WHAT WE VALUE

Our society worships entirely the wrong animal, venerating them and reducing others to ash.

The news recently devoted a good portion of the sports coverage to how much money certain sports figures were going to be paid for kicking a ball across a field. And this in a time when our jobs are dissolving, our society is being wrecked, our economy may be irrecoverable and certain industries will cease to exist en mass. Put simply, there will not be jobs to come back to folks but apparently we still need to pay these guys billions for their service to humanity?

I cannot understand how ANY society and how any of us can tolerate/accept a sports figure being paid anywhere NEAR that sum for what they do when those who really do jobs worth paying, are dying in droves because they are not receiving enough personal protective gear to protect themselves.

When did we start paying someone to kick a ball millions and a nurse who saves our life, hundreds?

What’s wrong with us?

If I were an alien observing our planet, I would seriously wonder if we all were crazy in our assessment of VALUE. What we value. What we do not. If nothing else, Covid-19 has given us a chance to see this once and for all and try to do something about it.

We have marched for Black Lives Matter during this time because it was over-due and our raw emotions on the subject burst out of their polite shell and filled the streets with ire and a desire for equality but how many of us really want equality? Not all of us that is for sure, look around and you can see it in every facet of life, a desire to be above someone else somehow.

We still routinely under-react and permit by our inaction, serious hideous crimes like rape to go unpunished in this country and others.

It’s the year 2020 and we still think inequality for women is acceptable in some forms and fashion. Let us not forget what Maya Angelou said about wanting to vote for a white woman over a black man. She said – women were the original oppressed group, thus we should work backward until all oppressed parties are equal. I agree with her.

We still think hate crimes against Jews and telling Jews that Israel should not be their country is somehow acceptable, despite those Jews having descended from that country. Would we say the same to Black People about Africa. Of course not! So why do we say it to Israel? Because of the Palestine Question which Europe in particular has decided to side with, uncaring of the history of persecution toward Jews and their right to have some land of their own. Of course we shouldn’t persecute Palestinians either and of course, Israel has made mistakes but it’s now about what optics politicians choose and what side of the story is half-revealed via inaccurate news reporting. It’s essentially about which side looks right to support? Because Trump supports Israel, most left-wing supporters are against it. Yet it is not that simple and never should be. Lest we forget our history.

We still think homosexuality is unnatural and abhorant and that being queer isn’t natural. We don’t say it out loud because it’s not popular to say it, but we think it and we act it and gays know. They know.

We talk about slavery and how horrific it was, but half the time we just pay lip service to the deeper issues, because we don’t know our history so we don’t mention Native Americans and how they were exterminated en mass and continue to be disenfranchised. We’re so proud of ourselves for changing the Red Skins but we think that’s enough. Or how slavery has never really gone away, it’s just changed hands and outfits, but it’s still well and thriving in many forms.

So it’s never enough. Until everyone is equal and inequality and racism are a thing of the past. But will they ever be? With people who seem to thrive on discrimination and putting themselves ahead of others and putting others down? If people think wearing a mask is too much, is it any wonder they really don’t give a shit if you are sick or you are vulnerable? Don’t they just want you to die and bugger off?

Likewise with illness, with chronically sick people, it’s never enough to just have laws that allow them to not be discriminated against because discrimination comes in a myriad of differing forms. Subtle. Unreachable. Devastating. People of color have to put up with this EVERY SINGLE DAY as do women, as do gays, as do sick people. Just one roll of the eye says everything. Says; ‘we think you are pathetic‘ invalidates an entire moment.

Chronic illness is a little like amputation. Obviously anyone who has suffered an amputation will refute this and rightly so. But metaphorically it remains akin to the loss of a limb. You are left flailing, unsure of how to right yourself, and continue as once you were. A part of you is lost.

They talk of periods of adjustment. The stages of grieving: Anger for what you have lost. Shame imposed by a society who now judges you weak. Acceptance of a ‘new normal’ that includes intolerable things such as chronic pain etc. For many, those stages of grieving never really end, they cycle and you go through different dilutions depending upon how you progress.

But progress is perhaps not the right word. In our linear society where so much is expected. For someone to drop off and no longer thrive, in nature they would be left behind to perish. In our society they are carried along but reminded frequently, of their burden, of their ineptitude.

For many who suffer mental illness, physical illness, both, there is a lot of shame attached to their existing after this fact. Even as people do not come out and say it directly (and believe me, many do!) there is a thin veil that is easily penetrable. People know when they are treated differently, seen differently, worse, judged without jury.

