Beating People With Sunshine

Barfing Farting Unicorn - Found at Googly eyes where he gives Credit to Raptor
Barfing Farting Unicorn – Found at Googly eyes where he gives Credit to Raptor

Riding the 552 yesterday and thinking, like I often do because I’m usually next to someone smelly and it’s my only escape, I realized my circles are mostly sick people or people with sick family members now. I’m very lucky to have these people in my life, even if only online. I’ve learned about myself, the world, how to be a better friend, patient, support person … well, an all-around person, actually.

Most healthy, able-bodied people never see me as an illness, they see Christal, Chrissy. My friends and family talk to me about their lives, their triumphs without me having to ask or draw it out of them. Asking me how I am is normal and balanced and taking into consideration my needs is second nature just like I know not to put red onions in the salad because one of my sisters can’t eat them.

Then, there are those who don’t … they are the ones who say things to the effect that if we don’t stay all sunshine, butterflies, and rainbows The Get Well Fairy will never visit me or that’s why my tumors won’t go away. I don’t get any Tumor-Be-Gone spray because I’m a Debbie Downer or because I once liked Diet Pepsi. Those people chastise the ill at every turn under the guise of doing it “For their own good”.

I believe tough love has its place in our relationships but it has limits and must be wielded with a surgeon’s hand. When in doubt, don’t. In fact, I was a big proponent of “tough love”, kinda patting myself on the back for whacking people into shape with it, or so I deluded my flagging ego to feel better. Most often, I began to realize, my impatience with someone was due to my discomfort with their illness, whether addiction, mental illness or physical illness. Very little of my advice about how to handle their illness had to do with their comfort but my own. Rarely do we want to admit that but after losing or wounding friends, and instinctively knowing from being on the other side of the fence that something was truly fucked up, I was forced to look at my hand in this farce.Humans are rarely one hundred percent altruistic. That’s not evil, that’s simply human and OK. Once we know and accept that about ourselves we can move forward and grow. When I give to someone I love, not only am I helping someone I love feel good, I, in turn, feel good by proxy. It’s a glow that is unique.

Knowing this, we also know that when someone we care about it sick, we are uncomfortable. Even if it’s someone we don’t care about all that much, its uncomfortable. If we dislike them, it’s really uncomfortable to hear them talk if we have to listen, in fact, we wish they’d shut the fuck up and probably tell them because we’re assholes. We want it to be solved. We want a beginning, a middle and a resolution. When that doesn’t happen, we get uncomfortable. There is something wrong with the formula. We can’t voice out loud to the person we care about YOU make ME uncomfortable. You being sick makes me have the heeby jeebies, it gives me the creeps, it totally wigs me out. You, in generally, creep me the fuck out, man.

So we start feeling and thinking they are failing at this being sick thing. They are trying to stay sick, not wanting to be well badly enough, going about it the wrong way … just wrong, wrong, wrong, bad, bad, bad. Underhanded browbeating in a group setting (it’s always a group setting, perhaps online), behind hand gossiping to make us feel superior only shows our true anxiety to those aware and able to read it. “{SIGH} It’s such a shame she can’t allow herself to feel good. I mean, it’s not like the tumors in her ventricles are CANCER. I had cancer and I stayed positive and beat it. All she has is ___ or He has RA. All that is is your knuckles hurt in the winter, sheesh, butch it up.” Ignorance, unkind, untrue, spreading character assassination and disinformation all so we feel better and no longer powerless.

The fact was, I wanted the sick or depressed person to be, do or say something (Get Positive, Do Sit Ups, Push Past The Pain, See A Different Doctor, Just Listen To Me) because I was

  • ignorant to all the facts but felt I knew it all or enough of the facts.
  • uncomfortable or in some pain but saying it was about them and their discomfort or malady, unwilling to take responsibility for my own feelings.
  • immature emotionally and controlling
  • invested emotionally in “more righter”. It was about winning the debate and not the result of the person getting relief, though my stated reasoning was that it was so.
  • refusing to allow someone to live naturally and fully in an organic grieving process and get where they needed to be in the time that nature intended for them to get there. I wanted them there when I wanted them there. They weren’t allowed to have any lie way like I expected for myself.

Once we can even be willing to break our paradigms, we will be able to see whole new patterns within and without us. Both the “sick” person and the “well” person will be able to let go of roles and just be people, supportive of each other. No longer will we be telling the sick person that if they aren’t sunny, they’ll never get well, when the reality is, it isn’t about their comfort but our own we’re concerned, and that’s ok. Just own it, don’t deflect it. Deflecting causes lies, lies cause victimization and wounds. It causes passive aggressive sniper shots and unfortunately society supports that under the guise of Group Happy Happy Joy Joy Rainbows Butterflies, Unicorn Barf and Puppy Dogs Farts Brow Beating of sick people.

Simply say things like:
I feel completely useless to fix you and I want to fix you although I know that’s not my job or in my power. I worry that you may eventually grow frustrated with me as a friend/lover/sister/brother.
I’m tired. I feel guilty that I’m tired. I feel like I’m supposed to be always (fill in the blank) and never (fill in the blank) even though you’re not asking that of me.

Before we open our mouths and give admonishment and direction, especially publicly, as a group or behind backs, what’s our real motive? Is it about them or us? Are we looking for some crown, some culmination, are we so over this but laying this at someone else’s feet?

Time to jack up the pants, boys and girls, roll up our sleeves and dissect our true motives. You’ll feel better about yourself in the morning. I know I’ll feel better about you in the morning.

You see what I did there?

Honest as the day is long …






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