There’s a gap in my story — it starts right after the shock and anger of The Swedes Would Be Ashamed Post. I’ve never really explained to you all how I moved forward emotionally from there.
Friends are SO IMPORTANT. In my friends’ responses to my Facebook posts and in the cards of support that came to my house, I could see a reflection of the intensity of my emotion. I could see the anger.
Andrea Ball sent this wonderful card from Tinker Bell, along with a bobble head Tinker Bell, stating she’d poke people in the eye if they made me angry. Ramona Brandes sent numerous gift cards to my favorite resteraunt for the days that felt overwhelming. People shared their painful healthcare stories. They ranted with me about the need for this and that and that and this in our healthcare system.
The anger reflected back at me stopped me cold.
There was an older woman, a colon cancer survivor, who, in response to my own rant, went on and on and on and on about how horrible her doctor was once because of this and that and that and this.
Her daughter-in-law, a breast cancer survivor just coming out of treatment, apologized to me for her mother-in-law’s behavior.
I was annoyed by that older woman. I was annoyed at myself.
And there were Paula Sebastian’s Facebook posts — about the two inner wolves and the choices we have about who we want to be. She’s walking this walk and could offer the advice I needed.
Anger is useful. But what triggers anger is always more complex that what we first acknowledge. I needed some distance in order to really dive into what was behind this anger. Which parts are mine to own as a survivor? As a human? Fear, vulnerability, powerlessness… Only by understanding those things I bring will I be able to really explain to anyone how systems could change to better support me and others who walk similar paths.
And in this exploration, I need to acknowledge the role I play in creating very similar systems that work in very similar ways against our most vulnerable students at the college.
And that takes some courage and some time and some reflection. And some friends to push you back onto the right path. I’ll post the insights I’ve come to later, another day.
Today I just say thank you to my friends.