I have been doing some different things since I found out I might have MS. It got me to thinking about how I want things to be- that and that journal I was reading- the one that said the same stuff over and over again for like two years about cookies and not doing yoga.

Almost three weeks ago I made a promise to myself to walk every day. Do yoga every day. Brush and floss and wash my face before bed. Write each day.

I’m doing it.

It’s kind of incredible what listening to yourself can do for you. I had coffee with my dear friend (my bridge moment friend) and we talked about shame. She’s reading Brene Brown and totally groovin’ on it and made me realize that I want to revisit that book too and got me to thinking about my progress since I read Brene Brown last. The patience I find for myself increases every day, the delight in my own me-ness is such a new and tender thing I’m still surprised when it shows up.

So many of our decisions can be based on shame. I drank because I was ashamed of who I was, and who I wasn’t. Either way I was never good enough. I was full of shame for all the things about me, and I drank to stop feeling so bad about it. Which made me feel bad about that. Then I got sober and I wasn’t ashamed about my drinking anymore but I still hadn’t really looked at the person I wanted to be. For a long time being sober was enough. But then I realized I was still here- and I was still not tuning in to my nature, things were still wonky because I was still not turning to my own true North.

That inner voice is damn hard to hear because it gets overrun by the voice of shame. It all is attached.

There’s something about being told I might have a disease that might put me in a wheelchair. It makes me want to walk. It makes me want to bend and twist and feel my breath. It made me look at of all the time I spend being sorry at my life, at all the time I spend in my head wishing I was one thing yet being another. It’s making me try harder to be good at my life: not good for any one reason other than it is mine.

A while back I listened to Anne Lamott give an interview. She said something that I will never forget: “YOU WILL COME THROUGH.” Until now I didn’t realize that there are two ways to see that. One is that, yes, you will. You will reach the end or the other side. You will, with patience and time, come through all the things. All things good and all things bad- you will come through. I was only thinking of it as it defines the journey, not as it connects my soul to my outer life. Now I can see that not only will I come through, but that I will come through. I will, despite my efforts to not, come through. My self-ness will seep through until I become saturated and unable to ignore my own self.

I do that by remembering that I am no longer ashamed. I don’t have to hide the woman I am because I was so drunk last night and did embarrassing things again. I know my mind, so I can speak it. I can feel strong enough to be who I am in the world without fear. I am connecting these things because I am listening to my voice- my conscience that wants to love and protect me that I mistakenly thought hated me all along.

Once in a while it takes a big something to motivate you to change. Other times it’s just time to be different. But I have always known who I am, in my heart of hearts- I know. I’m working out how to be brave enough to be that person. Although it sounds kind of morbid it helps me to think that one day this life of mine will be over. How will I have wanted to spend it? Fearful and ashamed or at least trying my fucking heart out for the best life I can have? I don’t want to be dying and wishing I’d done the simple things my heart desired. I want to do all the things. I want to live out loud and wide open and unafraid and unashamed with a balance of gentle and strong. But most of all, I do not want to keep wishing for things that are in my power to make come true.

I have a spinal tap scheduled for April 22. The day after my 44th birthday. Then there will be an answer: a yes or a no that changes my life either way. I am not afraid. I am not afraid because I am who I am, I am strong enough to handle hard things and ask for help. Being sober gave me life, and it also gives me something to live for. It gives me the courage. And for that I am forever grateful.