Today has been good. I signed up to host for the ACLU People Power event. Surprisingly, I’m more excited than terrified (strangers!). It’ll be fun. I’ll visualize it being a blast and going off without a hitch later. Whenever I start feeling super anxious about volunteering, I remind myself that lots of people who aren’t able to volunteer wouldn’t wimp out over a little discomfort. When I was ten, I tried to do the splits (for no apparent reason.) I couldn’t do them fully and was about to get up when my dear brother came over and pressed me the rest of the way down by my shoulders.
Naturally, I screamed. It resulted in pulled muscles, lots of pain, and I wasn’t able to walk until healed. My Mom didn’t give us OTC pain meds when we were kids. The routine for every illness or injury was as follows:
- Drink a glass of water.
- Sit still for 10 minutes on the timer.
- If it’s bleeding, wash it.
- If it hurts, elevate it.
- If it still hurts, put ice on it.
- If it still hurts, stop giving in to the pain.
- If you didn’t throw up, you’re going to school.
Unfortunately, my pulled muscles didn’t respond well to the above. I remember at one point, Heather told Mom I was crying too loudly while she was trying to sleep. It made me laugh through my tears when my Mom reminded her she’s not supposed to tattle. The next day a few of the college students who used to help with the foster kids (Special Ed. majors) took me to the super heated pool at Crippled Children’s Hospital and School. That’s really what it was called. Seriously. They’ve since changed it, thank goodness. Anyway, it worked perfectly, and I was able to walk again.
I was still sore for a while, but regaining my mobility was overwhelmingly awesome. It was the first time I realized how fortunate I am to be able to walk. The incident had a tremendous impact on how I think. When I feel torn about volunteering, I remember it’s a privilege. It motivates me and helps me overcome my fear of having a panic attack in public. Sometimes, I also remind myself I’ve had a panic attack in public on more than one occasion and haven’t died from it. For some reason, it’s easier to convince me to do things that don’t kill me.
Intolerance is ugly. It’s like saying you don’t think John deserves to live because you don’t like how he looks. Or who he loves, or because he’s disabled. Some take it even further. Example:
Betty and her friends used to be friends with John. They talked a lot about the importance of being tolerant and inclusive. Now, they shun John because he speaks to Jacob. Betty doesn’t like Jacob. Betty asked her friends to avoid Jacob, too. Most of them did, but John decided he still likes Jacob and has maintained the friendship. When Betty found out, she unfollowed John and asked her friends to do the same. Most of them did. John’s character is no longer the deciding factor in whether he’s tolerated and included by Betty and friends. Betty and friends don’t recognize the hypocrisy.
Life has taught me to be wary of anyone who requires me to be intolerant of some humans for reasons other than the content of their character. It’s rarely been an issue since middle school, so I was surprised and disappointed to see it going on between adults recently. If someone asks you to help them hate better, the adult response is to refuse. The immature response is agreeing to gang up to increase the impact of a bully. I’m still a bit blown away to see such behavior among adults. Sometimes I forget age and maturity don’t correlate. I guess because it’s counterintuitive(-until-you-think-it-through.) I’m off to continue rereading the entire Wheel of Time series. I’m on the fifth book.