Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Some days, Heavenly Father, I just can't.

"There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees."

-Victor Hugo

Rosebushes in the backyard of my host family's beautiful home

(Take a deep breath and dive in, dear readers. This is a deep one).
I've been trying to figure out for a few days now just how to write this post.
But after awhile, I decided, this is my blog, I'm going to write it like my diary, and that's all that matters!
So if it's a little everywhere, I do apologize.
Reading the entire post kind of goes into everything I was feeling, but if you don't want background info, skip to the end-ish.

This past Friday was a particularly hard day, and it's taken a lot of time to try and figure out how to put it into words, because on the surface it doesn't seem all that hard.

But Friday happened, and it was basically a combination of all of my weaknesses, and difficult experiences of my past brought out of the places I try to keep them hidden away, all brought together at the same time, leaving me raw and hopeless at the end of the day.

But I learned a great lesson.  As long as the Lord is on my side, no matter where I am,
I can find peace.


So this isn't on my "They Call me Birdie" page or anywhere else on my blog (I don't think) so far, mostly because it hasn't been relevant, and I don't like to complain.

But I guess now is the time when I come out and let you all know that I wasn't born entirely whole.

I have congenital hypothyroidism.

Which means either I was born without my thyroid, or the one I have is just fully nonfunctional.

Now, don't freak out. 
It's not life threatening.
In fact, it's barely even a big deal.

and thousands upon thousands of people have a similar or the very same condition. But normally it develops over time, not right at birth.

I have lived with it my whole life, having to take pills every single day, and it's just part of life.  Asking me what it's like living without a thyroid is like asking a twin what it's like to be a twin.  It's really no big deal. 

Except, it does cause a few annoyances I'd be perfectly happy to do without:
Taking 4 thyroid related (and 5 other vitamin) pills every morning
The weird pH level of my saliva means that I can develop a cavity faster than you can say, "donuts, gummy bears, and ice cream."
My eyebrows sometimes get embarrassing bald spots that I have to remember to fill in every morning
I get those really horrible spells of insomnia.
And my knee.


So I have mild tendonitis and a buildup of fibers under my kneecap that cause the pieces to grind together everytime I bend my knee.
For the most part, my it is fully functional and is just a mild annoyance instead of a full blown problem, unless somebody or something hits it really hard right on top of the kneecap.  
When that happens, everything in my body tenses up and I feel like nothing but sheer pain and wanting to die for a few seconds, and then I'm fine.

But sometimes...
It just decides to be weak.  It can't function on certain surfaces without shooting pain all the way up to my shoulder, and after awhile I literally have to stop walking. 
And I feel like an idiot and so embarrassed because a 19 year old girl who enjoys being active should not, in my opinion, be having, excuse the phrase, "old lady problems" like this.
And the worst part is, I literally can't find a single logical explanation for why it has to be this way.  I didn't injure it, I live a healthy life otherwise, and I love to stay active.
I know it has something to do with my thyroid, but MRI after MRI and doctor visits can't give me any sort of consistent diagnosis or advice.
So my tendons, kneecap, and muscles are slowly deteriorating and the way it looks, there's just simply not a whole lot I can do about it.

So after already having been denied a steroid shot by the BYU health center to clean out the fibers before leaving the country, I got here and realized I had completely just spaced on bringing my emergency brace and not-quite-Dr. House-strong painkillers, I just prayed and prayed and made bets with myself as to how long blissful painlessness would last before the constant walking around brought about the inevitable.

3 weeks. Not even halfway.


So now, let's add to this and finally start approaching the actual point of this post.

So this particular day, I had already stayed up until 3 a.m. due to a nasty combination of my normal insomnia and working very hard on my latest take-home exam. So I was already tired.  But I managed to get some sleep before my 7 am alarm sounded.


And after waking up, my day proceeded like this:

Forgot my test. Went to turn it in and then just...didn't have it.

Proceeded to freak out because I wasn't sure if I just left it at home or it fell out on the metro or something.  In the case I left it at home, I had literally no idea when I would be able to make the 2 hour round trip back to get it. And in the case I lost it altogether, well....I didn't want to think about that.
(when we finally went back home though, I found it hiding under my laptop! Whew! And got permission to bring it to my professor at our group dinner-read below-for full credit)

My knee....nuff said.

And finally, were going to meet up for a group dinner that night at 7 pm. When we walked the ten minutes (on cobblestones-knee no-likey) to the metro stop, I realized after we arrived that I forgot my metro pass, having decided to change my jacket literally 30 seconds before walking out the door. 

I tell my roommates to go on ahead, I'll catch up, because we were already going to be at least 15 minutes late.

I do the 20 minute painful roundtrip walk back to get my effing metro pass.  I would  have just chanced it had I not seen someone getting majorly fined for not having it just that morning.

So, now 35 minutes behind schedule, I wait for the stupid at the station for ten whole minutes (they usually come every 2 or 3), and I realize I don't have a map and only vaguely remember the stop they told us to get off at. So after another 45 minutes finally finding what I thought was the stop....I had no idea where to go.

After looking around for someone who didn't look too intimidating and might understand me despite my imperfect French, I finally found the street and there, at least an hour late, like a heavenly beacon, was the restaurant. 

When I got inside, there was literally no space and I felt like such a nuisance, having to make people rearrange to make room and catch up with whatever parts of the meal I had missed but had already been paid for by the program.  And I was so flustered and it was so crowded, the restaurant was literally, pardon the expression, "hot as hell." At that point, after all I had been through to get there, I just wanted to go home.

