Some days I think I should never have gone on Facebook. Today was one such day. A couple of things happened that really agitated me, and now I’m observing my emotions and trying to analyse why it affected me so deeply. The first was a post calling for all people over 65 to be denied the right to vote, on the basis that ‘it’s not their future that’s being voted on’, as if everyone is destined to die by the age of 70. That rattled my cage. The thought that there’s a cut off age where you cease to matter as a human being disgusted me, and as a woman who has wanted so much over the years just to be treated with the same respect that men take for granted, the thought that someone now wanted to penalise me on the premise that I didn’t matter this time because I will be considered by others to be old soon, really galled me. I don’t want my value as a human being to be dismissed or trivialised as an older person in the same way that it was in my youth for being a girl and then a woman. I felt angry about it; militant even, leading the poster to put up a funny meme about me needing to calm down. It made me laugh too.
The second incident was a friend trying to claim that an acute rheumatoid arthritis flare just wasn’t that painful compared to what she endures. I don’t doubt for a second that she experiences severe pain, but to trivialise my pain, which was enough to drive me to the brink of suicide, out of sheer ignorance of the disease really pissed me off. Obviously she has some issues of her own to deal with – a competitive need to be seen to be suffering more than others for one, but clearly I have my own issues too. Why was I bothered that she belittled my experiences? Why did I feel the need to justify what I went through? I felt violated quite honestly by ‘needing’ to argue my case about how much pain I’ve been through, and yet I did it, because of the pain again of being trivialised.
So twice in one day I felt trivialised. Why do I even care? Clearly the choice to not let others define me is much easier to talk about than it is to put into practice. I have been telling myself recently not to allow clowns to pitch their circus tent on my soul, and yet here I am, not only allowing them to do just that, but selling tickets at the door for them – and ice cream in the interval! Next time I see a juggling unicyclist in heavy makeup heading my way, I really need to cordon off the lawn of my soul and erect a sign saying ‘no entry to anyone with a honkable nose and extra large feet’.
The only logical answer to why I feel the way I feel about being trivialised, and as I’m thinking about it a whole truckload of memories are coming flooding in from other times when I felt trivialised, is that I have a lot of unhealed wounds in this area and so it’s easy to provoke emotional pain in me. Now I don’t believe that I need to delve into my past experiences and sort them all out in order to deal with this. I’ve been subjected to that crap in the past and frankly it turned out to be just another bunch of clowns in disguise acting out their own drama. Sometimes you just don’t realise you’re talking to a clown until their nose starts to glow or you look down and think ‘how big are those shoes?’ No, you don’t need to know where you’ve been in order to know where you want to go, all you need to know is where you are now in relation to your destination, and the best route between the two.
Coming next: Getting from A to B