Saturday, April 23, 2016

Nostalgia in the Negatives

Since moving, my family and I have come across a plethora of old photographs. Really, they are everywhere. It has been quite the bittersweet task to sort through them, hoisting the boxes of my nostalgia into the attic. The pictures below are from exactly a year ago. My, how my situation has changed. Circumstances have the ability to alter people for both the good and the not so good. Photographs are mementos depicting those changes.  

Undoubtedly, there are positives to chronic illness. My illness has granted me the opportunity to strengthen current relationships, meet others in similar situations, and has altered my character and aspirations for the better. These things serve as the sun on an otherwise cloudy day. They are some of the hopeful changes.

And when documenting my personal journey, I like to primarily focus on these positive aspects. They are what people like to hear. They enjoy engaging in the “happy” stories, the ones that inspire. They find comfort knowing that in the midst of unfortunate circumstances, it is possible to remain hopeful that it is all for a purpose. While I wholeheartedly believe that God placed my family and I in this situation for a reason, there are days when the negatives take over—acting as a fog and concealing the sun’s bright rays.

The girl in these photographs is unrecognizable to the girl staring back at me in the mirror today. Chronic illness takes as much as it gives. It has robbed my fellow warriors and I of our dreams, abilities, friends, and on some days, as much as I hate to admit it, ourselves. During those moments, unpacking the stowed away grief is unavoidable. 

These losses and negative changes often fall to the wayside when we share our stories. After all, who wants to seem negative? However, not everyone can remain positive 100% of the time. We may hide behind the mask of a brave face. We may purposely leave out the negative details to our friends and family. And we may choose to only reveal our gains. Despite it, realize that we are still mourning our losses. No amount of positivity can make of for them.