There is Only Try

The Star Wars Day posts that bombarded my Facebook feed Saturday included numerous variations on the oft-cited quotation from Yoda: "Do or do not. There is no try." If the proliferation of images emblazoned with this phrase are any indication, Yoda inspires people to exercise, start new careers, even read the Bible. All this quotation inspires in me is anger.

While a healthy person may only be hindered by their perceptions of their abilities, that's not true for someone with a chronic debilitating illness. For sick folks, "putting our minds to it" is an exercise in futility that results in frustration and, often, an exacerbation of our symptoms. In a life dictated by chronic migraine, trying is all there is. From cleaning the toilet to getting through a day of work to eating dinner with our families, there's no guarantee we will achieve our goal. We start with the hope we will finish and the knowledge that we likely will not.

Sometimes our attempts at trying look like nothing to the outside world. The first step in going to work, for example, is getting out of bed. Totaled up, the number of hours I have spent trying to sit up in bed probably amounts to weeks. The same goes for the amount of time I have spent collapsed on the shower or bathroom floor, too weak to move. There's nothing like not being able to shower successfully to make someone feel like a colossal failure.

Trying may be scoffed at in society at large, but chronic migraine reminds me regularly that trying is itself a beautiful feat. Making an attempt even if you don't think you will accomplish the activity or reach your goal requires tremendous bravery, especially in a culture that derides failure. Continuing to try when faced with almost certain failure, that is true strength.

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