This Is Me
For the last several months I’ve shared my story of spiritual abuse recovery, as well as my wellness journey, including the valley of infertility and multiple miscarriages. As we move into a sparkly new year, I want to wrap up my reflections on this part of the narrative before shifting gears and focusing more, in coming posts, on the present.
“I am brave. I am bruised. I am who I’m meant to be. This is me.” These words from the stunning anthem in “The Greatest Showman” bring me full circle.
After 18 months of sauna treatments, my electrolytes get out of whack, causing severe headaches. About the same time, a friend recommends a different kind of detox product and I make the switch. Also, about this time, I make an astounding discovery in the most unlikely of places.
Off and on for several years, I’ve worked for an online graduate school for teachers earning their masters’ degrees. I’ve read thousands of research articles and written hundreds of exams. I’ve gotten my own education in higher education, building on my undergrad studies in elementary ed. But, I’ve never done this before.
For a few months now, I’ve been working on courses designed for biology and chemistry teachers. This humanities girl is suddenly geeking out over science. And, my boss asks me to write it: a lecture about the effects of pollution on cell reproduction and regeneration.
I spend hours researching and watching Khan Academy videos to refresh my memory. Meiosis and mitosis, high school biology and chemistry … wow. That feels like ancient history! But, as I dig deeper two things happen:
1) I become more amazed at the mystery of what happens at the cellular level billions of times a day, and
2) I become more alarmed at how pollution is destroying us and our world in a trillion invisible ways, every day.
Deborah Cadbury’s fascinating expose, “Altering Eden: The Feminization of Nature” further expands my thinking. It’s not that toxins are some Godzilla-like monster snatching up people, chewing them up, and spitting them out to die horrifically slow and painful deaths. They’re also not like a nuclear cloud slowly and menacingly drifting over the horizon. Not at all. They are small, tiny bits, sometimes one invisible part to a million or even a billion that come at us from all sides, slink into our cells, cripple our DNA, and cause us to slowly waste away.
People always ask me, “How did you get exposed to all these environmental toxins?” And, up until now, I’ve never known for sure. But, now I do. They’re everywhere. They’re in our water, our food supply, the air we breathe, the personal care products … everything. And those are the things we’re exposed to *after* we’re born. There’s a whole other set passed down mother to child, first via DNA and later through breast milk. Because of the way women detox, their firstborn is likely to receive more toxic download than subsequent children. This helps me understand why, as a first born, I have been more susceptible to some things than my younger siblings.
The knowledge is overwhelming, to be honest. But, guess what?! As I study, I also learn that God has built amazing detox mechanisms into our design. Our skin, liver and other organs, even our cells all have a capacity for scrubbing things clean and putting up a good fight. Trouble is, our world is more polluted today than ever, and our bodies? My body? We reach a tipping point and once out of balance, fall easily into a downward spiral. Without help, it’s hard to recover. Some are better equipped than others. Those, like me, who are particularly sensitive, one author refers to us as the “canaries in the mine,” the weaker ones who, when we start to grow sick and die, serve as a warning to the rest of the population.
About the time I’m ready to slap my laptop closed, crawl into a fetal position and cry, I come across a research article that grabs my attention. Chinese scientists are using plants and their antioxidants to infuse cells with energy to resist the toxic invaders. And it’s working! Antioxidants are like cellular Avengers, swooping in to shore up the resistance, knock out the heavy hitters, and give the cells a fair shot at doing what they’re designed to do. They don’t heal the body, but they give it a fighting chance.
I don’t recognize the botanical name of the power plant, so I Google it after I wrap up the lecture I’m writing for the school. As the information flashes up on the screen, tears well up in my eyes. This miracle plant is the main ingredient in one of the formulations I’ve been taking from Young Living for years. God has been gently leading me in the direction I needed to go. Toward life. Toward hope. Toward the future only He can see.
I recently sat in a darkened theater and watched the story of “The Greatest Showman” unfold across the screen. This cast sang and danced their way straight into my heart. And, I’m singing with them: “I am brave. I am bruised.” So often I’ve thought that bruises were symptomatic of doing something wrong. Punishment deserved for wrongs I’d committed, knowingly or unknowingly. I’ve thought they were evidence of God’s disappointment. Maybe you’ve thought that too?
But, the song goes on to say, “This is who I’m meant to be.” I believe, as I look back at the backstory, that God has been lovingly leading me all along. Yes, there were things others meant for evil, but He was always working them for good. I am bruised because life in a broken world is like that. It doesn’t mean I messed up. (Though I know there are things I brought on myself, for sure!)
Friends, this is me. Bruised a lot. Broken at times. But, brave. And, I will keep on bravely nourishing the possibilities, pressing forward, embracing life and healing as long as God grants me breath. Let’s do it together, shall we?
Click here for more on NingXia Red, the antioxidant beverage I’m loving: https://laurenvandermeer.com/oils-blends/young-living-ningxia-red/