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Day 58: (Em)power

This is Day 58 of the Positive 100, a countdown to Rare Disease Day 2014 and an exercise in being positive despite it all.

Feeling powerless happens to all of us from time to time. Getting sick. Being in chronic pain. If you’re the new guy (or gal) on the team. Heck, just being a woman in a room full of men can make you feel that way. And that’s normal. The important thing is taking the power back. Empowering yourself to take the helm and lead the way in your life or for a cause you love.

Things that give me the power to own my life. Particularly my love of the web.

I’ve been on a bumpy ride for a while. There were the chronic migraines in college, the diagnosis of a gluten intolerance related to those migraines. Then there was unemployment and a major car accident and I didn’t know if I’d be able to walk again. The discovery of anaphylactic food allergies and the development of CRPS. Talk about feeling powerless. I spent days wondering what else was going to go wrong. And why I had to go through all of this.

I didn’t want to be strong. I didn’t want to have to rely on hope to get through. I didn’t want to lean on friends and family. I needed power over my life.

I found it in an unlikely place. I had learned web design in high school and dabbled in it in college, but it was when I was miserable at my first job out of college that I started to consider web design as a possible career path. I started taking classes and freelance jobs. Eventually, it led to the first professional job that I enjoyed and eventually to the place I work now.

I developed a skill and a body of knowledge that let me be the leader and the expert. I knew things that mattered to other people and it didn’t matter that I couldn’t wear real pants some days or that I can’t always eat the office lunch. I had the power to move forward with a life because all of those other things were just pebbles in a shoe and not a ball and chain.

What has empowered you? Share your answer on social media with the hashtag #100positive days on TwitterInstagram and Google+

Also, you can sign up to be emailed a recap each week of the challenge.

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