Everyone has a “detour” in life – something that doesn’t go as we plan.
A detour is many things – unexpected, a nuisance, difficult, hard to grapple with, frustrating, – but it can be beautiful.
On Why Not Wednesday, I’m asking you to share a “detour” in your life. A detourist travels along detours – simple enough. But in addition, a detourist embraces those unexpected routes as opportunities for growth, change and self-fulfillment.
So why do I call it Why Not Wednesday?
Because a Detourist turns a “Why Me” into a “Why Not?”
And why not? Any detour in life can lead to unexpected discoveries. On that note…take it away, Brandi!
My name is Brandi and I’m a Detourist.
My detour started with a blind and hysterical throw of an iron. A mass of confusion and frustration led up to that throw, and with the release of the iron came the release of all the pinned up feelings. Seams came undone. Emotions shot to the surface, tired of being suppressed. I was done, and throwing in the towel. My pain had won.
The façade of good health crumbled leaving pain and loneliness in it’s place. I no longer felt like the strong and independent woman I once was. Where I was to go from this place on the floor crying, I had no idea. The only clear thought was, “I cannot keep up this charade any longer; something has to give”.
That was the pivotal moment of my life. It was the moment where I removed the cloak of good health that was hiding me, and faced the reality of my illness. It is when I became a detourist, and started my journey to healing in a new way of life. In the months that followed I was determined to seek a proper diagnosis, and once having it, my life changed for the better.
Up to that point, I was living life as I always had – as a “normal” person. No request was denied, no chores left undone, no plans rescheduled. My reputation was happy homemaker and mommy with zero complaints. It was all a lie.
In truth, I was in excruciating pain. Each day was met with dread, and the inevitable pain of meeting daily tasks was always present. I didn’t know how to cope with neither the pain nor the feelings of what I was experiencing. When I talked to my husband about it, he insisted I see a physician. So I did. Many of them.
A string of doctors told me the same thing – nothing was wrong with me. I was experiencing the normalcy of motherhood, and all the pains that came with it. With various doctors telling me the same thing, I had no choice but to believe all of it was in my head. That all moms faced the same dilemma upon entering motherhood, and somehow, unknown to me, they were learning to cope with it while I could not. This was going to be a challenge.
And what a challenge it was. I no longer spoke of my pains and depression to anyone. Not even myself. I went about my days as though nothing was wrong. No taking it easy for any reason. I was determined to make my body move the way I was use to moving, and some day, I believed, the pain would lessen as my body grew accustomed to it.
And that’s how I lived life. Normal. Even though I was falling into my bed from exhaustion each night, I was unable to sleep. My body screamed from the sharp pains, and the mixed emotions boiled under the surface into the wee hours of the morning when I finally passed out from the lack of sleep.
This is not how I wanted to live my life, but I did. For six years. Six long, painful years. That’s 2,190 consecutively painful days.
After the iron throwing incident and the healing process began, I realized I could no longer live the way I was accustomed to living if I was going to get better. I have fibromyalgia, and that is just the way it is. My illness wasn’t going to dictate my life, but I wasn’t going to run away from my illness either. In order to effectively manage the pain, habits had to change. I had to listen to my body. After all, we only get this one body for our life, so I needed to care for it.
My life is different now. The way I lived four years ago is vastly different from the way it is today. I listen to my body, and rest when I need to rest. I eat the foods that my body needs to fight the pain and inflammation, and avoid the foods that do harm. Exercise is limited, and plans are well thought out beforehand.
I’m happy now. I no longer hide behind a fake smile and false statements of good health. If I’m not feeling well, I say so and rest. Requests are denied. Chores are left undone. Plans are rescheduled. And, the best part? I don’t feel guilty about it.
I am a fibromyalgia thriver. This is my life, my detour. It has taught me to embrace myself for who I am even though I may not always be strong enough to do what I once did. It has made me stronger in ways I never thought possible. Through it, I’m able to help others, and that I would not trade for anything.
That is why…I #LoveMyDetour.
Brandi is the writer and creator at Being Fibro Mom. She is a follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, and fibromyalgia thriver. Being Fibro Mom was created in 2013 in the hopes of helping fibromyalgia sufferers become fibromyalgia thrivers.
All Detourists (which would would be YOU) have stories to tell. It’s scary to trust that twisted path and follow it, even if you’re not sure where it leads. Following that trail will lead you to the ultimate gift: The gift of realizing how incredible you really are. Living with a chronic illness can be trying, but we can also reclaim our true identities.
That’s why I’m performing my one-woman show, Gutless and Grateful at the Pacific Rim Conference on Diversity and Disability this week – because the story of my life is FULL of twists and turns!
So join the movement and share your story!
I #LoveMyDetour. Now tell me why you love yours.