Why do people feel they have a right to pass judgement? They can call it whatever they want–concern, curiosity, or even apprehension–but a spade is still a spade. Everyone has an opinion; I am not suggesting people stop thinking for themselves, merely that people stop expressing their feelings with such obvious maneuvers. To be frank, I have a hard enough time making and dealing with the choices my illness requires of me without other people’s scrutiny.
I am not a stranger to odd looks and unsolicited advice, but I have a hard time when these situations come from unexpected places or even people who I thought understood. So then how do we handle this?
Normally I internalize, over-analyze, and stress the issue until I’ve almost forgotten reality. Lately though, it has been too much. I am tired of shouldering the burden of everyone else. I am tired of protecting others, protecting their feelings, and making myself small so they can shine bright.
I recently read a blog that quoted Juvenal, “Sed quis cutodeit ipsos custodies”–Latin for “But who is to guard the guards themselves?” Maybe this makes me sound arrogant, but I try so hard to protect everyone in my life from the true reality of my pain that I often wonder who is protecting me?
It makes me think of that scene from My Best Friend’s Wedding: Julia Roberts is on the phone with her friend George explaining that she is chasing Dermot Mulroney’s character, who is chasing Cameron Diaz. During the call George asks, “Who’s chasing you…nobody, get it?”
I am appealing to anyone who understands: How do I handle it? How do I go on acting like the things people say about me don’t hurt or bother me? How do I get a thicker skin? How do I stop caring so much about what others think?