I received a copy of my book today. It seems surreal that It has been well over 5 years since I was bitten by a tick and two and a half since I have been treating it. It seems even more surreal that somewhere in that recovery I wrote about my story, I feel like I can’t really recall how or when that happened.
As much as I wanted the book to share the misunderstanding and misinformation about Lyme so that others could protect themselves…It is much more about the lessons I learned about myself and life that are often right in front of us. We rarely can see them through the crazy, hectic experiences of daily life. If there is a blessing in all of the loss you experience with Lyme; physical and mental abilities, job, money, often housing and friends and family, it is the ability to see yourself and what life is about much clearer than you ever possibly could before. I wanted to share those revelations and moments of clarity so that maybe they will help others live a better life too.
But, when the book arrived and I opened it up it became clear, the fact that this book was written at all, was a much greater lesson than anything in the book. The reason being, I am probably one of the last people who should write a book. I almost failed grade 9 &10 English. I was told I just couldn’t write, it wasn’t in me and they had tried to help but didn’t know how. I was just not going to be good at writing and I had to accept that.
Thankfully, it didn’t end there because of an English teacher who not only restored my faith in me, he taught me a very valuable lesson about life. He explained that I seemed to have given up before I had tried. But the truth is I simply believed what everyone was saying about me. He taught me some fundamentals about essay writing in a way that finally made sense to me. He gave me tips on how to organize my thoughts, provide more detail, explanation, and context to what I was trying to explain. But more than all of that he gave me the ability to believe in myself. It would take extra effort and work to write what might come much more naturally to someone else, but I could still do it. I would never become an English major that was for sure, but I still had something to share and there was value in it.
I am so grateful for that experience in my life because the fact that it was harder for me, helped me to gain the tools that would help me record my story when I was very, very sick. And the fact that I believed my story was worth something, made sure that I didn’t lock it up inside. It helped me heal, I hope it helps other thrive and most of all I hope it teaches people to believe in themselves, even when everyone else may suggest otherwise.
It also made me realize that maybe our purpose is found in our struggles. Maybe the experiences that seem to tear us down, show our weaknesses or strive to make us feel worthless are the very places we should look to find our purpose. Maybe, just maybe when we have the hardest time and feel the worst is exactly what we are meant to overcome and share. Maybe our greatest strength is not what we do best but what has been the hardest and we persevered. Maybe that’s what we each have to offer the world…our very worst. Because if we overcome that we find our very best. And what if our ability to share our worst shows someone else that it is okay to acknowledge theirs, find help, seek out solutions and overcome. We don’t need to be defined by our weaknesses, we just need to not be afraid of them. With help and effort, they can become the best gift we have to offer the world.
My book, Two Week Window; Living with Lyme and Thriving in Life, is certainly not a literary masterpiece. But it is real, its true and I do believe my purpose in writing it was to help others, hopefully many. I also believe we all have a story to tell and should tell it, there is much healing to be gained by delving into your darkest moments and much you can offer the world by sharing. But most of all, I am grateful for the experience of a teacher that taught me to believe in myself, even when all the evidence suggests otherwise. This book is available simply because of that. So Mr. Smith (aka Smitty) – thank you!
I hope when you read this book it inspires you to believe in yourself. The fact that it exists is proof that ANYTHING is possible!