Are You Still Dying, Darling?

"Although roughly 70 percent of the earth's surface is covered by water, that still doesn't explain why you have to be rescued from drowning all the time."

Hypochondriacs. We all know one. We may even be related to one. I've certainly had my moments. But sometimes, in life, you remove the film of selfishness pasted thickly over your eyes, you get up, and you get over it.


At this precise moment in time: I know a group of people, very dear to my heart, who are experiencing very real and very scary health issues. Very expensive medical bills are literally the very least of their problems. Despite being scattered throughout this ever-spinning globe we find ourselves fastened to, these people all appear to have one amazing thing in common: Their unbreakable and inspirational spirit. Some are tired from all the medication and radiation - others excruciatingly sore from one surgery after another. Some have lost their hair. Others, their jobs and even their families. Yet they laugh. They exude this unbelievable strength and energy. Extraordinarily positive attitudes. Sassy rebellion against the doctors and journals who have set that egg timer of life. My eyes well up and I experience chilling sensations throughout every inch of my flesh when I imagine what these individuals must be going through. Yet, they not only cope - they resolve to fight back with knowledge, optimism and class.

Then there's "Group B". In the grand scheme of things, it would probably be an exaggeration to describe their health issues with more severity than a paper cut. More likely, an endless need for attention. Sympathy, pity, lifelong devotion and signatures in blood ensuring this miserable group will forever have miserable company. They spew hate, darkness and poisonous selfishness. They do nothing to help themselves, yet suck the souls of all who encounter them. They are little more than drippy, moping, festering pools of pessimism. And oh my, you best not ever mention casually that you may have a headache coming on in an instant of small talk as they not only can out-migraine you with so much as a groan - they will extend their oozing claws from the depths of the Doldrums in desperate attempts to overtake your notions that any good is left in the world.

I do not have the time nor energy to so much as pity Group B. It is repulsive to watch them "suffer" when they do nothing to help themselves. Ah yes, that's right - the world must owe them for something... wait... no.... it doesn't.

My mom tells me of this remarkable woman she encounters on her walks around a lake near her home. The woman was a nurse for well over 50 years and recently lost her husband of 60 years. There isn't a day when she isn't smiling what I can imagine is the most radiant smile - one of those infectious smiles where you thank your lucky stars you simply encountered her.  She is 97 years old, and my mom maintains you wouldn't place her even past perhaps her late 60's.

You read about stories like this all the time - those uplifting ones where the moral can be summed up with exercise or organic foods. Perhaps laughing in the face of adversity or remembering to tip your waitress. Not this gal. She is apparently a sack of sugar masking loads of piss & vinegar. "You gotta take care of yourself cause no one else should have to", she tells my mom. "I'm 97 years old and if I happen to fall and break a hip, walk on by as it must be my time." There isn't an ounce of sarcasm in this. Truly, there is a lot even the most stubborn of us could learn from her. Something as minute as taking responsibility for our own lives - the good, the bad and the rest.

There is no arguing how fortunate I am to know those illustrious souls I first spoke of. I will forever strive to have 1/15th the character each and every one of them exhibit. In the same breath, I will continually remind myself not to ever fall into the second group. It is a conscious decision that every last person has the ability to make. To not cut others down or punish them with our woes. To not cloud others and their families with our misery. It may sound harsh to say, but for those of us given another day of it, life just ain't that bad. It may require restructured priorities or a good long look in the mirror followed by a vow to make a change. But you are not owed happiness. There are zero promises against stress or pain. And the next time you're feeling super sorry for yourself, you can either write about it as I do - and move on.... or for the general sake of society, please lock yourself in some closet somewhere until you're ready to grow up.

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Kitty

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Are You Still Dying, Darling?

"Although roughly 70 percent of the earth's surface is covered by water, that still doesn't explain why you have to be rescued from drowning all the time."

Hypochondriacs. We all know one. We may even be related to one. I've certainly had my moments. But sometimes, in life, you remove the film of selfishness pasted thickly over your eyes, you get up, and you get over it.


At this precise moment in time: I know a group of people, very dear to my heart, who are experiencing very real and very scary health issues. Very expensive medical bills are literally the very least of their problems. Despite being scattered throughout this ever-spinning globe we find ourselves fastened to, these people all appear to have one amazing thing in common: Their unbreakable and inspirational spirit. Some are tired from all the medication and radiation - others excruciatingly sore from one surgery after another. Some have lost their hair. Others, their jobs and even their families. Yet they laugh. They exude this unbelievable strength and energy. Extraordinarily positive attitudes. Sassy rebellion against the doctors and journals who have set that egg timer of life. My eyes well up and I experience chilling sensations throughout every inch of my flesh when I imagine what these individuals must be going through. Yet, they not only cope - they resolve to fight back with knowledge, optimism and class.

Then there's "Group B". In the grand scheme of things, it would probably be an exaggeration to describe their health issues with more severity than a paper cut. More likely, an endless need for attention. Sympathy, pity, lifelong devotion and signatures in blood ensuring this miserable group will forever have miserable company. They spew hate, darkness and poisonous selfishness. They do nothing to help themselves, yet suck the souls of all who encounter them. They are little more than drippy, moping, festering pools of pessimism. And oh my, you best not ever mention casually that you may have a headache coming on in an instant of small talk as they not only can out-migraine you with so much as a groan - they will extend their oozing claws from the depths of the Doldrums in desperate attempts to overtake your notions that any good is left in the world.

I do not have the time nor energy to so much as pity Group B. It is repulsive to watch them "suffer" when they do nothing to help themselves. Ah yes, that's right - the world must owe them for something... wait... no.... it doesn't.

My mom tells me of this remarkable woman she encounters on her walks around a lake near her home. The woman was a nurse for well over 50 years and recently lost her husband of 60 years. There isn't a day when she isn't smiling what I can imagine is the most radiant smile - one of those infectious smiles where you thank your lucky stars you simply encountered her.  She is 97 years old, and my mom maintains you wouldn't place her even past perhaps her late 60's.

You read about stories like this all the time - those uplifting ones where the moral can be summed up with exercise or organic foods. Perhaps laughing in the face of adversity or remembering to tip your waitress. Not this gal. She is apparently a sack of sugar masking loads of piss & vinegar. "You gotta take care of yourself cause no one else should have to", she tells my mom. "I'm 97 years old and if I happen to fall and break a hip, walk on by as it must be my time." There isn't an ounce of sarcasm in this. Truly, there is a lot even the most stubborn of us could learn from her. Something as minute as taking responsibility for our own lives - the good, the bad and the rest.

There is no arguing how fortunate I am to know those illustrious souls I first spoke of. I will forever strive to have 1/15th the character each and every one of them exhibit. In the same breath, I will continually remind myself not to ever fall into the second group. It is a conscious decision that every last person has the ability to make. To not cut others down or punish them with our woes. To not cloud others and their families with our misery. It may sound harsh to say, but for those of us given another day of it, life just ain't that bad. It may require restructured priorities or a good long look in the mirror followed by a vow to make a change. But you are not owed happiness. There are zero promises against stress or pain. And the next time you're feeling super sorry for yourself, you can either write about it as I do - and move on.... or for the general sake of society, please lock yourself in some closet somewhere until you're ready to grow up.

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