Awhile ago I designed this shirt and it sat in my files. It sat because I was unsure of what it really meant to me.
Why were these words the ones that settled into my heart? I feel like I’m doing anything but rising above. I sit on the couch the majority of my days. And if I’m lucky I’ll sit on my porch for a few minutes.
I spend my time detoxing, treating, resting, treating, resting, detoxing, Netflixing, and treating again. I load the dishwasher as my biggest task many days.
I cry tears. Lots of them. I ask questions I don’t have answers to, feel deeply and ache hard.
But ‘rising above’?
I more often feel like I’m barely hovering below (whatever that means…let’s just go with it). I think of how slow my days are. How deeply I feel the weight of this intense struggle with Lyme. And I don’t view myself as exceptionally positive or optimistic. In fact, lately I’ve described my feelings as “meh”.
Yet these words kept coming back: Rising Above Lyme. For weeks I wrestled with them until their truth sank in deep.
‘Rising above’ doesn’t mean we disconnect from our reality. It doesn’t mean we cover up the scars, deflect, or pretend the hard isn’t there. That the trauma, the memories, the fear or the pain doesn’t exist.
Rising above can simply say: I will breathe in this moment of laughter, however rare it is.
I will appreciate and give back to the new friendships I’ve found in the midst of this sick life. I’ll choose to be real and honest, even when it’s hard.
Rising above can happen from our couches, our sick beds, our pile of tears tangled up with the layers of illness.
Because this is not the “positivity train”. This is where reality and hope coexist in even the smallest of moments.
We rise when wrapping arms around another who needs someone to hope FOR them, WITH them.
We rise in the moments we advocate for the voiceless, the oppressed, the marginalized.
We rise when we listen to our body’s need for rest, for nutrients, for treatment.
We rise when we open our eyes to see someone that’s different than us with kind, compassionate eyes.
And how beautiful it is when together, with arms linked, we rise.
I designed this shirt to promote Lyme disease awareness as well as another to offer a universal “Rising Above” design that can be worn by anyone. You can see all of my designs and grab your very own here!
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