If you skipped over the rest of this post, read from here on!

So after all of this, I felt pretty raw.  Like, I wanted nothing more to do with this day.
It doesn't sound so bad all written down, but the things that were going on inside my head throughout all this, like I said, brought to the surface so many personal things I wanted to hide.

Physical incompetence (stupid knee)
Completely unnecessary absentmindedness
How completely inefficient everything about the day was.
My tendency to get flustered too easily
My utter incapability of explaining myself
Feeling so so just....stupid

and dwelling on all this led to

Doubt for the future (missions, marriage, etc.)
I won't be able to find a job when I get back to Utah
My love life has been an epic fail, and I'm epically dweeby hope there.
I'm a disappointment (which brought up a whole lot of family junk)

I'm perhaps a bit more liberal than you're average molly mormon girl.  I won't explain or make excuses or try to rationalize it, but I let's just leave it at this: I love Shawshank Redemption and Fight Club and I'm not offended in the slightest by the nudity in the museums.

But I do know that I am closer to my Heavenly Father now than I could have ever thought possible. I have a testimony that knows no bounds.

So I can't help but feel a bit like a bad person compared to all of these amazing spiritual giants who always dress modestly, never swear, read their scriptures every day, etc.

And this is where Heavenly Father entered the picture and showed me why it all happened-keep reading! I promise you're almost there!....ish. I hope.


If you've noticed from my pictures, one of my roommates, Char, is a bit older than the rest of us.  Such a brave woman, being 54 and away from her husband for the first time in 34 years.....for 6 weeks!
She has been my guiding light throughout this whole experience and made me feel like I have a real family away from my family.

So when I walked into her room to let her steal pictures from my memory card, we started just some small talk, and then out of nowhere I was beside myself with tears.

I told Char everything that was on my mind, which would probably shock and scare away the average listener.  But instead of judging or telling me not to feel this way, she pointed out some things and I learned things about myself that I would never have known if we didn't have this conversation, which wouldn't have happened without this horrible day.

She promised me without a single question that Heavenly Father knows why my leg is the way it is.

She told me that there's no way on earth I'm a bad person. She didn't even know half the stuff I told her about myself or my past with my family, but she said that one of her very first impressions of me was that I was one of the strongest, most inspiring people she'd ever met.

She reminded me that I helped convert one of my best friends, one of God's children, to the gospel simply by friendship and setting a good example.  God wouldn't allow me to be a spokesperson for the gospel and have it all work out if I wasn't standing for the right things.

She told me I was absolutely beautiful. And (Big fat disclaimer: This is not to make me sound cocky at all.  Just mentioning it because it is relevant to how I feel), to be honest.  It's not something I've never heard before.  But it honestly gets very difficult and discouraging when people (boys) become interested in me for the way I look, develop some kind of false image of who they expect me to be, and then completely leave me in the dust without a warning.

Char told me that somehow, someday, when I least expect it, someone will come along that loves everything about me. Who loves my obsession with fashion and Harry Potter alike, who admires my desire to become more than just a babymaking housewife, who respects the fact that I want to serve a mission and even if I don't have the opportunity that I want to share the gospel with every person I can reach, who wants to travel the world with me and teach me things I don't know.  

He's out there somewhere, and I surprise myself sometimes at how much my priorities have changed.  I don't mind waiting, but what I never expected was...
 to want to not have to wait.....
if that makes any sense. Think about it.

So when Char was telling me not to be afraid of the unknown, she told me that right now my testimony is my greatest strength, and that my time has not yet come to be with the man of my dreams. 

 My purpose is now to continue to be strong, and continue to be me, and try to love every minute.
Weak leg, thyroid-less, absentminded, with some rough teenage years with my family and every hard day that comes.

My purpose is to approach life full force with kindness, hope, faith and optimism for everything the Lord has in store for me, and to know that He is going to give me rough days, but like this terrible day, I will learn from them.

*All photos except the first are of Parc Monceau in Paris, France. All originals.

I would say sorry about another ridiculously long post, but I'm not. I really just needed to vent and express my combined frustration and gratitude that I sometimes have about life. This experience taught me firsthand that even though I am in living Paris, France (!!!), I am still a part of real life and therefore subject to its up and downs just as everyone else.  I still have lessons that must be learned to prepare me for whatever Heavenly Father has next for me in his plans.

If you made it through that whole thing, you deserve a cookie.  Or maybe just a sincere compliment. Which I am more than happy to give out.  If you need your day brightened the way I definitely did this day, leave a comment below and I will do that for you!

All my love, B.


SydneyHughes92 said...

Friday and Sunday were some of the hardest days of my life, by far. Whoo for rough days. But it is absolutely amazing how the Lord works. I love you and I love Char and I love how despite everything that happens in life, the Lord gives us peace. I'm so glad that you found it!! Now I think it's time we treat ourselves to some macarons. What do you say? :)

Nea said...

My mom doesn't have a thyroid at all! She had the first half removed after high school and the other half removed when I was very small. Unfortunately when they removed the second half she had a heart attack because of the surgery shock. At one point she was taking over 40 pills a day! Now she's down to only three but you can definitely tell if she doesn't take one-- she sleeps all day. She has to drink a lot of caffeine to stay up at all sometimes.