Being ‘sick’ in any manifestation is seen as a ‘weakness’ by our society. This invariably goes back to the ‘dog-eat-dog’ notion of surviving. The weakest link perishes or is a burden to the whole. But these days, with our so-called faith and mercy in place, one might imagine a little more compassion? And if you did, you would be sorely disappointed.

Since getting sick in 2017 I have felt intermittently well enough to continue working and ‘accomplishing’. But as with any pendulum, when it swings deeply toward illness, I am right back at the horror point of when it all began, down on my knees, imploring the universe for healing. And for the most part I have done this alone, because as all those who have been sick for a time will attest, most people do not stay by your side. Even those you expect to.

You can’t plan any longer. A trip is a fear because what if you get sick? Then someone suggests; maybe it’s in your head, maybe you are making yourself sick? And no matter how many times you prove otherwise, they think maybe it’s a choice, just like being gay is a choice, right?

Wrong. You can’t rely upon yourself like you used to because you never know how it’s going to be, how you are going to be. And usually you could be relied upon 100 percent and now that’s gone and somehow you still have to plan a future, but how do you plan a future if you can’t rely upon yourself?

I try to take something from every experience I have, including negative ones. Without learning we don’t grow we just regurgitate and I would rather grow even if I’m throwing up and in pain as I do it. I have taken from this experience what is obvious, but I have also tried to take from others experiences, and have noticed disturbing patterns among those I know who have also been sick for a while or a very long while.

People leave.

People don’t care.

Poverty goes hand in hand with illness.

Anxiety and fear are natural outcomes for a plethora of reasons.

Loneliness can kill.

What I have come to see is this. Sick people are TRUE WARRIORS.

They fight the unimaginable that most of us never have to endure. They have to get pacemakers in their 40s, they have to struggle through taking 2 hours to get dressed and STILL MANAGE TO SHOW UP and this strength – this strength is what I have learned the most from my experiences and listening to others. Strength comes in many forms. We dismiss most of those forms but they are real.

I watch people who have seizures and brain tumors, fight and fight and fight and I realize, we’ve got it backwards. We should be applauding these people not marginalizing them. But we do everything backwards, because as a whole we are poisoned by false ideas of what is valuable and what is not. We toss aside those we deem un-valuable when they are perhaps some of the most valuable people in the world.

So if you are disabled in any way, be it in your head, or your body, remember that. You are some of the most valuable people in the world. Let nobody ever let you forget that. You are some of the most valuable people in the world.

This is written for my sister Angie. You inspire me every single day. You are that light in the dark that refuses to give up and because of you, I refuse to give up too.

34 thoughts on “WHAT WE VALUE

  1. It is not just the sports stars. I simply cannot imagine what any human being could possibly do in a working day that is worth the many thousands of dollars per minute some corporate CEOs get paid. And then we call people “Essential Workers” and pay them minimum wage or less. And, they are essential. These people keep the wheels turning, the food in the grocery stores, the garbage picked up, and so on. But it is an old, old thing. “Women’s work” in the home and elsewhere is low paid if paid at all and has been for centuries. A friend called it “Shadow Work” referring to the black clad stage hands in Japanese Noh Drama who are officially invisible.

    And, everything you say here about people living with disabilities and pain is absolutely right on.

  2. I found you again!! Hallelujah! As a person with chronic illness and disabilities of mind, body and spirit, I felt this deep within the core of my being. Thank you a gazillion-fold! Much love to you as a warrior advocate and your warrior sister, Angie, MW 💜🧡❤️

  3. Rightfully. We seriously need to start paying attention to what we are doing. I’m not sure people are even thinking. Everything is going so fast, there’s no such thing as business as usual. We treat it like time has paused, yearning for better days based on times that never really happened. I always thought there was way too much for humanity to work on it once. But it occurred to me that it’s like paying down personal debt. At first it seems insurmountable. Find the lowest fruit and pay it down. Once it’s done, you use the energy it took, turn it and double down to pay off the next debt. Equality for women seemed like a good choice, initially, because women cross age barriers, racial sexual orientation, and economic classes. But since Black Lives Matter manifested as a global cause, those who support women’s equality can actively and openly support Black Lives Matter, expressing that they are women’s rights advocates supporting Black Lives Matter. When racial equality stabilizes then Black Lives Matter people can turn around and back up the people that bolstered them all along. Then we move through the list getting stronger and stronger. This is the beginning of unity. Imagine what humanity could do with their priorities straightened out. It starts with not automatically accepting the past as the present. We treat the present for the future.

