Many years ago, I was told, for what felt like the millionth time, that I couldn’t have had migraines as a very young kid. That I was exaggerating. That I was lying.
I was livid.
I was also on campus, and could only go as far as my mother’s office to get away from the agitator and uncomprehending aggressor. However, I couldn’t get away from their words, or the memories that their words brought to mind. I could remember the pain so clearly. I had taught my body to remember pain by that time. It was out of self defense that I fought nature’s desire to block painful memories. I trained and trained since I was six to remember exactly what the pain felt like. I learned to remember so that I could diagnose myself and know what kind of thing had caused the pain, so I could try and avoid it in the future if possible. I was so good, I could identify 7 or 8 different types of migraines that I was getting, complete with what triggered them, and how best to treat them.
While the knowing how to best treat the migraine was nice, the memories of the migraines definitely fell into the “mixed blessings” category. And that spring afternoon, it was not a good thing. I was wrapped in the memories of my childhood migraines. Of hiding under the stairs at my preschool because the light hurt my eyes. Of going with my mom to her school, because I was in too much pain to go to mine so often that her officemate named his computer “Gretchen” to make me smile. I remembered that in pre-school and like I would do later that afternoon, crawl under my mom’s desk and just hide from the world; desperate to get away from the pain in my head.
And somebody had the gall to tell me that it was all a lie.
So I sat down at Mom’s desk, opened a Word document, and began to type, airing my frustration, the pain, and the memories. Fifteen minutes later, I had a367 word stream of consciousness addressed to my fellow child sufferers.
It wasn’t until 2009, when I was talking with one of my cousins, that I even remembered the stream of consciousness, and I sent it to her. My cousin thought that what I had written needed to be shared.
And thus, My Secret was born.
My cousin was my champion. She found me an illustrator to turn my words into something that could be comprehended by my audience.
I finally put My Secret out there for the world in early 2010. Now it’s 2011, maybe 5 or so years since that fateful afternoon, when I sat down in a fit of pique, and I just Googled my name.
I’ll admit it; I let out a very quiet, but very real, “SQUEE!” and my jaw did, indeed, drop. My name was out there, but not just where I had put it. Other people were picking up on My Secret and spreading the word.
I found a site which had an article promoting my book, and the comments made me want to cry. I had reached my audience! There were parents talking about their children, (chronic kids, I call them) and the parents were sharing their experiences. They were talking to their children, with my book or without it, I didn’t care, but they were getting it. Getting the idea that kids can feel pain. My Secret had accomplished what I never dreamed I could do; touch people’s lives.
I have told them that
It can still be scary when the pain is bad.
I still cry sometimes, …but that’s OK.
I know I’m not alone.
And I’ll tell you a good secret…
Neither are you!
Neither are you!
So to my doubter, my agitator, and my aggressor, I thank you. Your doubt in me has given other people hope. And that has made all the difference.
Quantum in me fuit,