To be or not to be…

pic 1 riteblockJust at the point when I think that I am not going to have anything to write about something new occurs. A bright light has been shined on someone’s ignorance and imbecility, allowing my faith in humanity to get knocked down a peg. This belief backslide of my credulity was caused by the total lack of empathy for someone. Luckily for me, in my older age, I have learned how to avoid confrontation in these silly situations.

At the fitness center where I swim, there are three rooms specifically for dressing for any form of fitness. These changing rooms are available for families or the disabled to use for preparation privacy. In all actuality, anyone can use these rooms as there is no bouncer at the door to let in only the chosen few. There are a variety of needs too many to list that cause the needed privacy of these changing rooms.

pic2 belongI patiently waited while eating a protein bar and talking to a physically challenged friend who also found no benefit in the men’s locker room. A woman and her daughter came out of the dressing room as they slowly gathered their belongings. She looked at the two empty rooms and then, with a curt inflection, asked me if this was the only room that I could use? This brusque tone to her query felt snarky and, for just a minute, made me question if I belonged. I said yes and then nicely explained how the other two rooms do not work for my physical needs. Can’t you use the men’s locker room she continued with her terse tone these are the family changing rooms as she emphasized the word family.

Confrontation is not suitable for my MS, so I was speechless by her inane interrogation. Thankfully my friend spoke up as he could see the look of consternation plastered on my face. He explained that the men’s locker room is not set up correctly for the needs of those of us who are disabled, making life more challenging. They went round and round as he tried to be clear and concise in his explanation to help her truly understand this problematic plight. She was done with the information dissemination, and this obdurate woman departed abruptly as her feathers seemed ruffled. I often want to ask all of the antagonists that I interact with one straightforward question. How does MY situation impact YOUR life?

Side note: Let us forget about the disabled for a minute and focus specifically on the original purpose of the family changing room. The initial reasoning was to help parents who had children from the opposite sex in the locker rooms. These rooms are incredibly beneficial to moms with sons and dads with daughters since they could not go in the standard locker rooms. That means that since she had only her granddaughter-by, her logic-she should have been using the women’s locker room.

pic3udouThere was one time when another woman saw me in the passenger seat in an accessible parking space. The handicap placard was sitting on the driver side dash, and as she walked by, spoke into the open car window and complained about its positioning. She vociferously declared that the handicap placard legally needs to be hung on the rearview mirror. I then corrected her and explained that the law states that it needs to be hanging on the mirror or placed on the driver side dash. She just walked away without apologizing or acknowledging that she was wrong and learned something.

I understand that she did not know the law and should have said nothing, yet she felt entitled to say something. I again pose my query: How does MY situation impact YOUR life? I have seen people question those who park in accessible parking spots many times saying you are walking fine why are you using handicap parking? If you do not know that person’s health situation or abilities, you will inevitably embarrass yourself if you speak out of turn.

pic4defendI think that in America, people feel overly entitled and involve themselves in things of which they know nothing. For those who want to be helpful to those who are being attacked or challenged then yes, say or do something. Stand up for someone who is being picked on, abused, or devalued. However, do not say anything if you do not know anything.

Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools speak because they have to say something.

Hermetically sealed for freshness…

pic 1 toxic cauldronI previously did a blog on the topic of toxic people focusing on seven types of noxious individuals. However, I have found that some people do not fit neatly into only one category or one specific grouping. Instead, they are a smorgasbord of toxicity boiling in a caldron loaded with controlling narcissistic self-importance with a smattering of jealousy. Many times these poisonous people can even be marinated in drama smeared with a dash of exaggeration and are dictatorial.

For our health, it is our responsibility to weed through and find the tumultuously pernicious friends and think. Have we lost so many friends that we are eager to sacrifice our health and wellbeing not to lose another compadre? Between you and this malicious cohort, who has a more significant influence on the other? Do you lift them to your level, or do they pull you down and make you align with their insidious behaviors? In this blog, I will tell you about a few of the virulent people in my life and how I answered these questions.

pic 2 opionTake, for example, my friend Brad who is a massively materialistic monster that often stretches the truth. When his parents died, they left him not much money but did leave him a nice average American house and two used cars. This gift has caused him to feel superior to others, claiming that their parents should have left them an inheritance as well. If you spoke to Brad, you would quickly understand that he only cares about others if there is something in it for him. He says that he is a Christian, but his thoughts belie him his words contradict him, and his actions prove him wrong.

If you are keeping someone like Brad in your friendship quiver, you need to answer some of the aforementioned questions. Does this person put you in an awkward position where you must contemplate going against your beliefs? Are your health concerns threatened or put at risk because they have not considered your MS? Do you have a stronger pull on them while trying to make him or her a better person?

pic 3 tugowarI decided to keep Brad as a friend because I understand that I have a greater pull on him then he has on me. When we palaver, I sprinkle love, kindness, and compassion into all topics making sure that he walks away with no negativity from me. When he uses a bitter barb towards someone, my response is usually some positive affirmation loaded with benevolence.

There is my friend Joe who has changed significantly and now has become toxic in several ways. Fifteen years ago, we met, and he began helping me in various ways, driving me places, like doctor appointments. He had done more for me than any other person in many years had ever done. However, recently he is newly divorced and alone, and in the last twelve months has become extremely venomous towards me. He has begun to lash out at anything that I do if it does not coincide one hundred percent with the way that he would do them. I tried to make him understand that the way I do things may be different, but they are still good. Alas, sadly, for my health, I have decided to sever the ties of our irreparable friendship.

pic 4 stubbornJoe, as a guy who is in his late sixties, is very stubborn and set in his ways and not willing to accept the opinions of others. He is not willing even to bend his ideals to the possibility that someone else could be correct. I have no impact on him, so I have no ability to show him that there is more than just his way. These facts lead me to the realization that my health is more important than our fifteen-year friendship. I have made the decision to remove the cancerous cohort from the body of friends that I have. I am monumentally mournful at the loss but feel better that this stress will no longer impact my MS.

It is difficult to purge a toxic person who has been an exceptional friend for an extremely long time. A confidant who has helped you immensely and made an unquestioningly huge difference in your life is hard to ditch. I took the straight forward approach deciding to simply be an adult and write him a heartfelt letter explaining everything. It was a challenge, but I had to remind myself that my health comes well before any friendships.

pic 5 toxicOn the other hand, there are a few toxic people in my life that I have decided to keep around. I feel that the benefits of our friendship outweigh the negative aspects as I think I have a stronger pull away from the dark side. However, for our friendships to continue, I cannot and will not be the only one to acquiesce to the ideas of others. Some days I have to put me first and say to them it looks like today is not your day, so we are going to do my thing instead.

Friends come and go, but the importance of your health remains the same.