By: Amanda Kasper, Regular Contributor
Image courtesy of Sheila Moeschen
“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else.” — Iyanla Vanzan
One of the bravest people I know told me this weekend that really, we deserve to write. Blogging isn't just about journaling, or verbal processing, or having a space to rant out loud. It's about putting things into a community. It’s about finding your voice and saying things out loud. It means putting words to feelings and moments, it means making them real.
In the last two weeks, since the debut of my very first IATG post, I have received comments from both new and old friends tagged with the words “brave,” “strong,” “resilient,” and “inspirational.” Words I would never have thought to use to describe myself, but words that others used, time and time again, to bring tears to my eyes and courage to my heart.
In life, in love, in reality and in our dreams, I sometimes think we fail to realize the power of language. For me, the written word is about more than expressing myself. It’s more than telling my story. I recently realized something pivotal to my own healing: If I can write through it, I can live through it. In the past weeks and months, my strength and spirit have been tested more times than I can count, and sometimes, I feel like just making it through the day is an accomplishment that deserves a reward. But in truth, writing is my outlet. Making sense of moments that are senseless and unfair, hurtful and full of despair, well, for me, means writing through them. It means using words to get to the other side.
Being mindful of the words we choose – words to describe moments and situations, others and ourselves--gives or takes away power in the heat of any moment. One of my favorite and the most passionate bloggers, Nicole Antionette, posted a question recently: “Which three words do you most want people to use to describe you?” If I was honest, with myself and with you, although my life has changed drastically, my words haven’t changed since I chose them several years ago. To be brutally honest, I choose “passionate,” “grateful,” and “empowered.” They’re more than just words I’d like to be described as, they are emotions I’d like to feel, I’d like to live, from this day forward.
To me, Passionate means full of dreams and not afraid to reach for them. To continue reaching for things that inspire me, that make me feel driven and alive, and to ensure my heart is deeply wrapped around each project that comes my way.
Grateful means that not every day is easy, and that many things are unfair; however, I refuse to lose sight of silver linings and the moments and people who make my life better each and every day.
And finally, Empowered relates to both the physical side of my body, my illness, my medical care, and my heart, and to the mental side of being committed to the people and things I love and continue to research ways to have better days. To me, being empowered includes finding the strength to be vulnerable, and to share my story – good, bad and ugly as it happens – in a way that helps others to be brave.
What three words would you use to describe yourself? What do those words mean to you?
About Amanda: Amanda Brooke is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer; seeking space as a patient advocate, public health guru, lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513, and blogs over at Below The Radar, a community she co-founded to create “the opposite of loneliness” for chronic pain and illness warriors, fighters and survivors.