I saw in my stats that someone recently read an old blog post I wrote, Recovery is Possible. And I realized while reading it that a lot has changed since I wrote it, 2.5 years ago.
In some ways, I’ve continued to work on myself since then. I described myself as a person of faith at that time, which I could still say is true, but now that statement is asterisked all to hell. I still have a deep sense of spirituality that guides me but it’s not as easily defined anymore. I stopped going to any kind of formal church just a couple months after I wrote that.
One thing that I also noticed, however, is that I wrote that about six months before my husband got diagnosed with cancer. In much of the time since then, my own personal growth has taken a backseat, as I’ve adjusted to the curveballs that life has thrown my way.
Now I am both recovering from pain and recovering through pain. The process of self-growth naturally looks quite different now. But that’s not to say that it’s stopped entirely, either.
I am grateful for having started the work on myself before my husband got diagnosed because I think I would have coped much more poorly before. Even if at times I had to set aside my own emotional healing and growth because I had bigger concerns to deal with, it’s not like all that progress was lost and undone.
Since then, I’ve also dealt with a noticeable increase in my disability (noticeable at least to me and those who live with me), as well as now two of my kids coming out as transgender. The first one wasn’t a surprise but the second one was.
Through all of this, I have still mostly been able to maintain a positive attitude. Yes, I sometimes feel scared, both about my disability and the fact that my husband is not always going to be around. But most of the time, I try not to let those fears take over.
Although my blogging here has become more inward-focused a lot of the time, I’m also learning how to find my voice in writing again. (As an example, I wrote this piece the other day about what parents of transgender kids want you to know.) Finding my own “personal” voice in my writing again—in contrast to the much different voice I use for professional writing—is a huge victory for me.
Mostly, I am not trying to fight the pain, nor am I giving into it. I’m letting it move through me and teach me what I need to know. Becoming disabled and facing the future death of my husband are going to change me, no question. But the more I can welcome the opportunities for growth that those will provide me (even if I’d honestly prefer not to have to experience them), the less likely I am to become hard and bitter as a result.
Ultimately, my goal is the same as it’s ever been: to keep learning from my life and to become a better person in the process. To be truthful, that process doesn’t look much like it did 2.5 years ago.
But I also can see how the actual process is shaping me for who I will become in the next phases of my life, once the crises are over. I think I’m going to become a diehard activist and advocate for both transgender kids and early cancer. I couldn’t possibly have foreseen that 2.5 years ago.
But the important thing is that I don’t feel like I’m regressing at all. I’m just trying to remain calm and still and let life takes me where it will. I think I’m ultimately going to be okay when I come through this, one way or another.