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Morons, Stupidity, and Us

I prepare you now: I have had a week of stupid. A miserable, bash-your-head-on-your-desk, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me, did-someone-suck-these-people’s-brains-out? week of moronic encounters. So this post may be a bit, uh, more honest than you’re used to.

A few of you just ran away in fear. After all, I’m not known for being – what shall we call it? – hard to crack.

But for those of you with the courage – or perhaps morbid fascination, for who doesn’t love a good trainwreck? – to stay, let’s just agree up front to be honest.

Sometimes life is filled with stupidity. Sometimes you feel like you’re the only reasonable person in a sea of idiots. And then you painfully wonder if you’re the idiot and everyone else is sane.

And, it all unravels from there.

When you go through something so challenging it affects your whole life, at first, everyone is there to support you. You aren’t expected to do anything. You have an pretty wide berth. You can say anything, do anything. People forgive you, because you’ve got that thing.

But when the smoke clears, and you’ve still got that thing, and everyone’s moved on to the rest of their lives – as they should – sometimes they think that you should just get over that ‘thing.’

There’s lots of people who still truly care. There’s so many good friends and family who check in regularly. But for each one of those is another who asks me if ‘the leukemia is still bothering me’. I bite my tongue as the phrase, what on earth did you think the word ‘chronic’ in CML means? circles my mind. Sometimes I’ve jokingly said, ‘no, its ok, I’m over it.’

Not everyone knows I’m kidding.

And for the most part, I am over it. I’m okay. It’s going to be okay. But for some reason, when it feels like everyone else thinks that I can function the same way as anyone else, and what’s wrong with me if I don’t, when they think they can keep pushing me harder and I’m never going to snap, well… I snap.

I know each of you could tell your stories here. Sometimes we’re forced to grow up fast. Sometimes we feel eighty years old when we’re only twenty-five. I’m not meaning to rag on others. How can they be anything other than who they know to be? We don’t understand things until we live them. We don’t know what its like until it happens to us.

So what I’m really trying to do here is figure out why I was so bothered by all of this and find a way back to the place where I’m not. Because, at least three times this week, I really, really wanted to pull the leukemia card, and I hate that version of myself.

Can any of you relate? Have you ever been in a place where you know you have the trump card, but to play it would make you less than who you want to be?

The thing was, I wouldn’t have wanted to play that card if I didn’t feel desperate; I wouldn’t have wrestled with telling these people to back off if I didn’t feel that pressure of, sorry, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or what you have to deal with, or how tired you are of all of it, we will always expect more of you.

And, I suppose that struggle applies to all of us.

And that was what was really bothering me this week. It wasn’t the series of unfortunate events I encountered in activities that really should have been simple. It was really that in each of my week’s close-encounters-of-the-mind-numbing-kind, the other person felt the need to tell me you don’t have the right to be upset about this. Our lives are just like yours. Deal with it.

To cap all of this off, the stupidity I encountered this week thought I was the stupid one. And, since I’m one of those twisted individuals who’s both a people-pleaser and a crap-disturber, the whole experience was maddening. I was my own worst enemy, standing up for myself and then feeling guilty for it later. I hate trying to please everyone else. but I do it anyways, which doesn’t really make sense, because my personality doesn’t really lend itself to avoidance of conflict. I believe in things. I’m passionate. I’m opinionated. I’m going to ruffle some feathers. Some weeks I’ll disturb a whole flock. Mind you, this is all while just by being myself. No attempt to offend, I just do it naturally. 

Oh, poop. I’m AM one of the stupid ones.

That clunk you heard was my head slamming against my desk.

And then it all became clear: if I want the world to expect less of me, I need to expect less of them.

My mom reminded me this week that when I was really having a hard time right after I first got sick, I used to laugh to myself and pretend all the obnoxious people had just escaped from a mental institute. Its much easier to be nice to others if you think they’re not all there.

And really, we’re all kind of ‘not there.’

We really don’t know what other people are going through. We really are ignorant until it hits us or someone close to us. Sure, huge losses may put us in a camp of other people with different huge losses, and the grief process is similar. But we still don’t know exactly what its like until we’ve been there.

So, all we have, really, is our imagination, and our sense of humour.

And, its probably time I use both.

Thus was born my new recipe for a happier life. It’s time to stop expecting the world to be both competent and forgiving of my incompetence. It’s time to constantly expect stupidity. Then when you find reason, its a pleasant surprise, and you can congratulate that person for rising above.

And then maybe we’ll be forgiven our own less-than-stellar moments.

Because frankly, that’s my only hope.

What about you? Do you have your own ‘stupid’ story? Or a creative way of dealing with ‘stupid’?  If so, please share. We could all use a little boost in dealing with the insanity.

Even if the insanity is us.

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