Monday, January 16, 2017

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Sometimes I tell myself a story.  When I'm tired, sick and cuddled into bed.  When I get a little too caught up in the idea that how I'm feeling now is how I will feel forever.   I tell myself a story of a young woman who had her own apartment and a full time job at 17. She became addicted to crystal meth, kicked the habit, got great grades then quit high school 2 elective credits short of a diploma to work at a bong shop in downtown Hamilton. A city she had only visited a few times before.  She made friends quickly, slept on the couch of the store, the couch of a friend and occasionally the mattress on a crack house basement floor with a tattooed punk and his pit bull.  She met hippies, drug dealers, drug addicts, prostitutes... even a murderer. She showed them compassion and kindness.  One day she met a rapist, he became obsessed with her, so she moved to a city she had never been to before and continued on.  She met a man, married him, became ill with anxiety.  She quit smoking, learned to knit, and started two new jobs, leaving her old one behind.  She changed her diet and did what she had been told was impossible: She got pregnant. She took her boss to the labour board for discrimination when she fired her, and got a severance pkg. She once again packed up her stuff and moved to a little town where people were not shot in the backyard across from her.  She planned a home birth, got a cesarean.  She decided through her experience that no woman should ever be treated by hospital staff the way she was. She studied, she had supportive mentors and while raising two babies and workng part time she became a doula and Childbirth Educator. She was betrayed by her husband,  she asked for a divorce. She met another man, fell deeply in love and when she could not afford to live in her home on a single income with no child support she moved in with her lover.  She created a family radio show, co-produced a charity CD. However her romantic relationship deteriorated, it was unhealthy, so she became unhealthy. She often needed assistive devices to remain mobile, and spent many days in bed.  She went to appointment after appointment and got vague diagnoses. One day, after a particularly troubling event, she decided to leave her relationship. She had no job, no family in the area and she was too disabled to work.  She left anyways.  She moved to a women's shelter, she moved to a farm then she moved to a house in town.  She made some hard decisions for her children and lost some friends.  She learned that her family's happiness would always be paramount to her reputation.  She took very good care of herself, and no longer needed a cane or wheelchair to do daily tasks.  She took a trip she had been putting off for years, a train ride across Canada with her children. She decided she could work again and got a job 3 weeks after. Since then she has travelled to the East coast and writes two blogs.  One, to support other people through sharing experiences and the other, a sex blog.  She never gave up and she thrived on change. She was a fighter.

As I wait for my new online course to confirm registry.  I'm in bed with a migraine and I (just for a second) begin to wonder, can I do this?  Can I change my life again? Can I reinvent myself?

Tell yourself the story of that young girl, my heart whispers.

I did.

Now tell yourself the story of the single mom who recovered from her illness and went to school and followed her dreams of becoming a healthcare professional, then moved to the coast and travelled the world with her skills and wrote a book about it.

I did.

The stories we tell ourselves are the most important stories of all.  What story are you telling yourself?  What story could you be telling yourself instead of the one you are telling now?