Posted in Change, Fibromyaloga, rheumatoid arthritis

The Old Me versus the New Me

I will the first to admit that having two chronic pain conditions can definitely change a person. Having RA and Fibromyalgia has changed me as person, as a mother, a wife, a daughter and as every other role I play in my life. I think about that a lot these days, and I know that I have changed for the good. The old me would have questioned that, but the new me is so fortunate.

The old me was competitive, mostly with myself, but also when it came to my children and every aspect of their lives. Nothing was ever good enough for the old me. If I succeeded, I was my biggest critic. I spend hours sending my now nine year old to the best tutors with Harvard or Yale on the mind, mostly because I wanted him to have the opportunities that I “thought” I did not have, but also because I wanted him to succeed where I didn’t. Now, granted, had I had those opportunities, they would have been there, but my life took me in a different direction, a direction that I wouldn’t change if I could.

The new me knows better and knows that one, I did just fine and yes, despite working hard for everything I got, I turned out fine, and so will my children. Second, I used to believe that I had to be better and the best at everything, that I had to climb up that career ladder to be successful, and to be a better example for my children, or for all the critics I encountered in my life, I had something to prove. That is the what the old me believed, but the new me believes that I am successful, and that I don’t have to try so hard all the time to always be better, and I don’t need to push my children harder, because they will be just fine as well.

The old me didn’t want to make more hours in the day. The old me was Supermom. She could do anything and everything. She could work, go to school, take care of her family, and her home was always clean. The new me has woken up to a reality check, and the new me knows that the Supermom fantasy is long gone. I can’t do all of these things without paying for it through an RA flare up. The new me is happy to do what I can do now, and use my leftover energy for things far more important, like spending time with my children.

My diagnoses have been hardest on my husband. For him, pretending that my conditions don’t exist means life goes on as usual. If I know my husband, admitting that my conditions will get worse is a work in progress. The old me would have told him to wake up to reality, and the world doesn’t revolve around him. The new me knows that giving him his space and allowing him to come to terms with what happening to me on his own time is best for everyone. The new me knows that all my relationships are important and that every little bit of goodness and kindness goes along way.

The old me had perfect, well behaved children – well they were close. I was the mom that said, “if I say it, it goes,” and well my kids listened, mostly because I had so much time to be a parent and to be the so called (almost) perfect parent, but the new me loves my kids, through all those imperfections that they get from me, and wants nothing from them but to be children. It is not for me to decide their futures; it is only up to me to guide them along the way.

The old me looked at my faith ignorantly. The new me sees God’s testing for what it’s worth. I have learned to be patient and I understand that our lives are merely a test, and our time here on earth is short-lived. I have been tested in so many ways in the last two years, and the old me would have ignored that testing. The new me has embraced every test as a gift from God, and prayed for guidance every step of the way. The new me has learned patience, acceptance, and understanding in ways I never knew before. The new me has embraced my faith in a way that I could have ever imagined.

The old me would have spent hours at the gym (yet another of my perfection examples), but the new me knows better. The old me always wanted to have the nicest things, but new me is happy with everything that I have been given. The old me wouldn’t have taken our financial difficulties so lightly, but the new me knew how to get through it. The old me would have given up so easily on so many things, but the new me keeps fighting. The old me seemed quite shallow, but the new me is someone I am more proud of. The old me spent so much time trying to be perfect, having the perfect kids, the perfect life, and the perfect everything. The new me knows that no one is perfect, and that is okay to not have the finest life has to offer. The new me knows that everything will be okay and that realism is best remedy for imperfection. Besides, perfection is overrated. There are far more important things than always focusing on being the best. The new me has awoken to a reality check and one that was long overdue.

From my favorite episode of Spongebob Squarepants:
[Sandy sees SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward being attacked by giant sea gulls]
Sandy: [gasps] Holy guacamole! You can’t eat my friends, you rats with wings! Hi-ya!
[She launches into karate mode and literally beats the stuffing out of the seagulls]

Mr. Krabs: Three cheers for feeling sorry for ourselves! Hip-hip…
SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs & Sandy: HOORAY!
Mr. Krabs: Hip-hip…
SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs & Sandy: HOORAY!
Mr. Krabs: Hip-hip…
Seagulls: Hooray… [their bodies are completely naked because of Sandy’s karate]


3 thoughts on “The Old Me versus the New Me

  1. Wow these are all so true. I have endometriosis so I can sympathize with this. I often push myself too hard and then regret it when I have to spend a whole day sleeping to catch up. My IRL friend, Jeanne, has a blog you might like. Can't remember if I've told you about it or not yet?Anyways, thank you for sharing this post. I'm still battling with how to balance myself out in this busy world.

  2. Lana,What a great post! It's amazing the gifts we can receive when we look at the challenges that come our way as opportunities. When we look at the limitations and problems associated with our medical conditions, we can get a new (healthier) perspective. Many, many people I have encountered who are chronically ill have some form of this "new me/old me" phenomenon happening. Chronic illness can profoundly affect the life of the patient and the patient's loved ones… to be sure. Perfection is very overrated. Learning to be flexible and let go of the things that aren't that crucial helps. Focusing on what really matters is key. I have numerous chronic illnesses. Too many to list, in fact. A few of them, though, are fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, Reynaud's, sleep apnea, and neuropathy. Many (but not all) of my conditions are related to each other (autoimmune illnesses). So they keep spawning more autoimmune conditions. Thanks for a great post. I'm glad Alicia (aka Yaya) told me about it.Have a great day!Jeanne

  3. P.S.Lana,I see you're on twittermoms. I was on it but couldn't keep up with the email notifications so I opted out. I don't see any other way to follow you on twitter. If you'd like to connect with me on twitter (where I spend a lot of time and have a lot of chronically ill contacts), I am @jeanneendo there. If you follow me, please just shoot me a message so I know it's you. (I don't know what your twitter name is).:)Take care,Jeanne

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