by Katie Steedly Curling, PhD, Writer & Guest Blogger for TSF
Buddhists say be grateful to everyone and everything. Gratitude for things like our best friends, our families, chocolate, high thread count sheets, and bubble bath is easy. Gratitude for challenging people and situations is tough. It requires a lot of patience and practice. When living with a chronic condition like TS, bracing for the next health issue can feel constant. “Thank you” might be the last words you want to utter. I want to flip the pain and fear script. Would I have chosen to have TS? No. Given that I do, I choose to live positively.
I am truly grateful for TS.
TS is a major cause of miscarriages. Simply being alive on this earth is statistically improbable for people living with TS. That fact startles me every time I am confronted with it. That reality teaches me that each day is a true gift that is meant to be fully lived. TS frames small and big things with a sense of wonder and possibility. In a world where we can live at a full throttle pace, TS teaches me the value of slowing down. I am grateful for that.
I possess a “watch me” attitude that has repeatedly defied odds, proven naysayers wrong, and built strength that I might not have otherwise known without TS. I did not let my diagnosis define my life goals. I did not let test scores, that were never very good, determine what I want to learn. I did not stop creating just because it takes me a little longer to create. I did not stop dreaming because people like me were not supposed to dream. Several times in my life I have felt like steel – able to do anything I put my mind to. I am grateful for TS steel.
TS has also given me a profound sense of compassion and empathy for others, and an abiding belief in the value of our differences. Having always been different, I understand the battles all people face more completely. Telling my TS story has made me aware that everyone has a story. From there, our differences are strengths. We are on this journey to see and be seen; to love and be loved. TS is a reminder to be gentle with myself and others. That is a good thing to remember.
As you sit down this month to give thanks, consider the way in which TS has touched your life. Think about all of it. Think about how your life has been impacted by TS for better and worse. Write your own story. As you write your story, consider gratitude.
Sharing your story takes courage. Finding gratitude within the difficult moments requires practice and patience, as Katie mentioned. However, choosing to do both can help you live positively and connect more deeply with the TS community. We invite you to share your story this holiday season and find gratitude for you TS journey.