Today, WeGoHealth has prompted us to write about our “Perfect Comeback,” a time when we felt marginalized or stigmatized by someone because of our health condition(s). What did we say or what would we have said to take back control and let them know they were out of line?
As I’ve said many times, one of the most significant challenges a writer faces is to write with honesty. To write words that will mean anything to anyone, we must be honest with ourselves, about ourselves; otherwise our words are just noise.
I have not had a “Perfect Comeback” because I don’t think such a thing exists. However, I have felt marginalized and stigmatized often, not only because of my own health conditions, but also because of my efforts to raise the sounds of the voices of those injured by polypropylene medical mesh implant.
In short, I’ve been called an idiot, crazy, a liar, a thief, stupid, irresponsible, someone who just wants attention, a predator preying on the ill. Let’s see… what else? I’ve been called a blue Smurf (that one makes me laugh because Smurf would suffice, for ALL Smurfs are blue), a fake, someone who is benefitting from my own mother’s injury or my own illness, a clown. I’ve been made fun of and marginalized for being Christian and living that part of myself out to the same fullness that I live other parts of my life. I’ve been called a liar for saying, “I’m not religious,” when that’s exactly what I mean. I’m sure there are more, but that about sums it up, I think.
These words hurt me at first because I was shocked and so baffled about why anyone would say those things when I was sacrificing a great deal of my personal life, finances, time and privacy in order to do what I thought was right – stop immediately, as soon as I became aware, and render aid to the sick and suffering. Some people said I wasn’t “doing it right,” or that I wasn’t doing enough; that I was doing too much; that they didn’t like my way of helping. Through a series of public attacks on my character, I learned that what the naysayers say does not matter one bit, and there will always be naysayers. Just because someone says something does not make that something true.
These experiences made me much stronger. To be the recipient of an ongoing character assault does nothing but help me in the the long run, because if not for going through it now, on a very small scale, how would I be able to handle it on a large scale? I am grateful to have learned how to navigate toxic people. These people have tried to marginalize me, but they’ve failed, and I really didn’t have to do much of anything but stay focused on my own mission and leave them to focus on theirs. Destruction of anything or anyone is never more powerful than truth and love. And, it never will be.
I don’t feel the need (at least not anymore) to “tell these people they are out of line,” for I think they do a good job, themselves, of showing others that very notion, and I don’t have to waste a second of my time or breath to tell these people anything.
The three most important ways to combat marginalization or stigmatization by others are:
1) Take your mission seriously, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
2) Understand that purity of focus, love and creating good for others will always outweigh fear, destruction, hate, jealously and lies.
My goals in life DO NOT CHANGE because there are other people with other goals, even if those goals are full of hatred and destruction. Who I am DOES NOT CHANGE because there are people who lie about me. My love and sincerity in my work DOES NOT CHANGE simply because someone else believes another way to help is better. The realities of my mother’s injury and illness or my own illness DO NOT CHANGE because there are those who question.
Truth is true; therefore no amount of scrutiny can change it. My mother IS very sick, and I AM trying my best to help her and others. I AM sick, and I am trying to live my best life with that truth. It doesn’t matter if others believe it or not.
My mother gave me a great piece of advice in high school. She said, “When other people tell you who they are, listen the first time.” Wonderful words of advice that I have taken to heart.