Growing up, I was a voracious reader. I was constantly checking out books at the library, Barnes and Noble was my happy place, and school book fairs were one of the best parts of the year. Everyone knew me as a bookworm and the student who excelled in English class. I also loved storytelling. I can remember writing so many short stories over the years and filling journal after journal with tales, story ideas, and diary entries. I also did really well in school. I remember coming home and eagerly starting on my homework before doing anything else. I worked hard, but the information also clicked really easily. I never had to struggle too hard to learn the information, and even for a tough concept, I would understand it with a bit of time dedicated to studying and practicing. For years, I staked my identity in being good at school, picking up material quickly, being a reader, and being a writer. Then, when my brain fog got bad, that all changed. In sixth grade, I would easily finish 500 page books in a week. When things went downhill the fall of my seventh grade year, I couldn't read for fun, nonetheless breeze through textbook readings and assignments. With lots of hard work, I was able to keep my grades, but it wasn't as effortless and I didn't learn the material as well. I would sit at my laptop and try to write, for fun or for school, but the words wouldn't come. I'd make myself type, and everything that came out was rubbish. I still think it's pretty awful most of the time. I didn't feel the slightest bit smart or creative. Every time someone would ask (or asks) if I'm working on any new books or comments on how I'm a bookworm, my heart aches a bit. When they ask what books I've been reading, my mind goes to the long list of books I've wanted to read for so long but just can't quite yet. When they compliment my intelligence because of my grades, I can't help but think how hard I fought to get them and feel inferior because of it.
I've always struggled with no longer being able to do the things I love and enjoy, but lately, the identity part of it has been a big issue in my life. People still consider me the bookworm and writer. And those are the things I want to be again, but I can't help but feel I don't get to hold those titles anymore, even though I know that isn't true. I finally vocalized my turmoil one night and talked to my mom about it. She knew how much of a struggle it was to get my brain to cooperate, but I told her about my struggle with who I was without the things I thought made me who I am. And as I spoke, six words came to me: "I am a daughter of Christ." I felt like everything went still for a moment, like it was just me and those words. When I went to bed that night, I got out my prayer journal (with my brain fog, it's easy to lose my train of thought while praying traditionally, so writing out my prayers helps) and wrote the letters in big words at the top of my journal. It was so late at night that I almost didn't do it, but something told me this was important. So, in my I-am-so-tired-and-ready-for-bed scrawl, I wrote the words and a couple sentences below it about how I'd had those words come to me in the midst of an identity struggle. I was so ready for bed that I could hardly keep my eyes open, but I hadn't done my devotional (Closer to God Each Day by Joyce Meyers on YouVersion) yet that day, and I felt like I needed to read it. I'm so, so glad I did, because the Lord provided the most perfect devotional for me that night.
The only identity that I will always have undoubtably is being a daughter of Christ. That is the only description I can depend on to never leave, and it is so much more than I deserve. It's my greatest title and an honor to hold. I absolutely love being a daughter, sister, and student, but they all pale in comparison to being a child of God. Because of that title, I'm able to hold all the other ones that I love, have been able to hold the titles I feel are out of my reach right now, and will one day get to claim all the new ones out there waiting for me that I'm so excited for. But through it all, this one remains.