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  • Writer's pictureShruti

Quotation Inspiration: Maya Angelou

This post is part of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health. I will be writing a post a day for all 30 days. You can learn more about it here:

Today’s topic:

Quotation Inspiration: Find a quote that inspires you (either positively or negatively) and free write about it for 15 minutes.b

*Note: Free Write means I didn’t go back to revise/review/edit this post. It’s posted here exactly the way it flowed out of my fingers. I apologize for any typos, etc that it may contain.

“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” Maya Angelou

Rising above my illness is something that I really struggle with. It’s easy to fall into the despair that comes with the loss of your life plans and the loss of your good health. It’s easy to feel like you don’t have anything you can do about it. To feel like you’re less of a person or less of a valuable member of society.

It has certainly changed me. Not just physically, but also in the way that I see the world around me. It changed how I perceive pain, how I deal with other people who are ill, and what I can do to help them. It absolutely changed my day to day existence not only in terms of what I can do but in terms of all the extra stuff that gets thrown into my day like multiple med times. Not to mention that it changed my entire life plan by forcing me to choose a different career path altogether.

It’s also changed how I interact with my friends. It’s interesting to see who disappears, but it’s also painful. On the flip side, it’s wonderful to see who sticks around – and who cares enough to ask. To be honest, I think the friends that I’m most grateful for are the ones that are able to joke around with me about my illness. They do it in a way that doesn’t belittle me, but reminds me that they are my friends for better or for worse. Those friends are the rarest, but the most worth having in my opinion. If I’m being really honest though, sometimes it’s me that doesn’t reach out. Sometimes I just can’t bear to talk to people because I feel like all I have to talk about is my illness, and I hate that. I let my experiences with my illness overpower my ability to be a part of the friendship and I let them overpower the rest of my existence and what I could be sharing with my friends. Instead of rising above my illness, I allow it to rule over me.

At the end of the day, I really have to force myself to remember that I am not my illness. My illness may be a part of me and a part of my life now, but it doesn’t have to be its defining factor. This sounds like such an easy concept in theory, but when you’re actually battling the pain and fatigue and dealing with the med times and doctors’ appointments, I find that it’s actually very easy to forget my determination and I end up completely overwhelmed and frustrated.

Today’s assignment for the WEGO Health Activist Month challenge was to find a quote and free write about it. I’m not entirely sure whether I’ve done that or gone completely off topic since free writing means I’m supposed to just keep going without going back to revise, review, or edit. Let me just finish by saying that this is the kind of quote I’ll have to keep repeating to myself, because its infinite wisdom can still be overshadowed by the dreary details of daily existence with a chronic illness. Still, I think it’s important to remind myself of this all the time. I don’t want to let the disease overshadow who I am.

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