I hate the word Can’t. Seriously, I hate it SO MUCH. We (usually) use the word “can’t” as an excuse. I know I sure used to.
I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease at 23 years old. That’s when the can’ts *really* began.
“You can’t exercise.” <—–Oh no…I have to be sedentary? Shucks.
“You can’t have the energy to be social very often.” <insert introvert not actually sad face>
“You can’t have the memory you used to.” What? You told me who? When? Why? Sorry…I forget.
The can’ts were many. And I relished them because they excused things I didn’t really want to do anyway.
But…then one day I suddenly wanted to do something different. I wanted to LIVE instead of just existing.
I decided to start by getting in shape. The doctor said, “You can’t. Just be happy you’re cute for a fat girl.”
So I started eating right. “That’s great, you’ll lose a little, but you’ll never be able to exercise.”
I started walking. “Ok. Walking is good, but you’ll never be able to do strength training.”
I started lifting weights. “Just be careful, your body can’t do that.”
I started running obstacle course races. “Ok…we give up.”
Thank you very much. Please DO give up on telling me what I can’t do.
I became the girl that no one wanted to say “Can’t” to because that just made me want it more. I had, “I will because they said I can’t” tattooed on my ribs.
You tell me “CAN’T”…and I will say, “WATCH ME.”
So, yesterday, after I saw the cardiologist and he diagnosed me…I joined a couple of POTS groups on Facebook. I wanted to see what I was in for. I wanted to get information. If this is something I’m going to live with and fight…I want to know.
Or maybe I don’t…
Because…what I saw in these groups were tens of thousands of people who were still living gloriously in their “can’t”. I saw people who said, “Oh I know this is from my POTS…does this make you all miserable, too?” <insert hundreds of comments of people commiserating> “I know I can’t do this because of POTS.” <insert a thousand comments of people agreeing that it’s impossible>
What I didn’t see…was ideas on how to fight it. All I saw was people succumbing. What I saw was people who decided that their diagnosis was their identity.
MY DIAGNOSES (yes, that’s the plural, I checked…lol) ARE NOT MY IDENTITY.
Don’t get me wrong…I understand and have compassion for the fact that everyone has different levels of disability with their illnesses. There are some things that, maybe realistically, can’t be done.
But one thing that I can guarantee you no illness will EVER take away from you without your participation, is your hope.
So…I left those groups already.
Because, please…tell me I can’t.
And I will tell you, “I literally CAN even”.