SOn the Island of Misfits Toys
Again, thanks to the wonderful world of social media, I have yet another opinion to share about being misfits. You see I belong to a Narcolepsy Support Group and an Autism Parents Support Group. At the start of my involvement in each, I really needed them. Now, I stick around and do my duty as a veteran and help others deal with their new diagnosis or the new diagnosis of their family members – or when I find a new resource I share it. When I find some inspiration, I share it. When I have a question, I ask, in case someone else is too scared to ask. That’s your job, as a group member, to participate – to share in the struggle or in the solution.
Exclusion from the Tribe of Misfits – Really!
With that said, one thing that has been so hard for me to see and hear in both groups is how others that are not “in the group” cannot express struggles that might be similar without getting dismissed. For example, if you are in a narcolepsy support group, you will often hear people rant about how pissed they are that someone that is not narcoleptic said they were tired. Well guys, guys what?! Everyone gets tired. People without Narcolepsy get tired. Really tired even. Maybe even as tired as we get.
Daddy’s Tired Ya’ll
If a father of 4 neurotypical children that works two jobs, in the hot sun, outside for 12 or more hours a day comes home and tells you he is tired, well damn it – he is. What right do we have to take that away from him? Perhaps he has an invisible illness YOU don’t know about or he was up all night for the last six weeks with a sick child or a sick parent. Or maybe he is working in the heat and does not have time to stop for a break or water makes him tired.
You Don’t Own the Complaints
We don’t own the complaint — we just don’t. There is not way we know what is going on in anyone else’s life that may be a contributing factor to their tired. I have a sister-in-law with MS. She looks fine. She “LOOKS” fine. However, she has MS. She literally has the same extreme fatigue we have. So, why invalidate her feelings? Who cares if someone sits on their butt all day, that is 100% healthy, has a million dollars in the bank, and a huge house says they are tired. They may be tired, depressed, anxious, or have PTSD. We don’t know what others struggle with friends.
Don’t Free Sorry for Me!
On a similar note, just because someone have all neurologically typical kids does not mean their life is easier than yours or mine. It DOES NOT! If a single Mom works 2 jobs or is being abused by her husband, her life is not easier If he is a single Dad or his child has cancer, that’s easier? What if their child has a learning delay or an emotional condition or is bipolar or … who cares what the or is. We do not have the monopoly on the world feeling sorry for us. Heck – some of us DON’T WANT others to feel sorry for us.
Do Not Seek to Seperate
Look guys, if we CONTINUE to seek to separate. If we continue to lump ourselves into groups in an effort to exclude others we continue to see violence. We will continue to perhaps alienate those that perhaps do have more time to fundraise, or that have more time to do research on the illnesses that we want to eradicate. While being part of a group to show solidarity and to help get through similarities is awesome, using that same group to discount the struggles of others is no better than what they did to you to make you seek the group in the first place.
There is Not Need to One Up
There is no need to ‘one-up’ each other. People with perfect health are allowed to be tired. Consequently, whether my tired is more than theirs is of little consequence or importance. Being a parent hard is hard. Yes, being a parent is hard no matter what your child has or does not have. If you have 1 child and I have 4 – which I do – my job is not more difficult than your job. My job is just different that your job. When we belittle others for not having it as hard as we have it, well frankly we belittle them. It is nothing short of passive aggressive bullying. I don’t want to be a part of it. I hope that you do not either.
Cliche Generator for Misfits
Without sounding like a non-stop cliche generator – can’t we all just get along? Disabled, Abled, Differently Abled, White, Black, Rich, Poor, Catholic, Muslim, ____________ fill in your preferred label here. We are all misfits at some point in our lives. We all will not fit or represent something in our life. Really, that is ok. It really is ok. Embrace your Misfit Nature. Heck, if you really WANT TO BE DIFFERENT, try this! Try accepting everyone not matter what. Give it a try, I guarantee for a bit you may be the only one. In conclusion, we have to BE THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE.