One day while driving down the street I forgot where I was. Mind you I just left Target and was headed toward home so had certainly been there before, but in that instant I couldn't have told you where I was on the planet if my life depended on it. I had to pull over and cry for a while, gnashing my teeth and pulling my hair over the fact that I was thirty years old and becoming so sick with something so unfixable, I was literally losing my mind. Flash forward a few years to when I had settled into the reality of living with fibromyalgia. Working retail was a painful necessity that was quickly running its course, so I set about trying to figure what on earth to do to earn a living. Naturally, this required me to take a Spanish course at the local community college. Not because I wanted to earn money off my non-existent Spanish 1 skills, but because I desperately needed to know if my brain was capable of learning and retaining new information, and I took French in high school.
I worked really hard for that A. I'd get up at 7 AM to study, regardless of how poor my sleep quality was the night before, determined to prove I was still a viable human specimen. All that learning made interesting things start happening to me, like I could listen to music again and started to remember why I walked into a room. It was an incredibly liberating experience. I'd far surpassed the "no treatment no cure" diagnosis I was given in 2006, but never expected to get my brain back. In hindsight this was like a cruel teaser. Because little did I know, I was about to lose it again.
By the time Spanish 2 rolled around the following semester, I was a double stroke survivor. I attended one session and promptly dropped the class, considering my brain was such mush I couldn't even make my mouth say ¡Hola! I even tried Conversational Spanish the semester after that but was still too screwed up. Getting my brain back after my strokes took a lot of time to heal and, once again, demanding an excessive amount of mental prowess from myself in order to write my book. But imagine how differently the next six years would've gone if I hadn't succeeded in my little Spanish 1 experiment. Perhaps knowing I could take a perceived limitation and put in enough work to triumph over my tribulations gave me the will to keep going, even when everything was at its worst? All I know is I was told to accept my illness, so I decided to challenge it. That attitude has gotten me into plenty of trouble over the years. I'm always pushing myself and overdoing it and crashing and burning. But I've also come leaps and bounds from that poor sick girl in 2006 who was told she was never going to get better. While I may not be "better," through one challenge at a time, my life certainly is.
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