Saturday, March 5, 2011

All Is Not As It May Seem

I know many of us put on a strong and brave front to make it through life, when we are crumbling and hurting beyond measure on the inside. I have worked so hard to maintain my dignity and pride, often to the detriment of my own well being because..."You don't look sick". But I will not make this illness conform to what others expect, I will not let myself look sick just to be believed. If I look sick it is because I was too sick to make myself pretty that day. I will stand strong and fight for recognition and awareness as I am, with my head held high and heart strong. Whatever else it will take from me, it will NOT take my pride and dignity. But a funny memory popped into my head the other day. 

When I worked in San Francisco for one of the big makeup lines as a manager there was an executive that would visit frequently when the top-dogs came to town. She was a very nice lady, soft-spoken and a bit uptight. One visit she showed up quite pregnant. Now these women work night and day, travel to multiple locations every week and as far as my 25-year-old newly married self could see, children seemed a bit difficult to fit into the equation. But she had that baby and then she had another. And I moved on and up with a different cosmetic line while my good friend was promoted so this lady became her boss. As my friend got to know her on a personal level she told me that her boss worked Monday through Friday, frequently out of town, Saturday was her "me" day and Sunday she spent with her children. I was shocked and dismayed. Oh those poor babies! One day a week with their mommy! It seemed selfish and it seemed just plain wrong to me.

Then I got sick and started to gain some compassion and perspective in life. I distinctly remember one morning I was walking Yorkie and thinking about this lady. Beneath the smooth and polished exterior she had a gray front tooth. And she had made reference once to not having the natural protective barrier on her lips because she had so many cold sores as a child, and buried deep in my Fibro-fog was a reference about not having enough protein growing up. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks, stopped me dead in my tracks, much to Yorkie's dismay. I betcha a buffalo nickle she grew up poor! I felt like Chazz Palminteri at the end of Usual Suspects, suddenly all the pieces fit together. I surmised in this woman's mind she was doing right by her children. She was giving them a lifestyle and security she had sorely missed as a child. And I felt bad for judging her. For immediately assuming she was like me and holding her to the standards I would hold myself to. I learned a lot that day, about myself and how I relate to others. We are all walking through life, doing the best we can. And although your way may be different than my way which may be different than her way, we are all doing it the way we think is best.

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