Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Built-in Assumptions

"It couldn't have been that important, if you don't remember it."

Um. No.

You have no idea what I am dealing with.

I was speaking with a person who insists he knows what I am dealing with, and yet, he says something like that first sentence. Nope. Sorry. You have no idea what I am dealing with. This, and other comments made, betray the fact that you don't know what you think you know.

What he doesn't get is that chemo makes it hard for me to remember things - even the important ones. To use importance as a gauge is not a good idea, probably ever, but especially not in my case. Just because I remember some things doesn't mean that everything is working as it should. My memory is often spotty, at best, and what I remember one moment may not be remembered in a different one.

It is so incredibly frustrating to deal with people who think they know stuff they don't. At the same time, I got to thinking about the built-in assumption we have that we will remember the important things. If we don't, then it couldn't have been that important, right? That is, at least, what we tell ourselves. But then, what if we really do forget something important? We feel pretty stupid. Pretty crappy. Many not so nice things about ourselves. Judgments are made based on the fact that we should always remember the things deemed "important."

What if we were juggling 3 balls? What if that was all we could juggle, but then someone threw another one in, and we knew that one was important. We knew we had to focus on that ball, and not drop it. It might be kind of hard, even if we managed to find a way to juggle when we thought we couldn't because we couldn't just let the other things drop in the process of holding on to the important one.

These days I am so incredibly overwhelmed. I found myself walking in circles earlier. I have so much that needs to get done. It is such a refrain of mine. I am sure people get tired of hearing it, and probably wonder what in the world is the "so much." After all, what could I possibly have to deal with these days?

What they don't realize is that the things they take for granted I no longer can. They don't realize how difficult it can be to do the simplest of things. They don't realize how easily I am buried in a mess. If I had done chemo, and was done, maybe there would be a chance to get things "right," but I would still be finding things difficult, as being done with chemo is not being done with the side effects. This little tidbit many do not realize. Most think after treatment all is right with the world again. Well. It's not. And in the midst of on-going chemo it is a lot less than anything that might even distantly resemble "right" off of chemo.

This conversation also got me thinking about other built-in assumptions. Some may think my Facebook pages are all about me because that is all they see. Well. At least a couple aren't meant to be. I have told people more than once to post on the pages, to create conversations, to share their work. I have offered many times to let people guest post here. Do people take me up on it, though? It is extraordinarily rare. But it isn't for a lack of offering, or a lack of willingness, or out of selfishness or self-centeredness.

I have had someone tell me that they didn't want to do it because it would take away from me. I don't believe that for a second. But there is a built-in assumption that we can take away from others by being in their neighborhood. Out of being nice and having care and concern we don't act, thinking it is the "right" thing to do. But, right? According to whom? It has to do with that built-in assumption that has us limit ourselves. What those who may think this may not realize is that it could be a good thing to take me up on my offer. It might just be good for all of us.

There were other things I was thinking about, but between the stress and the chemo fog, I can't remember what else there was. But the essence was the same. We have these ideas about things that we bring to life and our interactions with others. These things - "right" or "wrong" wind up guiding our actions. Based on the equations that have been created, everything adds up or doesn't, and further influences how we interact with another.

But the thing is that many of these things aren't necessarily even conscious, or spoken of. The person being interacted with doesn't necessarily know which equation is influencing how another is treating them. They can only guess, based on any of their own, known equations.

Is it any wonder we can communicate with each other at all?

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