April is not only my birthday month, it's National Poetry Month here in the US.
I've loved and written poetry for as long as I can remember. To me, it's as necessary as the air I breathe. So it was natural for me to incorporate my illnesses into my writing when I started progressing from episodic migraine to daily chronic, when depression had the upper hand, when traumatic memories came knocking, and when life in general dealt out lemons.
It's also my self therapy (I despise journaling personally) and a part of how I reach out to others...nothing says "me too" like reading your own thoughts, struggles, pain, loves, or triumphs in blazing emotion from another person.
And there's nothing like that "I'm not the only one" moment. I know because I've been there--from being an abuse and domestic violence victim to motherhood to depression to chronic illness to life in general to beautiful moments.
Turning pain into poetry...into a blog post...into art...into outreach...into advocacy...into connection with others.
I have never subscribed to the belief that our struggles are given to us as part of a mysterious greater plan/purpose or to better us, because I don't believe God is that cruel ("Oh, let's take her niece, because then she'll write an article about grief that helps others"...seriously? That's not the God I follow), but I DO strongly believe that we can turn anything into an opportunity to help others.
In doing so, we give it our own purpose.
This National Poetry Month, I'm celebrating that purpose.