I’ve been accused of resembling this or that…Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 22 became lupus or chronic fatigue, mercury poisoning from past dental care, over-fluordiation of care & water supplies (again, past dental care, my parents sacrificed mightily to pay for and provide for me what they never had as kids and public works/infrastructure fronts), fibromylagia, endometriosis, fall out from youthful treatments of hormones, working women’s syndrome from one who GASP! Started child bearing too late or too early (first child born about 3 months before my 22nd birthday) …
I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD, High functioning ADD, Bipolar, PTSD, workaholism, alchoholism because I had a beer or water wine every damn day, poor diet, poor, lower class status, essential minimum wage worker and/or one who never recedved or earned higher education past 12th grade public education certificates & the stressors determined by those who had PhDs in their fields, were CERTAIN, was the cause of my laziness, heritage of laziness and short-life span doom.
Have been given medicine to get well and go to work when some time off to rest and heal would have less fall out of ‘issues’ later….
Also given prescription only versions for pain, depression and/or lost will to live, for a time, when time and space to just ‘check out’ of the rat race for a bit would have served me better…
Have been accused of lack of religion, too much religion, failure to acclimate to professional environments or meet social norms for traditional environments -all at the same time.
Have been here and there, given what is seen as preferential treatment or survived not fair treatment, all because I’m female, white, raised Christian, self learner sans any front on most places that ever, really, rewarded me here and there for simple fact of, “I fight and work for me and mine – this is what it looks like, for today” – and was born/raised on the cusp of time where the American, Betty Homemaker standard of Strong Womanhood, wife and mother, was being tossed out of norm, and many fought for me to believe I too, should I dream and wish to do, could be a warrior, a soldier, a leader and vote on it well or slave 16-18 hours a day, 7 days a week and arrive home to someone who kept the house clean, had a meal ready and fetched my fave drink, pipe and slippers and didn’t bother me about their day and struggles, but merely made sure they took care of me and my little needs, always –
I have been mentored and enriched by crusty ole male farts, and male warriors that just chuckle when I argue with them, but teach me when I ask…
I’ve received lessons from wife and mothers who never earned a wage working for anyone but their own family, household and future generations, as well as women who had PhDs and were given the opportunity to get an education and work their career just as long of days, and sometimes more, for the outside world, by husbands and family members who filled in for them when they couldn’t be there to attend to hearth and home.
I’ve spent times where insurance and ‘responsible parent/healthcare’ trends demanded I cart myself or mine off to the Dr’s office or ER or Urgent care ….
All to often sit and wait for 7-8 hours until our ‘worries’ were deemed not important enough – but fall out if I DIDN’T Do, risked going to jail or worse, losing a child, for being a ‘neglectful parent’ –
Broken collar bones of young folks who required 5 different interviews with various folks to determine if the break happened due to child hood play or if me/my spouse were actually child abusers who needed put in jail….
I’ve sat beside the home bedside of loved ones who faded ever more from this life, frustrated in my ignorance of how to bring them comfort and relief from pain, all while told ‘no, nothing else to do, your only job is to provide comfort for them as they die, but we won’t help you when what we promise will give comfort, if you do in in this amount, on this schedule” fails, hour in, hour out, over and over….
I’ve done rescue breathing and CPR all while chewing out the voice on the other end of the line, saying, “LISTEN! YOU ARE ON THE WRONG CARD for Emergency Medical Dispatching help! There is a pulse but no respiration – They are breathing, heart is beating but they are unresponsive….” etc.,
I’ve yearned for and reached towards the space where I will slip the ‘surly bonds of earth’ only to discover, the ‘answer’ is, over and over, from both heaven and warriors who serve to preserve life, here, ‘not quite yet, you can’t go yet, we’ll not allow you to give up yet……but do not forget what you learned while you reached for the heavens….’
And, in the end – it all compiles and comes together to leave me more and more understanding when folks say, “lived through this, survived that, was diagnosed with this, I suffer from that” all while I personally, for me, say the same things, all while ALSO saying,
“Not an excuse, just head’s up on where I am, right about now….”
And over and over, where I’m at, just now, forges into to new territory, revisits old territory of the past and sometimes? Just frustrates me on the repeating cycles that so many seem to think is ‘brand new” and to me?
It’s not new – just another cycle coming around again – for me, my country, my world, Life itself – or Death calling on other fronts….
I whisper to myself and whatever God may be out there listening to my whisper, too….
“I’m all of these labels and diagnosis, and also, none of them….Until I know more – either take me out or give me the strength to carry on…”
For, the older I get?
Take me out or Give me Strength to Hold on, are the only two absolutes I cling to –
But I have that luxury of not dying young and still having a mind that doesn’t forget my past –
Thus, for today – no matter how badly my knees hurt, no matter how much my mind continues to race on this front or another, or how much it struggles to find a way through on this or that front –
No matter what my heart celebrates or mourns –
Cries out for or lauds –
It just doesn’t, in the end, matter much, for one more day – other than – will I wake up tomorrow to do it again? Or will I be gone and somewhere, perhaps, assessing whether, for one day, I told the truth as I see it, have lived it, for good or ill – for help to others, or in damage of many?
What, for now, is the NOW? of me and those around me?
I’m both blessed and cursed by the never ending repeat of ‘wake up tomorrow to stay tuned and find out….”
And yet, Knowing it, is Owning It and well, makes it easier for me to live with it all – or die, to leave it all behind….