At CaboPress, someone came up to me to tell me that reading my stories of Mark’s stroke (mostly on Facebook) caused them to take action when their blood pressure was high.
(For those new here, my husband Mark had a stroke 2 years ago. He’s recovering and is healthier than ever as he moves towards coming back to a more public voice.)
Most of our conversation in Cabo was about their own experience, but they made sure to thank me for sharing my story. My story of the difficult journey with Mark was what made them take action.
I teared up thinking about how important this person is to their family and how devastating it would be if anything happened to them. They are the foundational rock behind a lot of things. And if I had a small part in encouraging this person to stay healthy so they could continue to be that foundational rock, then I feel like my work is done.
We’re all connected
After that conversation, I started thinking about how we all impact each other. I’ve read really vulnerable posts on blogs and social media that cut to the core of who people are and watched people find their empowerment. The experiments people do in living a better life help me live a better life.
And if I’m completely honest, I’ve left a lot of big pieces out. I don’t tell the story of the day I took on too much and fell to my knees sobbing in my closet. I don’t tell the story of losing my mind at Mark one night because he wouldn’t let me sleep. I have left out a lot of the stories of pure unadulterated incompetence in working with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and how they singlehandedly broke me.
But I wonder if I should.
Does living a more public life provide greater service? How many people keep their vulnerabilities hidden, vulnerabilities that could help others be more empowered?
Security Comes from Learning from Vulnerability
I mean, in the security world, this is what happens. Someone finds a vulnerability, it gets responsibly disclosed, it gets patched, then there is a public release of a proof of concept that educates other developers how to protect against similar vulnerability.
Do humans live this way? Can we?
If I tell you more about that morning I fell to my knees in the closet sobbing, do you learn from it? I learned that even at my darkest, I am still strong and can move beyond weakness. I learned that it’s ok to cry and let those overwhelming feelings out. I learned how important it is for me to journal to do a post mortem on my experience and what was triggering, what was my (sometimes faulty) thought process that brought me to that place.
Carrots and Sticks
I’ve had to lie to Mark to keep him inspired to do his physical therapy. He hates it and would rather just lie there. But I’m finding that as I make more decisions for me, to go to WCUS, to go to CaboPress, he’s finding motivation to want to get better so he can live life with me again.
And as I tell him about my Cabo friend who took action because they read our story, his eyes lit up. That motivation that comes from his big heart to help others makes him want to do better for himself so he can inspire other people to live a better life. He wants people to know that stroke doesn’t end your life, it just creates a different chapter.
As I tell my story and continue my journey, for me, it becomes an inspiration that alleves me from having to lie. My truth and my life becomes an inspiration across the board.
What do you have to say?
Your story isn’t that dissimilar to mine. On the inside, my life is pretty ordinary, boring, and maybe even something abhorrent. Being a caregiver isn’t always easy. But it’s my normal. It doesn’t feel important to me. But to someone else, my normal is a wake up call.
Your normal might be extraordinary to someone else. Maybe your normal is inspiring. Maybe it has a lesson for someone else. Maybe you’re living a cautionary tale.
Maybe your story, like mine, is someting that wakes people up to the importance of taking care of themeselves.
No matter your story, it has the potential to change a life. I wonder how much more I should share about this journey. Because if saving one life or one family from this pain happens from sharing more, then it’s worth it.
What story do you have to tell? What opens up when you share it? You’ll never know until you do.
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