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The "Wu Word" Blog

Today's "Wu Word": "DEFINITION"

No one and Nothing can or will ever define you--
unless you let it.
I just googled "Definition"and over 719,000,000 results popped up.
Wikipedia: "A definition is a statement that explains the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols.
Dictionary.com: "The act of making definite, distinct, or clear"
Merriam-Webster online: "An Act of Determining"
I have had quite a few pity parties in my lifetime.
This is a self-made and self-induced party.  No colorful streamers, helium balloons, sweet cupcakes, and swirled party hats.   Rather, anger, anxiety, fear, and sadness wrap me up tightly and force me into a corner of asking myself:
"Who am I?  Am I only my arranged marital health
that I was somehow destined to be with?" 
Well, last week, I had a full-fledged pity party that was laced with primary party favors of "anxiety" and  "frustration."  The battle of getting better and walking without pain continues on.  My physical therapist prods me on the treadmill with my operated left leg off the treadmill to strengthen the weak weight-bearing skills, while my right leg does a skateboard motion. 
After less than five minutes, I am winded and the arches of my feet hurt so bad that I feel like they are bleeding.  I have every urge to kick the treadmill and yell at my hip: "Get with it and get working! Come on, you can do it, Double L!"  I call my left leg "Double L" for "Left Leg."  Get it??
I spat out angrily to my physical therapist: "I'm so sick of the pain!  The whole purpose of this stupid surgery was not feel anymore pain and to walk more, and I can barely walk on a treadmill because of the pain and my feet hurting so bad!  I can't wait to see the podiatrist tomorrow!"
I could feel that familiar tickle in my throat that was going to set off a bunch of waterworks from me, but anger and frustration stayed with me rather than sadness.  And, that anger lasted all the way to seeing the podiatrist and my osteopath who are broken records with reminding me: "You have flat feet.  You are knock-kneed.  Your poor right leg has been compensating for over twenty years.  You have to be patient."
"Patience!"  I desire to scream and scoff, "I'm tired of being patient!  Let someone else be patient, and let me resume my pity party!"
Both my osteopath and podiatrist are two peas in a pod with giving me arched orthotics and heel wedges to try to alleviate the pronation (my heels moving inward) and "Triple F's" that I have: Fat Flat Feet.  Although I push myself to hang on to patience to try to adjust to these assistive devices for my Triple F's, I grumble to my osteopath at my latest appointment with her: "I thought this hip replacement surgery was supposed to stop anymore pain, but I feel like it is just uncovering and unmasking even more problems like with my knocked-knees and flat feet."
She simply says, "We anticipated this.  Eventually, the pain will go away." 
I can feel myself being consumed and defined by my body and health challenges.  I can feel my body and health challenges taking me over and washing over me and drowning me like a rat until I am forced to 'sink' or 'swim.'   I can feel myself questioning who I really am, and the only person I really am are all these health challenges and problems. 
And, just when I am feel like I am being defined by everything and everyone in my life, I received a literal message from a complete stranger in my inbox today to remind me how we can all feel this way. 
This faceless stranger wrote in her three paragraph email that she read the Kindle version of my book, "Confessions of a Kidney Transplant Recipient," cover to cover.  She expressed that she often felt so consumed and defined by her health experiences that she has questioned who she really is without all these challenges that she has had to face and endure.  She ended with saying that she was definitely going to sign up as a life-saving organ donor, and that she works past everything in her life to define herself.
I read her email at least two more times.   The dim and almost shattered lightbulb from my pity party of frustration and anger was slowly coming to life again.  Suffice to say, this faceless stranger and I could totally relate. 
And, I wondered, how many more people out there felt like they were being defined and even consumed by their health challenges, life experiences, or even by the relationships and people who came into their lives--both good and bad?  Maybe I was not as alone as I thought in my struggle of "Definition of me."  Maybe we are not as alone as we may all think.
I shut down my computer, and walked away.  I stuffed my feet in to my 'New Balance' sneakers that were almost filled to the brim with my experimental heel wedges and orthotics.  I walked outside.  The sun was just starting to come out.
With each step I was forcing myself, the pain started up again in my feet and particularly in my right foot and then traveled up the calf.   I winced and inhaled and exhaled sharply.  I faced the sunshine and that is when I looked down and then looked up again to stare straight ahead with a look of determination taking over my face. 
So, bring on the pain.  So, bring on the health challenges.  So, bring all the glories, beauty, ugly, and unpredictable that life has in store for me and all of us.  I define myself from all of this--and NOT the other way around.  Yet, at the same time, I remind myself that I am more than "the girl with the health challenges," but the typical gal who wants to work full-time, kick back and relax with a funny movie and a good meal, chat with friends, treasure times with my family, fulfill my love for food by going on a simple grocery store outing, and much more.  The definition of me literally moves forward, as I move forward with my walking without pain and without a cane.
Definition consists of the choices that we all make from what we do not necessarily have a choice with.  Definition of self is not being consumed by the challenges and problems we are faced with, but by what you make out of these challenges and problems.  Definition is not being your problem, but being your solution and even beyond that.
No one and nothing can define you-- unless you let it. 

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