Two years ago tomorrow, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I had to learn to walk again, to speak again, to see again. My entire self was wiped away and I had to lean who I was with this new person inside of me.
It’s been one hell of a year. More than focus on where I came from (I’ve already written about that), I want to take a look this year at where I’m going.
I’ve learned even more about myself this year. I leaned that perfection is an unrealistic goal, no matter how much I strive towards it. Instead of hoping to achieve perfection, I’ve been focusing on just living as much as I can.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help. I have a difficult time asking others for any kind of assistance; call it being stubborn, too proud, whatever. The fact remains that I don’t normally like asking for it and prefer to do everything myself.
However, asking for help doesn’t mean that I’m weak. Instead, it means I’m strong enough to ask for help when I recognize that I need it. It’s not a swallowing of pride; more, it’s knowing that there are those who want to help support me and I have to let them.
I’ve learned about the healing properties of joy and laughter. Too often before, I was stuck in the darkness not able to pull myself out. Now, every time I’m feeling the darkness pull me in, I smile. The smile may be forced at the beginning, but eventually it reminds me that I have a lot to smile about and the joy follows close behind that smile.
I’ve learned how lucky I really am. Every time I see or hear of someone worse off than me, I think: ‘that could have been me’. I realize how lucky I am to be living the life that I have and take stock of my situation. I know that each person’s experience with MS or CP is different and I have my own life to live.
More than anything, I’ve stopped hating the MS. I talk about self-love a lot and often say that I love all of myself. That wasn’t true. I would say I loved all of myself but internally, I would utter: except the MS. I hate Max Shadow.
I’ve had to learn that it’s just part of me, of who I am. It doesn’t define who I am, much like the fact that I have CP or that I’m gay. Those are just parts and pieces of who I am, but they do not define me or the direction my life is going in.
How can I love all of myself and not love the MS? It’s done a lot of great things for me: The MS has made me realise what really matters in life. It’s shown me what true thankfulness means. It’s forced me to live better, eat better and to take care of myself.
Out of everything I’ve learned this year, I’ve learned to love. I love all of myself. Sure, the MS may make things difficult from time to time, but there is much to love about what I’ve struggled to become.
Max, I want to thank you. Thank you for forcing me to live the life I never knew I wanted. Sometimes, you’re a bit of an asshole, but then again, isn’t everyone? So this year on your birthday, I want to give you my thanks and give you a hug.
Let’s have fun this coming year and keep on trucking, okay?