This past year has been one of enormous growth for me. It has been hugely positive in every way. I have finally embraced the amazing IBD/ostomy community and no longer feel the need to spend every waking moment ashamed of who I am. I needed to get to this point very badly in my life and am so thankful for all of the people who have played a hand in helping me get to where I am today.
I have learned a lot about myself this past year and writing this blog for six months has also really helped me to sort through a lot. One of the things that I have been struggling with but have recently come to look at as just another opportunity for growth and to learn is the fact that I need to adjust my life to work with my current personality.
Let me explain.
My mom has told me the story of my first grade teacher as an example of this a lot. Mrs. McGowan retired a few years after she taught my class following probably a 40 year career. She gave the same assignment every single week. Monday was spelling, Tuesday was reading, Wednesday was math, etc. She was probably teaching like that since she first entered the field. Every day in her class was exactly the same. Parents complained. Kids were going bonkers. When my brother got her as a teacher, my mom immediately knew she wasn’t right for him because Jeremy’s personality is just different. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. But I thrived in that environment.
As I have stated many times, I do well in a structured, routine oriented environment. So being in a classroom where I knew exactly what was expected of me each week, with ample time to prepare and plan, took all of the guessing out of it for me. I knew exactly what to expect when I stepped foot into that classroom every day. There was no mystery and very little unknown. Therefore, I exceled in this class with this teacher. Jeremy, as I mentioned, would have failed miserably most likely because he would have been bored out of his mind.
I am trying to come to terms with the person that I am today. I know I always had a tendency to seek comfort in these controlled settings but I also know that my illness has magnified everything by a million. This is all part of accepting who I am. It isn’t just about accepting what I have been through or that I have an ileostomy. There is so much more to it. I am trying to come to terms with who I am as a complete person in terms of where I belong, what I need and where I might do well in the world. These are all things that have been really difficult for me because there is just so much to deal with.
I wish I didn’t have to be so regimented. I wish I could let things play out easier and be okay with that. I wish I didn’t need to plan out so many things. I wish I could be more go with the flow.
“I wish, I wish, I wish…”
I have recently come to realize that fighting this part of me and wishing that I could be different in this respect is only hurting me. I am who I am. This is my personality. I am someone who has always found comfort in routine and while yes, IBD has exacerbated my need for control and order to the nth degree, this is who I am and I am not changing this part of me anytime soon.
There is a difference between things about yourself you would like to work on and key personality traits. When a person tries to change or fight a key personality trait of theirs or someone else’s, it is a recipe for disaster. It is like fighting the essence of who you are. Sure you can change for a day or two. Possibly longer but it will take its toll in some shape or form because it isn’t who you really and truly are.
This is something that I think is important for everyone to remember. You can’t change the core of who you are so stop fighting it.