“I am not my resilience”

Ten years ago, I started having moments when I felt sick to my stomach, or would sink to the floor. Three months later I was diagnosed with epilepsy. Two weeks later the cause was discovered: brain tumor. One week passed, and a craniotomy was scheduled to remove the tangerine-sized tumor from my right temporal lobe.

During the last ten years I have met with numerous challenges, and an equal amount of amazing opportunities. I have “overcome.” I have “persevered.” I have faced adversity and become “resilient.” With every question about high school, or my path to higher education, both community college and UC Berkeley, comes part of “my story.” During story time, it seems as though everything in my life has been affected by the physical challenges I have met with in my life.

However, I am not just “my story” or my resilience, my ability to overcome and persevere. I am a young woman pursuing a career path in non-profit organizations that focus on youth. I am a young woman who loves to hike, sing, read. I am so much more than just another statistic or tragic tale of how things in life can go awry.

The challenges I face, and the people in my life who have taken seats on my roller coaster are constant reminders of how much my experiences have shaped who I am and directed me towards a career in social work. When asked to tell “my story” to others, I often encounter a great deal of compassion but sometimes there is a noticeable hint of pity. When talking about my epilepsy and brain tumor, I must remind myself that “my story” is only part of who I am. It is not “What I Be.”