Journal Entry #75
Note: *I have been working on this entry for months. Chewing on it, stewing in it, percolating, processing…I have tried to find a politically correct way to address these feelings, but I am not sure that there is a right way to have this conversation. It just is what it is…so, no censorship, just the raw truth of how I am feeling and have been feeling – just like every other entry. This is me, getting off my chest that which I no longer want to carry.*
I feel like there are a lot of eyes on us.
I know that is probably not true. Realistically, most are so busy with their own lives that they don’t have time to worry about mine. Except that small, small portion of the population.
Haters gonna hate.
That might not be their intention, but that is how I have received it.
If I hadn’t been blessed with Leishmaniasis last year, we would have been busy checking off our To-Do List. We were in line to buy a new truck last year, as mine is 10 years old now, and with the mileage going up, little things are starting to wear. Because we tow the trailer, often long distances, it is important that we have a safe vehicle that is capable of transporting us safely from point A to B. This just hasn’t been possible, with me being off work for 6+ months and still not back full time. Also, with Tim taking a medical leave last summer for his own ailments, we lost a portion of his income too. So a new (to us) truck has been put on hold. Until we are in a better place financially. And that is okay.
We won’t be taking a splashy family winter vacation either.
I mean, how would it look to the outside world, who donated financially to our medical expenses, who supported us mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually? Would it look like those donations bought us a new truck? Paid for our vacation?
I feel like we are surrounded by optics.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We are ever so thankful for all of the love and support that our Village has provided over the last year. So, so thankful! However, there is a flip side that we didn’t anticipate: the optics of our spending; the impressions of whether we really needed the support or not.
It is stressful. A stress that we didn’t ask for.
For those of you who donated, supported and continue to love us, please do not take this the wrong way. None of us could have anticipated this stress. Your big hearts were in the right place, and you did a good thing. That goodness, will be returned, reciprocated and paid-forward.
It amazes me, how such a kind act as supporting a family financially can have negative repercussions. We have NEVER lived our lives according to what we think other people will think of us.
Never. Not once.
We have made family decisions based upon what we feel is best for our family. We weigh the pros and the cons, we take into account safety, wellness, state of mind, expenses, pleasure, consequences and then we set goals and execute a plan to make it happen. If there is one thing that Tim and I are really good at, it is following through on a plan, together.
We are a team.
For me, this feeling of having people watch us, of being scrutinized by public opinion is weighing so heavily upon me. For the first time in my adult life, I find myself considering what other people will think of me if I do something, buy something or even, case in point, share this entry.
Logically, I know that whatever other people think of me and my family is NONE of my business.
But I really don’t want to give anyone AMMUNITION. As a result, my choices have been influenced.
Haters gonna hate.
There are many mitigating factors to why I am feeling this way. Because I don’t want to start gossip or open a can of worms or point fingers, I won’t go into details publicly. In fact, I don’t think I will address it personally either. I think that those who have perpetrated this stress for myself and my family will find their own lessons in life whether or not I hold them accountable. AND, I am very clear, that others cannot make me feel anything that I don’t choose to feel. So sharing this, is my way of stepping out, beyond this feeling and choosing to feel differently.
I can already feel the power in that.
What the general public doesn’t know, is that there was opposition to the fundraising efforts and community support that our family benefited from.
I can see their point. Yes, we both have jobs that we love. We both have decent used vehicles. We take fun family vacations and love to travel. By design, we have created a life that we love. We work hard. We live hard. We play hard. We love hard. Which is exactly how Tim and I have built our lives together. When he was traveling 27+ weeks of the year, we didn’t do these things…couldn’t do these things with the pressure and stress of a demanding career. Tim and I have made changes and sacrifices for our family, in order to have and live the life we choose to live. To the outside world, it may look frivolous. Or maybe it looks like we are not “hurting” for cash. Or maybe in comparison to other families we have travelled more than they have. Know that this is by design. We are not competing. We are not comparing. We intentionally make choices, set goals and work hard to follow through on those dreams.
What I don’t understand, is how people can bear witness to suffering of any kind, and not only NOT want to help in some way, but instead verbalize and rally against a Village of big hearts?
