Thursday, April 10, 2014

And the Winner is ...

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: And the winner is ... You!  You just won an award and are on stage, holding your trophy. Write an acceptance speech. Who do you want to thank? How did you get to where you are today? Don’t worry, we won’t rush you off stage!

When I first saw this topic, I was immediately resistant.  I was never the type of girl who fantasized about glitz and glamour, about getting awards and having the spotlight shine on my awesomeness.  I didn't want to do it now, to pretend that all eyes should be on me in that way.  I don't mind taking the spotlight to help others, or to lead a group into helping even more ... but for the attention to just be on me, for me?  No way!

I was seriously thinking about just skipping today's post.  I could get right back into it tomorrow, and finish the rest of the month after that.  But then I thought again.  I didn't sign up for this challenge so that I could pick and choose, and only do the parts I liked.  After all, the whole idea of a challenge is that it's not always easy, right?

Then I thought I could follow Merritt Wever's lead from her 2013 Best Supporting Actress Emmy speech:
Thank you so very much.  Um, I gotta go, bye.
Technically, that counts ... but I rethought it and decided that I couldn't take the easy way out.

Then I reread the prompt, and realized that I had been looking at this all wrong.  If I look past the backdrop (winning an award), today's assignment is one that should come much easier (if anything, it may be harder to stop writing than it is to start).
Who do you want to thank? How did you get to where you are today? 
I've often written that in our most difficult times, it helps to make a list of things that we are grateful for, things that make us smile (thanks again, Julie, for the great idea!).  I've made that list a bunch of times since then, and there are a few items that are always on it.

With that in mind, I would like to thank ... 
  • My husband.  I can't say it enough - I know how blessed I am to have him, and the crazy part is that he feels the same way about me.  He has been there for me through thick and thin (and not cared whether I was thick or thin lol), in sickness and in health (sadly, a lot more sickness), for richer or poorer (well, never quite richer, but you get the idea).  I don't know what I'd do without him, but I'm glad I don't have to find out.
  • My mom.  At varying times over the years, she has been a parent, a friend, a cheerleader, a nurse, and a teacher.  She set the example as an intelligent, caring, and giving person, and I'm lucky to have her as my mom.
  • My gram.  I think of her every day, but especially so today.  Though I often joked that the aches and pains of a 90+ year old woman and they cry of oy vey as I try to get up were not the ways I wanted to be like her, I am definitely proud to follow her lead in other ways.  She overcame hardships (without complaining), volunteered with so many groups to help so many more, and was always genuinely happy to spend time with me.  I miss her so much, but since she really is a huge part of who I am, she is never really gone.
  • My WW leader.  Though it was oh so many years ago and neither of us is still a point-counting member, I learned so much from her (and the group) beyond weight loss.  It was at her meetings, under her leadership, that I learned that my weight did not determine my worth, that I had value as a human being, regardless of my size.  Though I still struggle with it from time to time, that was perhaps the most important lesson I could ever learn, and it effected the biggest change to make me who I am today.  These days, that can be expanded to include my illness as well: no matter how much they affect my life, they do not define me.
  • A small handful of friends (you know who you are).  We may not see each other anywhere near often enough, but I know how much they care.  While others may fade away during challenging times, these few stick around, becoming family in my heart.  

**If you like what you read, tell a friend.  In fact, tell me, too - post a comment below!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but ... please be gentle!