My Story

Pain FULLY Living Icon

A lotus flower begins growing at the bottom of a muddy, murky pool, and slowly emerges toward the surface, bursting out of the water into a beautiful blossom. During the night the lotus closes and sinks under the water, and emerges again with the sunlight of a new day. As the lotus flower emerges from the mud, and up toward the surface it is completely unstained.

Image of a smiling women with shoulder length white hair, blue eyes, wearing a blue green scarf over a green sweater

My name is Katie Clark. I have Fibromyalgia, and while that is what this blog is about, it does not define me (but it sure has reshaped me).

I’ve chosen the lotus flower to represent my story. It fits my daily goal to get up and live fully while having the issues that come with having fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, acid reflux, and most likely IBS (but not yet diagnosed due to always having meds that seemed to mess with my stomach issues).

As a child of a single mother who suffered from schizophrenia, I dealt with a lot of on-going trauma. However, even as a kid, I always reached for my best life. There was just something in me that knew things could and would be better. I would pray to the God I have always believed was out there (although my understanding of this God has evolved even as my understanding of life has evolved). I prayed for the life that I actually have now. As I look back on where I came, I feel so grateful for this life I’m able to have.

Our family photo was taken the summer before my diagnosis.

I am married to my life partner for over 35 years and so fortunate to have met him at a summer camp for kids called CAMP MUCC (Michigan United Conservation Club). He was a riflery instructor and I was the waterfront director. We both share the love of nature and being outside as much as possible which led us to find a small swatch of land on a lake in a development that used to be a summer camp. We have the water and woods right outside our front door.

I am a proud mom of two amazing adults who are doing good things in this world. I am a “Mimi” to my little light who makes me smile and see why I need to push on each day, even when my body wants to hibernate.

I have recently retired from teaching after 32 years of ELA: Reading and Writing Workshop 6th grade (but still want to do more) and French (FLES style semi-immersion K-6). That means I’ve been in school for the past 50 out of my 55 years! I think that’s because I LOVE to learn, and school has always been my safe place.

I intend to grow my blog over time. I really have a heart for teachers and would like to contribute to their wellbeing in some way. I do feel that the stressors of the job led me to where I am today. I’m not blaming it; I made choices to not care for myself along the way. I just know that those in education face a lot of demands and also place a lot of expectations on themselves that can really cause a lot of stress.

Writing has always called me. As 9-year-old, my mom’s cousin, a writer much like her heroine Erma Bombeck, gave me my first blank journal. I began writing a book that day. I want to continue to write. I am working on a novel. I love to write poetry. I’m writing outdoor adventure articles for a local online tourism site (

I strive each day, like the lotus flower, to come out of whatever mud I’m in to live my life FULLY whatever that may entail. My hope is that you will find something here that will help you to live fully, too.

Image of my forearm with an outline of a purple and teal waterlily symbol.
I got this tattoo this fall after going through
the Pain Program at Mary Free Bed
to signify this next chapter of my journey.

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