You Could Never Have Imagined…(A Letter to Self)

I’m participating in a 30 day writing challenge called ‘Write Yourself Alive.

The task on Day 2 was to write a letter to the person you think you should have been by now; explaining why you aren’t them and why the person you are now is better.

Talk about a tough foray into the writing challenge! I’m pretty nervous to press publish but here goes nothing! Xx

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Dearest Starbrite,

Do you remember when you bestowed this moniker upon yourself at the age of 5?

It was the middle name that your parents never gave you; meant to help you feel like you fit in at school amongst a sea of other children who were blessed with that all-important middle name.

What you couldn’t comprehend, Starbrite, was that you were always destined to stand out.

There are defining moments in our lives. Oftentimes they are the moments we have visualised, dreamed about, planned for, such as the birth of a child, landing that dream job, finding your soulmate. For you, dear Starbrite, the defining moments have been the ones you never saw coming.

5-year-old Starbrite dreamed of being a ballerina when she grew up. By the time the teenage years rolled around, studious Starbrite entertained visions of exotic travel and high-powered careers: Lawyer. Cardiologist. Neurologist.

Well, babe, you got the Neurologist, just not exactly the way you imagined it.

You didn’t become a Neurologist; you were treated by one.

At 24 you were on the fast track up the corporate ladder: Ambitious, driven, tenacious, competitive; fuelled by an ironclad determination to succeed in all that you took on. Personal attributes that nearly cost you everything, and yet, ironically, are the very tools you had to call on, draw strength from, to save your life.

You could never have imagined that within 3 days of initial onset you would be lying in a hospital bed, completely paralysed, your body systematically shutting down as the chronic autoimmune condition that is Guillain-Barre Syndrome took up residence.

You could never have imagined that you would need to relearn and relive baby’s first milestones all over again, only this time as a young adult. Crawl, walk, talk, feed yourself, dress yourself …the list goes on. Knowing exactly what you had lost and how much it would take to get it back only made it harder.

You could never have imagined that wheelchairs, walking sticks, pain medications and physical therapy would become part of your new reality. That you would be legally recognised as a person with a disability, and yet, because you don’t fit the societal-constructed disability mould or ‘look,’ be subjected to constant scrutiny and comments of “but you don’t look sick!”

You could never have imagined that you would be pushed to the brink of physical pain limits day after day, year after year, with seemingly no end in sight.

You could never have imagined you would still sparkle and shine despite the adversity and the oftentimes shitty cards you have been dealt. You, Starbrite, haven’t been beaten; you won’t be broken. The hard knocks keep coming, and even though you are right in thinking that your crap-quota must have surely been used up by now, you take all that life throws at you, all the lemons, and just keep on making lemonade.

Fear not, Tiny Dancer, for the life lens may be different but you are still YOU. You didn’t lose your sense of self, your core, that inner spunk. You have just crutched and wheeled a different path. You live a life that is all the more enriched because it didn’t play out according to your playbook.

Even though you can’t remember what it feels like to live inside a body that works ‘properly,’ without physical pain or fatigue, I’ve never seen you so vibrant, so alive, as you are right now. There is a peace that radiates from deep within that wasn’t present in your early years. Whilst it’s true that you would quite happily ‘return to sender’ the physical ailments that continue to be your nemesis, the life lessons, connections, love and deep sense of self that you have discovered along your journey – those you wouldn’t trade.

Life is messy but it’s a beautiful mess and it’s all yours. There is no one else you should be, Starbrite, than the person you are, right here, right now.

You’ve got this; we’ve got this.

Bree ‘Starbrite’ Hogan

You Could Never Have Imagined...How Vibrant I Would Be Today

 

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22 Replies to “You Could Never Have Imagined…(A Letter to Self)”

    1. Thank you for your kind words Grady. It was quite therapeutic to write that piece and share it in the online space. Thanks for reading!

  1. This is such an inspiring story! It’s amazing how bad things can help us change for the better. As far as the chronic pain goes, my husband has AS (an acronym because I can’t spell it!) and I know it’s rough on him. It’s rough on me too, but differently, of course. One thing I love to think about is the fact that someday he will have a perfected body, that won’t hurt, that’ll work properly, that will be free from the troubles of this life. It gives me hope!

    1. Thank you Leah. Challenges can either make us or break us and I’m doing my best to make sure that it’s the latter!

      I’m sorry your husband lives with chronic pain. It’s a tough road for anyone who is intimately involved/part of the inner circle, because family and friends live it too. Whilst you may not experience the physical pain, I’m sure it tears you up inside knowing that he feels what he feels and there is a limitation to what you can do to help. I hope that one day he is able to live pain free. It’s certainly still a hope and dream of mine. Stay strong, Xx

    1. Thank you so much Annie. I believe there is always something, no matter how small it may seem, to be grateful for. The challenge can be to find it!

    1. Thanks JoJo. That’s exactly why my 5-year old self decided to self-bestow a middle name upon me…and my family have never let me forget it! I seem to recall the words “Bree Starbrite” written in big letters on my 21st birthday cake. It was always destined to follow me!

      I didn’t think I could write a letter to myself either. It just kind of evolved when I put pen to paper to try out the writing challenge. Have a go and see where you end up. Xx

    1. Thank you so much Laci! The writing challenge did exactly that – challenged me – but it was very therapeutic to see the words unfold as they did. I was pretty happy with the end result. Xx

  2. Oh my gosh. You have gone through such adversity. Sometimes life throws your curveballs and you just have to learn to cope. What a touching letter to yourself.

    1. Thank you so much Chelsea. And yup, when life throws you lemons you’ve just gotta make the best lemonade you can (or chuck the lemons right back, lol!).

    1. Thank you Emma that is really lovely of you to say. If sharing my story can help other people with navigating their own journey then that is a wonderful bonus to my writings. Xx

  3. Love this brilliant piece of writing, thank you for sharing. Your journey of transformation is inspiring, as are You. I feel quite privileged to have met you at this stage in your Life. I’ve learnt that it’s empowering to always view our present selves as new & improved versions of our former selves – thank you for validating that truth. Like I always say, you totally rock Starbrite!☆

    1. As always, Chinagirl, you bring a big smile to my dial with your heartfelt messages of support. People come into our lives for a reason and I am truly thankful for the day you bounced into mine (bearing bliss balls if I recall correctly, yum!) Lets rock it out together Blondie! Xx

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