!!

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  2. The fact that you’ve gotten this far while fighting such a hard battle says so much about you and I really respect your honesty and strength. Stay strong and keep writing, you’re very talented! :)

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  3. Thanks for your sincerity and honesty about your struggles, because I (like a lot of people who follow your writing) am going through the same thing. It’s having to learn a “new normal,” and mine looks a lot like yours. I lost my job because I was sick. I had to move 1,000 miles away to move back in with my parents. I can’t get enough energy to get up and around until at least 4 pm, and that’s if I can get out of bed at all. Yet through all this, our friends who are used to our “old normal” don’t understand (by no fault of their own) which puts so much pressure on us to slap smiles on our faces and fake feeling good.

    I know that someday, I’ll meet someone who I can help by being able to relate to them in a way only a few of us can. I think that’s what trusting the battle is about for me — knowing that there is something beneficial that will come from my struggle, an entire experience that I can share with someone going through a difficult time.

    In other words, your post is a summation of you, but also of me and many others. It’s what I could have written had I had the courage to do so.

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  4. You are definitely not watching enough o’rielly. Thats the prob. But seriously, folks, A very beautiful portrait you have painted here, Mare. Don’t stop believing!

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  5. As always you write such wise words :) It can definately be an effort sometimes to see the sunshine when it’s raining, but so long as we keep trying, we’ll get there eventually :)

    You also reminded me of a quote I love: ‘Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.’

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  6. I understand your struggle through the dark places of fibro and of the depression that comes with it. Know that you are not alone and that you have many others that deal with the same issues you do. I don’t know if you have a support group, but if you don’t I would suggest finding one. Having even a couple of people in your age range that deal with many of the same ailments as you can have a profound effect on your hopelessness.

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  7. In every moment of darkness, something else is revealing itself, if we choose to see the whole of it. A lot of times, I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and take an honest look at the way things were.” I love this whole article, soo much truth and honesty! Thank you :)

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  8. Nicely written, as always. I think you’re right; we all struggle with happiness. Acknowledging the struggle and engaging in a a healthy inner dialogue is probably the best way to work on improving happiness levels. I can totally relate to days spent weeping. I think that occasionally that’s what my soul needs; a big flush out. I usually wake the next day feeling a whole lot brighter. Best wishes,
    Michelle
    http://www.theyeariquitmylife.com

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  9. Look down. There’s your feet. You’re right where you’re supposed to be.

    No one knows why there is suffering in life, but having gone through my own struggles in the past, I know I appreciate my “hum drum” life oh. so. much.

    Keep on truckin’.

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  10. You are doing wonders Mary! Remember that your words have brought faith and hope and renewal to many who read them. Most of us, it seems, share your experiences.
    While not having CFS and fibro I can still infer what you are going through. Your Words and my personal experience allow me that.
    Your escape is through those of us who read your words and appreciate your honest and eloquent ways of making us a part of your life.
    Thank you for being courageous enough to update us daily.

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  11. A great lesson, for the sick and the “healthy.” As always, thank you for the inspiration.
    P.S. So glad my friend shared the link to your “white girls” post online or I might never have stumbled across your blog.

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  12. I got a little lump in my throat reading this, it’s beautiful and inspirational. I’m not sick but reading your blog still makes me laugh and cry and reminds me of all the things to be thankful for in my life and ways to work on being happier every day. I hope that doesn’t sound smug, I just mean its not just sick people who can relate to what you’re saying. Thanks and keep on writing x

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  13. Wow. As always, your writing is awesome. I, too, work at being happy. I can find joy, if I look for it. Like “stop and smell the roses” kind of thing. I can also find misery, if what I’m concentrating on is how tired I am, and how much pain I’m in. I have seen where what I’ve gone through can help another go through the same thing. Countless times!
    I really enjoy your sense of humor. A good sense of humor is life saving.

    Thanks for doing what you do!

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  14. Thanks, I needed this :)

    I discovered your blog a few months ago and have been reading ever since. I’ve been struggling with my own battles health and otherwise and it is nice to know I’m not alone and that it is okay to not be okay. It’s a daily struggle and something I constantly work at. Trying to pretend like you are okay can be very very exhausting sometimes. Like you I’m lucky that I have a wonderful and supportive family and when my son and I have to move back in with my parents sometime this year I should look on the bright side and be thankful that I have wonderful parents and a great home to move back into.

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    1. I always love reading your writing. You have a great head on your shoulders, and you’re very inspiring, even though I have no idea what it’s like to be in your position.

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  15. This is so beautifully written and there is such truth in it – to the very core of your words. My struggles with illness have not even begun to reach the level that you face, but I know that, for me, there are also days that despair is clearly etched into my entire being the minute I open my eyes in the morning. Choosing happiness isn’t always easy, but it is a choice that it is possible to make. Most days, anyway. : ) I can’t tell you how much I admire your transparency and courage to write about how difficult the struggle is and how the learning curve of finding the lesson is something that must sometimes be repeated.

    I had never read/heard that by Nepo about feeling the sun even in the dark, but it’s beautiful… It really is a trick, but as you’ve pointed out – even though it takes work, it is possible.

    Thank you so much for sharing even when you don’t have your sh*t together! lol : )

    ~heather

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