Imagine for a moment…
Its Monday night. Its a quiet evening at home. A mobile phone rings on a bedside table and so Katey leans over and answers. “Hello!” She says. Carol is on the phone and the two have been friends since high school. They have known each other for over a decade and been through so many things together. They begin chatting… several minutes into the conversation the Carol starts talking about her children and how tiring and upsetting motherhood has been. She laments that she feels trapped and unhappy. She begins crying and says her husband [Mark] is not helping her and she feels like she is doing all the parenting on her own.
This is a common theme in their conversations and so the tension starts to mount… Katey doesn’t have children and doesn’t really understand the challenges that Carol goes through. Carol always turns to Katey whenever she feels like things are getting very stressful and she needs someone to just listen and empathize.
“…God Carol! I am so sick and tired of hearing about your damn children all the time! When are you ever going to stop talking about your children all the time!… Nobody cares you have children or wants to hear about all the problems you have. Cant you go talk to a psychiatrist or someone who specializes in people like you!?! If you can’t talk about anything other than those annoying kids please don’t ever call me again…”
Its a restaurant on a busy Friday night. The tables are full with party-makers and everyone is waiting for Ben to arrive before they start ordering their meals. Ben is always late. Ben ALWAYS has an excuse and sometimes he has to cancel at the last minute… However after an hour Ben finally arrives at the table. After ordering dinner Ben begins telling everyone how very hard his job is and how he works such very long hours. He always tells everyone how stressful his job is and how it means he cant make a lot of parties and get-together’s.
The group go quiet until finally Joe breaks the silence that has descended around the table. Joe slowly puts down his wine and starts addressing Ben. “You know Ben, we are sick and tired of hearing about your stupid job and how tired and drained you are all the time. We get sick and tired of all the excuses about how your ‘job’ makes you unreliable. We don’t care that you are doing your best and trying to keep a roof over your families head. Its boring! We don’t care if you do your best to come to these things or not… we ALL talk about you behind your back and think you annoying…”
Its the holidays and the shopping mall is packed full of Christmas shoppers. An old man is sitting on a bench dressed in his military uniform and holding a collection plate. A sign is propped up beside him with the words “Please donate to the wounded Veterans this Christmas”. As the people walk by, the old man looks up and asks for donations. He has been sitting there all day in his wheelchair without a break. He goes there everyday to collect donations and raise awareness.
A family pushing a trolley bump into the old man and send his sign falling, broken, onto the floor. He looks up to the father and asks if he would help him fix the sign. Instead of apologizing he turns to the old man and says, “Look old timer! Why don’t you take your crippled ass and go home! You are not special you know… What makes you think we care about people like you? You just sit around all day and pretending to be worthy when we all know you are probably just faking and not even really crippled… Where do get off going out in public and getting in the way. We shouldn’t have to see people like you when we go shopping… I have children and I am glad they will NEVER end up like YOU! Why don’t you just go get a job??!
No-one would ever allow or condone such behavior to happen like those scenes mentioned above… but these scenes happen to chronic illness sufferers and Autoimmune fighters EVERY DAY all over the world.
Its painful, hurtful, rude and disgusting behavior that NO ONE should ever have to endure. But we have endured it for so long. It is hardest when it comes from the ones we love and trust the most.
I think its time that society thought carefully how they treat people who are trying so hard to cope with a world that does it’s best to dehumanize and devalue our lives. No matter what a persons illness or health challenge we are all still human, valuable, respectable and unique in so many, many ways.
Please. Please don’t believe anything different…
We are slowly awakening to the fact that we still have a voice. That we have a global family and community who understand our challenges and support us in our efforts to find our lives and fight on. We are connecting, supporting, encouraging and uniting to be stronger…
We are slowly and surely becoming aware of our intrinsic value that is worth more than all the ignorant and cruel behavior that has gone on over many, many years. We CAN make a difference. We ARE making a difference. And… we will do it TOGETHER. One step at a time. One day at a time. One Meme at a time. One heart at at time…