Have you ever come across a person in life that just knocks you back a few steps? Not literally, that would be quite unfortunate, but figuratively. Until just a few short months ago I had not had this happen to me. I have not met a person that amazes me the way this person does now. We will call her Optimus Prime or OP for short.
OP showed up randomly. I had known her for many years. We graduated from the same high school. To be honest, I didn’t really like her that much back then. I found her arrogant and quite frankly, just a bit snotty. Haha. But the old saying “people never change” could not be further from the truth with OP. The girl I knew back then is no where near the woman that I know now.
The woman I have had the please of getting to know has really grown to be a beautiful and strong woman. She is one of my biggest motivators, challengers, and she is the person that inspires me daily. I say my biggest challengers because despite her struggles she kills me in our step challenges on fitbit every single week. I do not think there has been a single week where I have won, and if I did you can guarantee it was because she forgot her watch. Haha.
OP has Multiple Sclerosis . If you aren’t familiar please read up on it. I really had no clue what it was until hearing OP’s diagnosis and story. I will not go into great detail as it is not my story to share, but if you know anyone who has ever been diagnosed with MS, ask them! I am sure they would be more than willing to tell you!
I was brought into OP’s life again by chance and at first I was weary at first. I did not know how far she had come. I had followed her for some time on social media but lets be real, you never truly know someone through their social media. You only see what they allow you to see. So in the beginning it was a bit awkward. We weren’t sure if we should share or keep to ourselves. With time those walls came tumbling down. I got to see the woman she had grown into and how she was fighting her disease head on. Did I mention she kicks my ass on fitbit weekly?
Just recently she started going through a relapse. I could tell it was starting to bother her but she kept on smiling. She kept moving on with her life, dealing with one symptom after the next. Had you just met her, you would not have even seen it because she marched right through it with such grace.
She is a mother to an awesome little boy, to whom I stole the nickname from. She is a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend. MS does not define her nor does it stop her from living life to her maximum potential. She does not let it bring her down or make her unhappy. She fights through it. Even on her darkest days she is still one of the happiest, most humble people I have ever met. She has taught me that there is more to life than just your struggles. That your struggles do not define who you are.
Over the last few months I have gotten to watch her. I have watched her struggle with her MS and even without, but the one thing I have noticed is that she always finds a reason to smile. She doesn’t let the weight of her diagnosis stop her from living the most meaningful life she can. She challenges me daily to do the same whether that be through fitbit or telling me I’m being a big baby. She encourages me to look at the positives and not dwell in the negative. To look forward to each day.
You can choose to let your struggles drag you down or you can find your happiness in the midst of them. The choice is yours.