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If you regularly read my blog, then you know that I chipped my tooth last week fighting with the vacuum cleaner hose. If you don’t regularly follow my blog, now you know, but what you might not know, is that I also had an ensuing melt down.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the entire incident and I’ve come to a few conclusions. The first, I already wrote about…that I need to learn to slow down and walk away when something is frustrating me.

But there were actually a lot of lessons to be learned from my battle with the vacuum and one of the most enlightening for me is that I too often find myself having to learn things the hard way. Apparently, I am a master at denial. I am quite good at swallowing negative emotions and pushing them into dark corners.

The problem with being so good at this is that the feelings don’t go away, not really. I’ve only hidden them. So, eventually I run out of dark corners to put them in and BOOM! They come rushing out and smack me. In the case of the vacuum cleaner hose, quite literally.

I think to face the demons of living with a chronic condition every day would be impossible. Sometimes, I think it IS healthy to push away the fears and physical pain and just try to live and to live as normally as possible. But, if there is something that my recent melt down taught me while I sat in the dentist’s chair yesterday getting my tooth repaired, it is this…there must be balance.

I need to learn how to better manage the complex emotional baggage that comes with a life with sarcoidosis, so that I don’t actually have to physically hurt myself to recognize the pain I am in. I want to stop learning things the hard way.

It’s okay to be strong but I am learning that a big part of strength is also making room for fears, doubts, sadness and uncertainty and that perhaps real strength comes not from denying these emotions, but from recognizing them and then accepting them for what they are.

I am afraid. It is hard to live with the every day ups and downs and uncertainties of this disease. It does make me sad and I do doubt myself now. I question who I have become sometimes. I don’t know how I couldn’t. I don’t let this disease define me but it has changed me. I must accept that this is my journey. I cannot deny it. It is part of me.

So, today I acknowledge that there are dark corners of hidden emotion. Today I accept that my fears and weakness are also my strength. Today I will embrace the unknown and face my doubt with certainty that, one way or another, it will all be okay.

Today I will accept balance into my life. Today I will let go of denial. I will embrace this journey for all it is intended to be and maybe the lessons will come with a little less pain or at least fewer trips to the dentist.