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23 September 2005 @ 12:57 pm

Taken from Daily Kos today, by antifa:

Did you know that people who lose a part of themselves -- an arm, their legs, or every single thing below the neck -- get the very same stupid statement from everyone?

Said in a thousand different ways, with treacly sincerity, it's the dumbest thing you can say to a cripple. It screams out that you don't know, and don't really care.

The sentence goes something like, "Oh, you're so brave." "Oh, you're so strong."

Well. The truth is, cripples carry on because we have no choice.

It's guaranteed that every newly crippled person will freak out, cry, pound the walls, yell and shout, kick the dog, sit in a funk, scream at God, get drunk, take miracle cures, write poems, pray, pop pills -- only to find that those legs are still gone, every morning. No choice about it, ever, not even for an instant. They're gone, gone, gone.

Sooner or later, you live with it, or you don't. That's all.

If it were possible for a human being to simply lay down and die, most cripples would do it promptly during this 'adjustment' phase, when you hate what you are. You can't, though. And so you find that you're still here when the sun comes up. Day after day after day it comes up, and here you are.

You only return to actually living when you accept your damaged self. That broken thing -- that is your body now. That is you, living in a shell of what was, like a squatter in a half-burned building, but with no other choice than to get up again each morning.

But please. Please don't call that being brave. That word is far too small. Brave is for when you put up with pain or fear beyond what's easy or comfortable. Not for when there is no exit from a lonely room, full of pain.

There's no word for that windowless room. Call it being stuck, call it a raw deal. Call it humbled, shattered, broken. Call it Groundhog Day, forever. Call it the room at the end of the world.

Cindy Sheehan knows that place, where part of you is ripped away, and it won't ever come back, or heal over. When Bush drafts my young son and kills him in the desert I'll have a room like hers. When he does it to your child, you'll have a room at the end of the world.

But I'll never call her brave for living on after landing in that place. I know she simply had no choice, and the sun kept coming up, and she's still here. It's a place where being brave falls by the wayside pretty early on, insufficient to the challenges presented. Truth is, there are human states of mind way beyond brave, and that is where cripples learn to live, afterwards.

Chris is a very close friend of mine, and while he's not bodily crippled, he's lost half of himself. You are more than brave or strong, Chris, and I promise not to trivialize your pain with those words.
Diggin on Prison Dudes: alanis--mirror-depressedjuweldom on September 23rd, 2005 10:35 am (UTC)
*applauds* hear, hear.

*cuddles* I think we're all going to be very clingy today. And I think we all wish for a transporter machine to pop in and give a REAL hug.

*settles for sending psyber tears*
Jerlugonn on September 23rd, 2005 10:36 am (UTC)
I've always thought it was stupid to say someone who'd faced a tragic loss was "brave", for much the reason mentioned by the author. I thought that "strong" was closer to the truth, when someone who has faced a tragic loss finds the courage to overcome the black hole in which they fell, climb out, and face the harsh painful world again. But the loss isn't enough to consider them strong (or brave, etc.). It is overcoming that adversity and moving on with your life and finding ways to survive, take joy in life, and risk being shattered again that shows one has great strength. And ironically, as I put it that way, for the first time ever it seems that it does take some bravery to embrace life after being hurt so much - but embracing life again goes well beyond just surviving the loss. Thus some who endure a major loss wouldn't reach that point since it takes more than the simple fact of the loss to show these character traits - it is finding a way to thrive despite them that makes one seem heroic.
elzedelzed on September 23rd, 2005 03:44 pm (UTC)
Dude, I'm so sorry. It sucks beyond words.

You have my love - and as for your friend, well, I really, really don't know what to say except I hope that the support of his friends will be of help. I have had several colleagues recently who have gone through appalling losses - spoke to two of them today for the first time since they happened and... well, really, there are no words. Everything sounds trite and bollocks.

It is so horribly sad.