Sometimes when reading your posts, even though I so enjoy the descriptions of your life and your passion for complete integrity in living out your ideals, I feel frustrated by your not being able to imagine how it might really be different for someone else, without it being their fault/the result of their choices.
On a different note, one other thing that is different for some of the posters here, is that the ones in Canada have the health services (as I wish we did here). I have to work for health insurance. (If you buy health insurance but are not getting it through work, not only does it cost twice as much, but pre-existing conditions like dh's are not covered). Even though I had my second child at home and paid out of pocket for my midwife, dh had testicular cancer several years ago and then he had a recurrence with five tumors in his lungs. If we didn't have health insurance, he would be dead. It's not a risk I'm willing to take. You could say it's a choice, but I'm not sure that it really is!
Dancianna, I genuinely appreciate you expressing your concern about how you perceive my attitude. I mean that sincerely. I have a very uncommon personality type period (2.1% of the population), but especially for a woman (only 25% of 2.1%), and I know that the way that I express myself is often confusing to others, and most especially women. I have experimented with not sharing my gender, written full-out my thoughts without prefacing, and found that most people assume I am male, and enjoy my writing and expression; I am given much more respect for having the opinions I do, and expressing them forthrightly, as well, when assumed male. I have literally had the exact opposite experience when assumed a man, than when it is known that I am woman.
This is not in any way to discredit women, of course. I am one, and love femininity; it's just that mine is expressed less through words and thoughts than through other ways. I am by no means a raging feminist or disparaging either gender. It is of interest to me personally that this divide is so starkly expressed toward me; my dp has found this to be equally shocking, but now encourages me to keep my gender unknown if I want to be taken seriously and enjoyed, because that has been my experience. It may help you to see my genuine care and concern for others, if you imagined my posts as having been written in a male voice. Maybe not, but when I've asked others to do this, they have found a tone of gentleness that oddly, they found nurturing, whereas when they read it in the female voice, they found it harsh or demanding. I don't pretend to understand this, but there you have it: a piece of my puzzle. Thank you for extending to me the opportunity to give a personal context to my expression. :)
About choices, I have had a lot of life experience with those. I am keenly attuned to the assumption that one's life is happening to him/her. I do not take that perspective because short of natural disasters and unknown, unpreventable, underlying conditions, results come from choices. My parents spent my childhood telling me they "had to" this or that, and that they had no choice. We were desperately poor, moving every six months to a year, eating from food banks and living in motels and homeless shelters. My parents have always believed that it was the choices of others that brought this upon them. By the time I was eight years old, having this very unusual personality, my parents were fed up with my insistence that the present situation could be tracked regressively to a choice they made- that it was not something that just suddenly happened. I thought this information would excite them, encourage them to make choices that had the potential for better results, but it didn't. It infuriated them. Consequently, I have spent the time since I left their domicile (when I was 17 years old), raising myself. They forgot to do that in the midst of their self-delusional chaos and crazy-making.
Most children do not live this way, thankfully. In any case, since I began the journey to making my own life (I'm now 33), it has been evident over, and over again, that poor results have come from poor choices. I have become better at recognising the scope of options and foreseeing the logical and natural results. I am presently mitigating damage from poor choices, still. I can blame my circumstances for the reality that I didn't know at the time that I was making a poor choice, but it makes more sense to me to look at that as a time that I was ignorant, and I can make better and even great choices now.
I read and hear all the time in people's language choices, an underlying false belief that they are in fact helpless to affect change, to choose better for themselves due to something that they perceive is just happening to them. My life as it is is only philosophically great in my opinion. The realities of my daily life are oftentimes hard, because I must make up for lost time and mitigate the damage of my previous poor, albeit ignorant, choices on my children, marriage and ultimately, myself. Even if where I am now is just ground level, I came from a thousand feet underground, so I am proud of my accomplishment, even if it looks paltry to others. I have worked very hard to be the person I am, and to offer what I do. I know that most people do not have the drive to personal challenge and modification that I do. Nothing could be more obvious to me, actually. BUT, I do know that anyone- really, anyone- can make just one choice today that will bring them one step closer to their ideal life. I do not perceive the expressed limitations of others as whining; I have a lot of limitations myself, of course. I do think that limitations can evoke creativity instead of resignation, though, with a positive, progressive attitude toward one's life.
This is why I cannot accept that some people are just doomed to not live the way they want to. A person having trouble making ends meet in a city can move to another. Maybe not immediately, but that person can take one step today that makes that possible later on. Each step builds on the one before, and at a point, she can accomplish her goal. I have a hard time being in progress all the time. It is exhausting, but as I wrote earlier, I have the work of today with the work that should have been done years ago all happening at once. Eventually, the two will align, but not if I don't continue to work toward my goals. My life isn't going to just happen to me. I absolutely will not let it.
I am the author of my life, even though my childhood was a serious setback, so I take responsibility. Even my health is my responsibility. I don't have health care paid for because I have n use for healthcare services. I choose to work with hcps who happen to not be covered by our system, so I pay out of pocket any time I need assistance. I would use emergency care if I needed it. I have had breast cancer owing to growing up in a smoke-filled house (more than one type of smoke, but that's another subject), and having my health deteriorated through stress and poor diet as a child. I dealt with the cancer myself, and it was not easy, and the risk of death was very real to me. I basically fell off the face of the earth for a year while I took care of my body. That cancer came from my parents' choices, and in a way happened to me, but I made choices to restore my health. I could have died, no doubt. Thankfully, I didn't. I know that nobody else could have been as attentive to my need for survival than myself, so I have no regrets in my d-i-y approach and accomplishment of healing from a potentially fatal illness.
I could have chosen differently. I could have accepted chemo, and then if I survived, I could be crediting others with my survival. That would be fine and acceptable to others, I know. I also know that the underlying false belief that we cannot survive without interference/help from others, that life happens to us, prevents people from seeing just how capable they are. I also know that telling people this is not usually polite or accepted, raises people's ire, and alienates them from me. My difficulty is that I cannot unsee what I've seen. I don't know anyone else's life, but I do know that human beings are immensely capable, that many/most have erroneously accepted a passive role in their own lives, citing the security they think they have from gov'ts or others' work. The closest we can come to actual, not just perceived, security, is to take back the responsibilities we've unknowingly delegated to people who by necessity must be less concerned with our survival/life than their own, and act with bold confidence in our own abilities. We can all learn self-reliance. We do not have to sacrifice community and relationship for that. We can have and be both.
I have never, ever, come across a life situation that could not be improved- ever. Courageous people demonstrate this reality over and over again. Some think they couldn't muster that courage, but that too, is a choice. I choose courage. It is often very hard. It may kill me. But I would not live in any other way.
Preggie, I find what you've written here very exciting! Honestly, your strength and courage are inspirational. I really appreciate reading about what you've done with your life. I don't really know how to express what I feel reading it - so much respect and also compassion for the vulnerability you express. Thank you for sharing this.
The part about how if one reads you as a man they don't find it as harsh is interesting too, although I think for me, I really want everyone to have empathy - to really be able to imagine what it's like for another person. We all have a need for understanding and compassion, and I think because I want those so badly for myself, I am always looking for them for others as well. I'm guessing that you value integrity even a little more than empathy. (I value integrity so much also - valuing one doesn't mean you don't value the other immensely as well.)
I am learning more about choices from my Non-Violent Communication practice. Marshall Rosenberg teaches that we really do have a choice in every situation and that we make the choices we do in order to meet needs that are universal. The key is to be aware of what needs we are trying to meet with our choices, rather than feeling we are trapped and have no choice.
Edited by Dancianna - 1/2/11 at 9:37am