This post was written by new contributor Delsonora.
I’ve never written a blog post before, but I’ve written many essays to process my thoughts and feelings. I’d like to share this one with you today. I’ll include my “personal pedigree of pain”* at the end, for anyone who wants to know.
We all believe a lie or two at one point or another.
For example, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is an anonymous children’s rhyme. It’s a lie – because words have power.
“The pen is mightier than the sword” (Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1839). Thoughts are generally comprised of or formed in words.
“I think, therefore I am” (Rene Descartes, 1637). Or, my version, which I believed from about 2000 to 2016, which says: “I think I am broken, therefore I am“. What we think about ourselves is true to the extent we believe it, even though it may be a lie, or a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Lies have power only to the extent we believe them.
The three requirements to be classified as a living thing are: to grow and develop, to use energy, and to reproduce. At the time that I believed these lies, America Online (AOL) was popular and sending out CDs in the mail for free trials. AOL seemed to be more alive than I was, as it could reproduce like mad on my friend’s computer, and I couldn’t reproduce at all.
Even well-meaning lies can hurt, cause harm, and be maladaptive.
Beating others to the punch, I would say, “I’m as fertile as a bleach bottle“.
The first lie here is that beating others to the punch prevents the punch. It doesn’t! The next lie is that the punch won’t hurt because the humor prevents the pain. The final lie is that this remark is funny. It isn’t, and it doesn’t prevent pain. It disguised the pain, and it isolated me further.
The truth is that facing my situation head on, insisting on compassion from others, offering my pain up for God’s use – any or all of these would have been better, healthier options. Not everyone is capable of compassion, though, especially towards something they do not understand – especially towards invisible pain and dysfunction. The root of that prefix, “dys”, means pain, by the way.
I believed these lies to the point that it hurt my mental health, my marriage, my ability to conceive, and my ability to adopt.
Acceptance is giving up – that is also a lie. The process of acceptance is a lot of hard work. But it’s worth the effort.
And the last lie: “It doesn’t matter to me anymore“. Dear Lord, it does!
But acceptance is a different dance. It can matter, and hurt, and still be ok. I can still dance. I can find joy in the life I do have; in the only thing I’m guaranteed: the here and now. For me, the dance of acceptance has meant several years of therapy, of learning to like myself, and to love myself at least as much as I love other people, who I find I can love better now that I like myself.
It meant changing what I believe, from lies to the honest, whole truth – the ugly truth and the beautiful – and no longer buying into the belief the world sells. I do not need to live some arbitrary plan set forth on the pages of a shiny magazine. I only need to live according to God’s plan for me.
“His plan is better than anything else” (Litany of Trust, Sisters of Life).
I do not need to live my parents’ dreams, or even my own, only the plan God set forth in His mystery, goodness, and love.
*Personal pedigree of pain: PCOS, endometriosis, trauma, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Epstein Barr positive.