Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Hero's Heart

I had trouble picking up the coffee pot this morning.  Arthritis…I think I have more trouble with the psychological aspects than the pain, I really do.  

I’m remembering being 31 and beating two grown men who jumped me.  I had just had my daughter two months before (a Caesarian) and she was in her car seat, in the car, when I was attacked.  I remember other times when physical strength was a blessing…not just during times of crisis, but in daily life.  In being able to do things for myself and hold my own when working with others.  

And when my legs, feet and lower spine started affecting my ability to walk and stand I can remember how precious and exciting it was to discover kayaking.  It was an activity that I could do using my upper body strength; it allowed me to be and feel active and I loved it – until I became ill with fibro.
But even with the fibro, I could still lift coffee pots.  More than anything else that my body has experienced, the arthritis makes me feel weak.  Makes me feel helpless and dependent.  I’m struggling with that right now.  I know the pain is related to the cold weather, with temps below 30 degrees many mornings.  And I know that I’ll adjust and adapt, it’s just being in the ‘how’ stage that is uncomfortable.

Multiple crises in my life have taught me that I am strong.  Not just physically, but emotionally as well.  I am not afraid of taking action; I’m not afraid of stepping in and doing what needs to be done or of defending others when it's needed.  

 I have no idea where it came from, but I have a hero’s heart.  I can see that so clearly now.  And that heart has made a difference, not just for me, but for others as well.

From living through a revolution in a ‘third world’ country at the age of 6; surviving years of abuse and neglect; an abusive marriage; many, many multiple miscarriages and a near death experience; being hit by a car; single parenthood and poverty; to surviving a bombing and the resulting homelessness at the age of 36, I have survived.  
In being called to work in social services; in advocating for myself and others; in speaking in public and giving workshops; in using my life experiences as fuel to make a difference; I have survived.

I have been true to what has meaning in my life and am learning more and more to be true to myself .  I have grown, I have triumphed and I KNOW that there are so many different kinds of strength other than the physical.

If I hold these memories close right now, it is because they remind me of who I am and what I’m capable of.  They give me strength for this part of my journey, traveling through my personal ‘undiscovered country’ and seeking new ways of being in the world.
Yes, I may have trouble lifting the coffee pot.  But I can still hold my grandson and hug my kids!  I can still create and craft.  I can write, type and read.  I can advocate.  And I can see, feel and cherish all the good, all the light, that life has to offer.  I’m still learning.  Part of the wonder of being human is our ability to learn, to change, to adapt, to grow and to choose, in each moment, what our perceptions and focus will be.   

What are you choosing? 


  1. You have just made a difference even in posting this today. You are right, you do have a hero's heart and the strength to overcome. Thank you for sharing and for continuing to champion others and good for you for being able to recognize your strengths!

  2. Cynthia, Thanks so much for posting this. After all you have been through I understand completely why you are so strong!

    You can be strong through the arthritis too. I've had arthritis in all my joints for about 20 years started with an unknown virus which left me bedridden for weeks and I've had painful joints ever since. With you strength of spirit you will overcome the pain of arthritis too.

    For me, it was about accepting that I'm going to have pain every day, and I can't take more and more pills and potions prescribed by doctors (who often don't know what they're doing) with the pills causing yet more problems. I had to accept that this pain is with me, to a greater or lessor degree every day. After all you have been through I feel sure you will take this in your stride as you have so very much more with other challenges in your life.

    This day it's the pain in my neck that's the major causes bad headaches and is so constant...very hard to 'raise above' but I must ... I'm alive, and grateful for time you can get used to the pain....acceptance is a big part of that. Good luck lovely Cynthia.

  3. I'm go glad you didn't let your hesitation stop you, Cynthia! Absolutely, you were right to publish this -- it makes you come even more alive to your readers/admirers, and inspires with its message of "I can do anything". You are simply amazing to me, as you make your way through difficult days still smiling & blessing others. We can only hope that those blessings will come back to you in multiples!

  4. Gabrielle, thank you for the validation - that's so huge! Sharing so much of myself felt so risky. I didn't know where the phrase 'a hero's heart' came from, but it felt so totally perfect.

  5. beautiful Cynthia, what a testament to your one of your biggest assets..your optimism and wise perspective. You are inspiring!

  6. Kat, I so very much appreciate your words and what you've shared with me. You're an inspiration!
    Like you, I prefer not to take multiple meds - even when I still had medical coverage and meds were easy to get ;)
    I've enjoyed being connected to you via groups and FB. Your creativity, your grace, your humor and now your courage. I'm so very glad to know you!

  7. Wow Beth! Your comment made my heart sing! Thank you so much for both your words and your wishes :))

  8. I love you Cynthia! You have alway been a example of strength to me. As a single mom you have showed me that you can make it as a single mom, you just have to find your strength and stay strong. You are forever cherished and loved by me and Brieana.

  9. very nice post. Keep it up!

  10. Faith, I love you & Brie too and miss you both tremendously! You know that I'm still here for you, even if I've moved across state. When am I getting some pics?? Lol!

  11. You were already a hero in my mind and I'm sure that others will agree that too.We have taken your strength to help us through our own trials, and we are standing by to give you the lift you may need all you need is ask.

  12. Thanks Janice - for the compliment AND the encouragement :)

  13. Lamargo, you are one of the first friends that I made online - seems so long ago now, lol! Good memories :) Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me with your friendship. I am so lucky to know you!

  14. Cynthia this is a beautiful,uplifting and inspiring post from a very strong, vibrant woman who (and this is secondly) happens to have arthritis. You are special and your many strengths show through and will always carry you through.
    By the way, you are not just beautiful inside, but on the outside too, what a lovely bright open smile and eyes.... stay happy and positive my friend
    hugs June

  15. Hi,
    I've been allocated 5 sites to award a Lieber award for inspiration and interest... I love your blog, so I think you should have one.
    Please check back to my blog to receive your award and pass it on.x Kal


Thank you for leaving your comments; I read and appreciate them all! Cynthia