[Note from Kayla: I've long been bugging my sister and other important folks in my life to write guest posts for this here blog. My amazing sister Traci is the 2nd person to take me up on this, after my mom. As I expected, she gave me an incredibly well-written essay, touching and funny and illuminating. Much love and thanks to T! She is the same T, by the way, behind the art of The Daily Quipple.]
I was up all night worrying about MS research not moving fast enough in the positive ways that we all pray that it will. I actually slept zero hours and zero minutes last night*, because I was worrying about ALL of the things. I think it's because I basically read the entire MS Society Blog just before going to bed, immediately after reading everything I could about find the PML brain infection/JC virus connection and its risk factors for people who rely on the drug Tysabri.
Here are some things my sistar--that's what we call each other, because we see one another as stars in the ways of artistic abilities and how bright we shine ;]--here are some things that my sistar doesn't know.
She does not know that the day I heard her diagnosis, my first day of classes my sophomore year in college, I skipped my evening rehearsal and practice session because I couldn't stop crying in my bed. My roommates didn't know what to do to console me. I didn't really know what her MS diagnosis meant at that time, but I knew that I felt helpless and confused.
My sistar doesn't know that whenever she is hiding a particularly rough time with her MS, I DREAM about her struggling in some way. Yes, I am psychic. Or, we are more connected than we know. I usually find out after the fact that she is indeed having an MS symptom, or having a problem with her insurance which is causing much stress, or something. What she doesn't know is that even if she doesn't fill me in while these things are happening, I know that something is going on before I hear what it is; I know, deep in my subconscious, despite my living across the country (cue creepy music here!). The dreams don't tell me what the problem is specifically, and some of you may be skeptical that this realistic, but I promise you that it's real.**
My sistar doesn't know that I sometimes have entire days or nights of extreme concern, like last night, that MS research isn't moving fast ENOUGH. She knows that I care, that I pay attention to what is going on with the MS Society, and that I'm partaking in a study for higher-risk relatives for developing the disease in the future. I don't tell her about my own moments of despair and disbelief (still, after seven years!) that she deals with even half of what she does. That she has MS at all! We don't often talk about it.
She doesn't know that I've been planning on writing this guest post for a while about how I compare her to a blue heron, but I know that she will take that as the humongous compliment that it is! You see, blue herons build their nests strong and high up from the ground, and the nests that are so firmly built due to sheer determination from the majestic fowl make it so that the herons couldn't fall from the nest if they tried.
photo credit: http://www.
I won't go into how I adopted the blue heron as my spirit animal of sorts (a post for another day?), but I have strived for many years to be like the blue heron. I want to build my nest high off the ground so that I have a clear perspective. I want my "nest" to be strong: made of the best materials, put together in such a way that my "foundation" supports me, even in forceful winds. I have used this analogy first and mostly for my trumpet playing--if I practice the right basic sorts of things, and put them together in a solid way, building on my foundation every day, without choosing a lower branch (the easy way out) or lesser materials...I will never fail. It would be impossible to!
I also use the blue heron as a more general analogy for life. I want to choose the right people, activities, values, career choices, etc., for my life, and I want to use my varied skills to keep building a stronger and stronger life for myself based on what I know is best for me. Blue herons are constantly seeking out sturdy sticks to further fortify their nests. They choose the best materials they can find, they aren't afraid of heights, and they are relentless. See how this could apply to...well, everything?
Anyway, my sistar doesn't know that I believe she is a strong and mighty blue heron. She does so many things, and she does them all well. She is not a blue heron because she has MS, but her MS struggles are like a reoccurring, frustrating, downright UNWELCOME wind that sometimes blusters into a full on blizzard or sandstorm. Whatever the weather, or the forecast ahead, she will be fine, because she is an intelligent blue heron.
Here's hoping for continued, vital research better understanding, preventing, and treating MS, and here's to the blue herons of the world! Thank you for allowing me to guest post, Kayla!
*Mostly for my mother's peace of mind: I made up for my sleepless night by taking a four hour morning nap after having a cup of chai tea and now feel quite well rested!
**So, dear Kayla, now that you know about my psychic abilities, you may want to consider filling me in on such things sooner!
Here's a closing question for all of you reading: How do you channel your inner blue heron?