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What Being 'Mighty' Means to Me

When I first heard about The Mighty, I was intrigued yet somewhat skeptical. My other experiences with social media left me uncertain if I would ever again attempt an online presence. The toxic negativity abounding on the internet had resulted in a knee-jerk reaction to run the other way whenever faced with the opportunity to connect virtually. After several months of feeling frustrated, invalidated and just plain ignored by the medical community at large, I decided to give The Mighty a “toe dip” try. I’ve always been the type to test the water before jumping in. So, I very cautiously took my first steps… steps that, unbeknownst to me, were about to change my life.

I came to The Mighty looking for understanding, not only from others about my situation, but for me about my situation. I had received very little from the myriad of specialists I’d seen. What I found was so, so much more! I discovered that although I am unique, I am not alone. There are more stories from other Mighties that are like mine than I’d ever imagined. I found information, knowledge and wisdom freely offered in the spirit of compassion. I learned and am still learning so much all the time. I saw a vast network of individuals from all walks of life coming together to support, uplift and celebrate one another. What I didn’t find was toxicity, negativity nor malice. The things I had feared, because of my earlier experiences, were absent on this platform. It was/is an oasis of understanding and acceptance.

Although I am a “dip my toe first” kinda gal, that by no means keeps me from jumping in once I’ve determined the water is pleasant. And jump I did! I began posting and responding to other’s posts regularly. I quickly made several friends, and even joined up for the monthly snail mail Card Exchange. Before I knew it, I had become a Mighty. I found myself waking with something to look forward to each day. Maybe today I’d be there for a friend in need, help celebrate someone’s awesome victory or get some much needed support without judgment. No matter the situation, it was all good. And all good was something I hadn’t had in awhile.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Self-Care Lounge group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Taking care of yourself is important, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Join the Self-Care Lounge group so you can prioritize you. Click to join.

Then one day I realized that my Mighty friends were more… I had found a home, a place to belong. I had found a family. As in all good families, I had received unconditional love, support, understanding, caring, assistance and wisdom. I had been given a safe, healthy, loving environment in which to thrive.

Because of my Mighty family, I have been able to reconnect with parts of myself I’d left behind long ago. I am becoming stronger each day. Reaching out to the world around me and striving to make a positive impact in the ways in which I am able. The Mighty has empowered me to give of myself to the community and embrace my love of helping others. Due to ableism, I had long felt like I was incapable of giving beyond my own immediate family. I couldn’t do what was required within many organizations, so I had no value… I was worthless. The Mighty rips down that lie and makes a place for all of us, regardless of ability, to contribute and be involved.

So what does being a Mighty mean to me? In short… everything! It means my world has opened up, my family has expanded and I have blossomed. I am now a Mighty Warrior who gives of myself more freely and fully. It means I matter, I am loved and I make an impact. I am worthy and a valuable member of society. I am Mighty!

So are all of you! Love and gratitude to my Mighty fam! You guys are the best! A special thank you to BiggMatt for suggesting I write something for The Mighty before I realized I had it in myself. Also, special thanks to BradSkaggs for encouraging me to share my writing. I know it’s not a poem, but it’s a start.

Getty image via Irina_Strelnikova