Thursday, November 21

humbled and humiliated

When I went outside to embark on some weed termination this morning, the sun was shining. And after serious burns from a coconut oil mishap last summer {a story for another day}, I am anxious to avoid further torturing my skin. You see, it is quite likely I will perish from skin cancer due to alternative sunscreen experimentation. I applied sunscreen.

I pulled and tugged the little buggers with enthusiasm. After a while I started feeling faint and weak, so I took my sweaty hands out of my gloves and went inside for a rest. It was ten minutes since I’d started.

It was now time for me to feel extreme frustration, and humiliation. I tried to resist expletives. I hurled rhetorical questions instead.  What kind of a body is this?  What kind of an apology for a human being am I? Will I ever be independent again?


Yesterday I went to see my friend try on charming wedding dresses, as she is soon to be married and I am her bridesmaid. She and the other bridesmaid travelled 1.5 hours to do the shopping where I live. In each of the bridal stores, there were plush couches by the change room especially for the bride’s support team. I sank into them, I slouched in. The lady in one shop was telling us how we had to the bride’s servants on the wedding day and I reflected that I was the worst ‘maid’ one could ever choose. A few minutes in to the sitting-watching-exclaming process, I was feeling ill. The lovely bridesmaid asked me a few times if I was tired, and I agreed. Her concern was so refreshing, but oh my heart, ‘tired’ is the biggest understatement I have ever heard.

By the time we reached the last shop I was closing my eyes each time she was behind the curtain to change into a new dress. Please may this one take a long time to get into, I prayed. The curtain would open in a flash, and I would rally to open my eye lids and sit. The attentive bridesmaid next to me would exclaim, “Wow, you look amazing”, and I would slump and literally grunt. That night the bride sent me a message thanking me profusely for my support.   

 On the weekend, I had the honour of being my younger brother’s grooms woman. I didn’t help with the wedding, nor did I attend the rehearsal, or the hen’s afternoon. In fact, the only thing I did was arrive wearing my prescribed dress, take the bouquet handed to me, and stand up the front near my brother as he waited for, and then married his bride. He could have chosen any friend, but he chose his dysfunctional sister.

These are the times I feel humbled. Love hits hard when you haven’t earned it. I feel no legitimacy because of what I have done, because I haven’t the ability to do anything. Culture says it’s about ‘do’. It has for centuries. Hitler killed the disabled and elderly en masse, along with other minority groups. Those with disabilities have been hidden away as an embarrassment in homes and institutions. Now we can test for disability during pregnancy and terminate if it seems best.

Early on, I held this strong view of achievement based value. I felt humiliated if people had to help me, or modify things for me. I would stoically attend the wedding rehearsal, and refuse help because I didn't want to feel like less of a person. I still feel this way, when I face my inability to go shopping or weed my own garden.  

But slowly I begin to gratefully accept love. This is only possible as I delicately grasp the concept of not being valued or defined by what I do. If my identity is in what I do, then I have lost my very self.  I begin to think that who I am matters more than what I do, and it’s my friends and family who are teaching me this. 

My brother telling me what to do, as I missed the rehearsal.
My husband being my support team, as usual.
My eyes are closed, nothing new.

1 comment:

  1. It sucks and it's hard. You're doing an amazing job of clinging to God through it all. xx