  4. My dear niece (in Philadelphia) who is wheel chair bound with severe SMA, has a motto she lives by, “Don’t Let The World Bring You Down”…. and she is my inspiration and guiding light with everything that I try to do, and everything that try to achieve…. ((Hugs)), a truly glorious article Candice… 💙🌏

  5. Good to read you, Candice – I hope that you are well. As a race we haven’t come far really. We have cats and everyday it’s a battle to see which can achieve the highest position in the room – no different to humans except we do this figuratively as opposed to literally. Equality should mean just that: we are, after all, nothing but flesh and bone, a tangled masd of atoms.
    Being a bit left of centre I think that, ideally, everyone should be paid equally to. After all who is more important, the surgeon who weilds the scalpel or the person who made it?

  6. Powerful article. As a disabled person I agree with every word. Not only does society not value our lives but they foist shame upon us, consider us a blot on the landscape . If we speak out we are labelled bitter and twisted. The most discrimination comes from the medical establishment as we are a constant reminder of their own fallibility. Thanks for sharing your words.

  7. The shortcomings that humanity possess are countless. Holier than thou is a big factor and the misuse of money is also humongous. The priorities are shamefully wrong. Things are never ever looked at in the big scheme. Surely sport as popular as it is, should be placed second in the spending of much needed money. Does a sportsman deserve to be paid so much when there are those starving and generally suffering, be it from corona virus or any other serious sickness. Mental, physical and emotional sickness included?

  8. Carl, how right you are. Holier than thou is a huge factor and I wish I had mentioned that. Priorities are shamefully wrong. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for reading and responding.

  9. Dearest Nikita It is shameful to ever foist shame on a disabled person and yet I agree, they do it all the time, and I have seen this happen and nobody bat an eye. I am so sorry for anyone who experienced this. You are not a blot on the landscape by any means, but a valuable member of the whole and if people are so disgusting as to not see that, then it is their loss, but of course, it affects you too – which is the really bad part. Ah you are so right about the medical establishment, you and I could have a VERY long conversation about that! I wish you one thing – understanding from others. Because that helps us feel less alone. I am always here if ever you need a friend we must stick together. xo Thank you for reading this long post and your lovely response.

  10. Dearest Chris, oh how right you are my friend about as a race we have not come as far as we would have liked, that is very true. Very true about figuratively as well … it is true that maybe we should not expect more as we are simple people but somehow I still expect more. I’m pretty left over all but sometimes I see the flaws in all the perspectives and that makes it hard. I would wish for equality but definitely not spending $$$$ on useless jobs like sports versus something that saves lives or something similar – this includes all basic jobs that help people LIVE not just surgeons and you are so right about that. If we did not have the person to milk the cow etc.
    I hope this finds you well my friend and I send you much love. Thank you as always for reading my diatribe and your patience with my rantings 😉 I adore you xo

  11. Ah this is a wonderful thing and no wonder you are inspired by her. As I am inspired by you my friend. Thank you dear one for your lovely words and reading this – I do hope your niece is much loved, she sounds like an amazing woman. xo

  12. I love this comment and thank you for taking the time to read this and write this thoughtful response. I completely agree with you. I especially liked how you said one cause can build upon another and strengthen it. I think that is a wonderful way of understanding how it can work and I agree. I would hope that no causes get lost in the mix. And that those things that kept us apart (if you watched Mrs America you know what I mean about all that in 1977) will now bring us together. We used to be divided more because of homophobia and racism and bigotry and religion and as we become more tolerant of things our parents were not, we can be less divided in theory so then the only reason we are not is the oppression of something greater than our movements, which is why we must never give up, until that old fabric is torn down. I loved how you said we treat the present for the future – if more thought like you this would have already happened. Unity is right. Thank you for writing such a wonderful response xo

  13. OMG! It’s you! I am so happy to see you! How are you? Sending you so much love my friend! I am so glad to see you here again. How did we get separated? I have not been great about writing on WP but I am aiming to change that even if it’s more prose than poetry these days. Please let me know how you have been fairing my dear one. Thank you for reaching out dearest Angie – sending you so much love from here to you sister moon

  14. Oh how right you are. About not just being the sports stars. I guess that is what inspired what I wrote but I see it in many facets of life. And as you say, ‘essential workers’ are crapped on. It’s just awful and you’re right to bring up ‘women’s work’ and how that was and is underappreciated – still – and shadow work – I must read about that again as I read about it before and found it fascinating. Thank you for always provoking more thoughts

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s