Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

As I scroll through my Facebook, I see flags and Thank-you's to our military. 
I see families cooking out and enjoying the day together. 
I see lots of water. 
Tonight, I expect there will be lots of fireworks. 

I'm home today. My husband is working. 
I've spent the day in silence.
A couple of phone calls to update on a sick family member, one brief business call, but mostly--silence. 

I like silence. 
There was a time when I didn't like silence.
Silence meant I was alone, with myself, with that tape that plays in my head. 
The tape was detrimental for the majority of my life. 
Some of it's greatest hits were, "you aren't good enough" "you are worthless" "you are a financial burden" "you don't deserve love" "there is nothing wrong with you-your illness is all in your head" "you are lazy" "you have a head full of useless knowledge'...
The majority of these were placed in my head by my former spouse. 
Words hurt, they maim, they cripple. 
They are not biodegradable.
Words are styrofoam.
They last forever. 

Now, after a few years of healing emotional wounds, learning to love and trust again and being diagnosed with two neurological disorders (and the diagnoses that come with them)--
I've learned to welcome the silence. 
As much as Chiari Malformation and Arachnoid Cysts have impacted my life in negative ways, they have also been very positive. 
I've written a few times about the incredible people I've met as I walk this path. 
But I don't think I've ever written about how the validation has healed part of me that I didn't realize was broken. 

Being chastised for years for the many physical ailments that came my way caused great damage to my self-esteem. 
I knew I was not exaggerating things or making them up.
I knew the doctors were missing something.
I just knew it. 

Validation came when my diagnosis led me to research symptoms. 
That's when I found out I am not lazy, there was something wrong with me all along, I was not a hypochondriac, any of 28 different doctors could have diagnosed me if they had not dismissed me.
The worthless, financial burden, undeserving part...well, I guess that depends on someone else's opinion of me.
Certainly not my opinion of myself. 
I have always known my Father is a King. He said I am fearfully and wonderfully made, so how is it possible for His creation to be worthless?  

So, for me- Validation = Independence. 
I have been set free of the old mindset, of the old tape playing in my head. 
Some days, I hear the volume of the old tape increasing. Usually, this is because a headache has zapped my defenses and I can't wrestle the volume switch back down. 
However, most days are victorious. 
Most days I'm waving the flag of Independence. 
Most days I am overjoyed with my life and my happiness. 
Most days.  

This past week I had the pleasure of hanging out with a sweet young girl. 
I fear she may be in bondage to a bad tape.
I made a new friend-in bondage to a bad husband and my same neurological disorders.
I fear she may not have the strength to withstand both.
I want to set these people  free. 
I want to validate their lives. 
Everyone should live free. 
Everyone should be comfortable with silence. 

Today-on this Independence Day-
Listen to that tape in your head. 
We all have one. 
If it is lying to you..
Declare your Independence. 

You are not defined by your illness.
You are not defined by someone else's opinion of you. 
You are not defined by your financial status, the balance of your medical bills, your dress size, marital status  or your ethnicity. 
Do whatever it takes to validate your existence, 
recognize you are the son/daughter of a King. 
Hold your head high (even if it hurts) and declare today your Independence Day. 

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