cataplexy chronic illness chronic pain diabetes Disability dream fibromyalgia hepatic adenoma napcave narcolepsy narcolepsy awareness patient story sleep paralysis sleepy american SleepyAmerican Heroes spoonie superheroes support group true storyRachel Nesmith
How do I define who I am? Who am I? What is at the gooey center of Rachelness? If I were a journal article, what would my abstract read? How do we define who we are and have become without including and acknowledging the events and obstacles in our lives we have both encountered with joy and battles in which we have survived defeat? We cannot. We are the sum of our life experiences, that’s why each of us unique, a blessing to this earth, and we should love one another enough to listen and comprehend our neighbor’s journey to whom they have become. I am one of a kind, there will never be anyone like me, and how many never fully comprehend their loss by never sharing me in their life? Too many to count. Life is beautiful, the end product of just breathing, and if you are blessed enough… feeling completely loved by others. Each person has a treasure chest of secrets, not dirty secrets, but secrets which reveal whom we are at the core. However, we are reluctant to share our cores with others, because this is where our vulnerability lies. It takes great courage to fully embrace whom we are, whom we are becoming, loving whom we are, what we value, whom we love, how we have hurt, but still brave enough to peel back our layers of armor we have built upon our hearts to expose the oasis of everything beautiful about being human and life.
I cannot separate the painful scars on my heart and soul I have accumulated in my 31yrs, but why would I? I am absolutely marvelous and original, frankly more fearless than ever and so very alive in tune with my femininity, at peace with humanity and bursting with vibrant love and energy. Pain and loss complete our character, chiseling our soul and hearts. Have I suffered unthinkable pain and strife? Have I cried when I wanted to be stronger than vulnerable? Have I hurt so bad I thought I would die? You bet! For I have learned the difficult way that for every loss we encounter in life, we are given a new key to our inner sanctum; if we are brave enough… we will unlock this new door to whom we are becoming. Life isn’t fair… Ain’t that the understatement of all time! No life is nothing but fair, nor is life beautiful all the time…. Life is often ugly, and if we are wise we will remember that when life is great for us, it’s a hardship for someone else in this ride called life.
Loss…. It comes in all shapes, sizes, forms and degrees. Loss tears us down, crushes our core of love and hope to bare bones. Pain brings us to our knees extending our hands out for help as most others glance and pass by, only focused on themselves. Loss removes all the fancy packaging of who we really are at our core, exposing all our vulnerabilities to ourselves and those in our inner circle. Loss is often mistaken for weakness or defeat. Nothing could be more far from the truth! Loss is strength building in action. Loss is character building, value instilling, love forming experience we should embrace, not resent. First, when we encounter loss, we feel cheated, a void short-changed, if you will. However, I have learned that loss is actually the key to exponential gain. Loss stirs us to become better versions of ourselves, challenging us to use our scars, our pain, our experiences to make us better friends, citizens, lovers, parents, people. Loss teaches us lessons nothing else can; it chisels us into one of a kind people. People who are not like anyone else, and together we have so much to share and learn from one another, if we’d only let loss carve our hearts and deepen our capacity and imagination for authentic empathic understanding and love.
I am 31, Mom always said I was born 30, and I guess in many ways she was right. I am pretty mature, sensitive, and level-headed. My losses include many, many most have yet to experience, esp. my peers. What have I lost? My innocence at 6, some bullying and feeling left out, broken heart, betrayal, foreclosure, resignation of a normal life due to Narcolepsy with Cataplexy, Sleep Paralysis and Hypnagogic Hallucinations plus Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Spousal abandonment and infidelity, divorces, loss of loved ones, several other health battles, etc. The consequences of these loses have combined in my life to this point in time customizing me into the fine unique specimen of feminine humanity I am today, and though the pain and the bleeding and tears I have shed have hurt like a razor so deep into my heart and soul, I would not change a thing. This is who I am, whom I am meant to be, so I can best serve God, love and understand others, and above all help and love others. I have so much love to give at the core of my soul. I actually feel its warmth radiating from within my chest outward, and I would never want to change whom I have become. I am a wonderful person, a phenomenally beautiful woman inside and out, my inner strength resolute; I feel I can face anything, because I have already faced what most emphatically fear. I will not accept defeat, defeat is not who I am…. I am and will always be victorious because that is the woman of courage and strength I have become.