What I Seldom Compare Myself to After I Became Chronically Ill


“I used to be a straight-A student. On top of that, I used to lead this and that team. I was also the best in this and that sport.”

This is a statement I have used and often hear in varying degrees. The other day, I read a similar introduction for the umpteenth time and wondered, “Why do we always compare ourselves against previous successes?” For me, it did feel like I had lost an important chunk of my identity that I was proud of, and I felt sad others would never get to meet that side of me again.

But we seldom compare ourselves to the other wonderful parts of who we were before becoming ill. Why not from beautiful to still beautiful? Certain characteristics that belong to us are the same. Perhaps they have even been polished due to circumstances. These are the qualities that shine and do not fade, regardless of age. Physical accomplishments are wonderful yet are often just a reflection of the nature that has always existed within us.

There are many abilities I do miss from once upon a healthy time. I will not deny that illness has indeed melted me into an unidentifiable, sloppy mass on the ground. But all my core ingredients are still there, and I am ready to shape myself again, with the same magical stuff that I was first made of.

“Character is what you know you are, not what others think you have.” – Marva Collins

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