Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
— Mary Oliver, The Uses of Sorrow
When darkness arrives at our doorstep—whether it is in the form of disappointment, grief, bitterness, or loss—we tend to look at it as something terrible. We try to connect the dots between our past and our present. What did we do, or what misstep did we take that resulted in this bad thing that happened to us? It is in these moments that we find ourselves quietly—or maybe not so quietly—saying, "why me?"
Here's the thing—we are not in control of the "box full of darkness" given to us. We don't control how it arrives, who brings it, or how long it decides to stay. What we can control is our response to it. We can choose to sink deeply into the weightiness of the negative emotions, or we can learn to see the darkness as something uplifting—as a gift.
I realize that you may still be reeling from your MRKH diagnosis and unable to see any light in the "box of darkness" that has been given to you, no matter how long ago it was. But trust me, it's there—you have to choose to find it.
Over time, I’ve discovered the gifts my MRKH diagnosis has given me. Here are just a few:
I am more than my diagnosis
Although MRKH has had a significant effect on all aspects of my life, it is not who I am. I am a dedicated friend, a daughter, a sister, a lover of dogs. I love to dance, wear high heels, and go camping (not necessarily at the same time!) I have other talents, interests, and qualities that are separate from my diagnosis, and in the long run, that's what counts.
My voice matters.
I have become much more assertive when it comes to taking control of my healthcare. Although I respect doctors and other medical professionals, I no longer remain silent when I feel uncomfortable about a treatment option or when I need additional information. You see, I had my McIndoe procedure done at a teaching hospital. (You may know where I am going with this.) Every curious, callous resident relentlessly tried to see this unique procedure – but they all forgot that there was an innocent 16-year-old girl attached. Fast forward many years, recently I was at a doctor’s appointment and the doctor asked if I was okay with having another resident sit-in for training purposes. Instantly it brought back a wave of emotions. So, in honor of my vulnerable, 16-year-old self – I politely responded, “No, it’s not okay. Thank you for asking.”
Somebody else needs to hear my story.
I now realize that I'm not the only one going through this, and every single time I share my story, I offer hope to others who find themselves traveling down the same road.
When we choose to remove the label of darkness and just see the gift, we open ourselves to new life lessons and an opportunity to be a better version of our already awesome selves.