Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Walking in my shoes

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
-Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird

Last night, I was sitting in my oversized Pottery Barn chair in my living room, dizzy as I always am, checking my email when a comment came in for moderation on my Happy Anniversary post about accepting that life sometimes is "For Worse." It's hard to know the intent of a blog commenter, but it really made me defensive and has continued to bother me almost twenty four (dizzy) hours later.

Kathy, I do not know what your intent was, but I will say that you have not climbed in my skin and walked around in it to be able to criticize my feelings. I share with the world, or at very least those who read my blog, my feelings. You might not agree, and you are certainly able to express your disagreement, but ultimately these are my feelings.

Certainly I can agree with you that I am fortunate to live in a country where I have freedoms and (at the moment) health insurance. I have access to doctors (though not many who believe in chronic lyme disease). And I have a house that I am learning to love. I do not live on the streets. I do not have to beg for food. But does that mean that I am not entitled to say that my current condition sucks? Am I not able to look at the fact that my home burned down the day after I finished folding my son's newborn clothes and wish for it to be otherwise? Can I not wish for health and be even a little sad that I am sick? Your comment seemed to imply that because I am "privileged" (spelled with an "i" in case you were wondering), I cannot have unfortunate life circumstances. And that just isn't true.

Until you have walked a day in my shoes, stood in the nonexistent transom of a burned down home while waiting for your son's birth, until you've had your face come to a halt and no longer smile or blink, until you have watched your son learn how to smile when you could not, until you've had a PICC line placed and been happy about the fact that you were actually being treated, you cannot possibly know how unlucky I feel some days. I believe that I have walked this road with strength and grace. I've learned through the last two years that it's impossible to know how mightily an event might have impacted a person, and to always ALWAYS start with compassion. I invite you to do the same.


  1. Well said, Brooke.

    There is always someone else who has it much worse off than we do....but that certainly does not mean that we can't mourn what we have lost, complain about our struggles from time to time, or wish for better days ahead. I'm wishing for those for you.

  2. Those who have the ugliest things to say always hide behind anonymity.

    I think you deserve to say "for worse" and it's totally okay to grieve the trials you have (and are) going through. To hell with everyone else and what they think. Even "privileged" people have trials.

  3. I've been remiss in reading/commenting on your blog (yours and every other 100 in my reader feed), but I'm bummed I missed your anniversary post. (I did go back and read it...)

    And I think you are totally, totally in an understandable position. We've discussed the ways in which our situations are similar, and well, when it sucks, it sucks, period. Suckiness isn't always offset by the good. Things don't always balance out.

    And if you can't face the reality of that here, on YOUR blog....well, sheesh! Your commenter was out of line, and I'm impressed with the grace with which you responded to her.

    GO, Brooke!

  4. This reminds me of what I learned at our miscarriage and infant loss group. Someone told me that she wished people wouldn't always try to hand her a Kleenex everytime she starts to cry. She brought up the point that even though others want to help comfort us or cover up the tears, we sometimes just need to bawl our eyes out and feel the emotions we are experiencing. Be present in how you feel, there is nothing wrong with it!!!