I LISTENED to the Irish Times Women’s Podcast this week.
Guest presented by Marian Keyes and featuring Irish Times columnists Aisling McDermott and Laura Kennedy, it was one I was really looking forward to.
They were on to talk about their newly released beauty book About Face – Aisling being the co-founder of Ireland’s first and wildly successful beauty blog Beaut.ie which Laura also wrote for – and how make-up can be a powerful tool when you’re dealing with the horrors life can throw at you.
During the interview Aisling spoke bravely about her battle with an aggressive and progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis, something she had never spoken publicly about before.
She talked about how she doesn’t ask ‘why me?’ anymore because the answer is always ‘why not me’. How she isn’t bitter because being bitter takes up precious energy and how she didn’t want MS to define her, how she ‘wanted fun in my life’.
I listened intently, physically rooted to the chair, realisation slowly dawning.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have Crohn’s Disease, a chronic, incurable autoimmune disease of the bowel. For many years I have railed against it. Fought it and hated it and asked over and over again, why me? I’ve cried and screamed and written here and elsewhere about it, tweeted it, Facebooked it and almost without realising it, I’ve become defined by it.
It’s true that I hate this disease, it has taken and taken from me and it causes nothing but pain and illness and sadness and I’m angry about it – but listening to Aisling I realised I don’t want it to define me any longer.
I want fun in my life, too.
Of course there are going to be bad days. It IS ok to not be ok. It’s ok to talk about it, it’s ok to feel hard done by and to cry hot ugly tears. But I don’t want this disease to be who I am anymore.
As I listened to these incredibly brave women talking, I felt a real shift in my thinking. I’m done being bitter. That’s not to say there won’t be hard days, there will, but as Aisling so pragmatically said ‘Life happens, doesn’t it?’
Life happens and I feel ready to accept that now.
And I’m choosing fun.