In the bigger picture of life, I guess I see it all the time. I see people who are suffering from natural disasters, chronic illness, palliative care, fresh diagnosis, grief, miscarriage/infertility, mental health issues, homelessness, and so much more within our own communities. How is it, that as a human being, compassion can’t be found for those around us trying to find their way through life?
Simply put, if one doesn’t resonate with a cause, pass it by. If it doesn’t tug at your heart strings and elicit compassion, let it be. Why rally an opposition to the good work and good hearts that just feel helpless and want to do something?
For those who have been following my entries, sending messages, calling and checking in, I hope that you have a sense of the kind of human being that I am. Suffice to say though, that I feel the need to make a blanket statement for the Haters.
Under NO circumstances, would Tim or I ever use money donated for my medical expenses, in a frivolous way, or in any way that is other than what it was intended for. Morally and ethically, we simply would not take advantage of the good will of others. That being said, there were some donations in excess of my medical expenses that we have put in a TRUST. This TRUST has an intention that is two-fold:
- In the unlikely event that Leishmaniasis rears its ugly head again in my body, we will have access to funds to begin treatment immediately (let’s continue to pray that this doesn’t happen.)
- There are so many others that are going through difficult situations that need assistance, and we WILL continue to pay-it forward where we can, when it is needed, within our Village. Helping our community through our volunteer efforts continues to be an important part of our family foundation.
We have had so many people reach out with their own stories, struggles and needs. We live in a country that has amazing health care…BUT…it also is a flawed system. And illness impacts so many facets of life, interrupts the flow of finances for many, and often the medications that are required aren’t covered by benefits. This leaves a void, or an opening for the Village to step in to support and help where we can.
Journaling for me has been so therapeutic. It has helped me to let go when I am ready to let go, embrace when it is time to embrace, and feel fully the impact of my thoughts. You see, the truth that so many people seem to miss is that happiness doesn’t start with education, a new car, a relationship, or anything shiny and new – It starts with our thoughts and what we tell ourselves every day. I have realized that I am not okay with the thoughts that I have been telling myself the last several months. I have been carrying this stress for so long, shouldering this worry, feeling scrutinized and allowing it to impact the flow of our family and our decisions.
Today, I declare an end to that.
If the Haters loved me and my family before Leishmaniasis and don’t anymore, that is on them. I can’t control what others think, feel or say any more than I can tell the sun to shine. It isn’t my place to make other people comfortable or to placate the masses. My responsibility in all of this is to find wellness again, to do what it takes to get well, be well and stay well. And carrying around this stress of what other people think of me DOES NOT HELP ME HEAL!
I spent a lot of years finding a way to articulate a mission statement for my life. Over ten years ago, it found me – “to inspire authentic expression of Soul in myself and others.” Truthfully, I cannot live to my own mission statement if I am not living authentically.
So, today I am letting it go. Right here. Right now.
Some might not agree with our choices and decisions as a family, but that is none of my business. From now on, we go on with our lives – we goal-set, plan, prepare and execute life based upon what we feel, know and believe to be in both of our and our families best interest.
How do I just let it go? That is the question isn’t it? For months I have pondered and struggled to find forgiveness of the Haters. I believe forgiveness is a gift. And it is a gift I have chosen to give myself, to release this stress, to release the confusion, to release the hate of the Haters. Ironic, isn’t it? That through all of this, I have been emulating exactly what was being projected onto me? Which brings me to this precipice of FORGIVENESS:
I thank them for challenging me to look deep inside myself to intentionally understand the functionality of our decision making within our household. I thank them for generating an opportunity for Tim and I to have deep and meaningful discussions and come together in solidarity. I thank them for being an example of duality. I do not think that they were right. I do not think that they were wrong. I think that our family has been blessed so greatly from the generosity of our Village and that regardless of what anyone thinks, I feel that I am a better, more authentic version of myself having lived through this experience. And this feeling of gratitude leaves only room for forgiveness and love. I forgive them. I release them. Please know, that IF ever a day comes, where darkness and suffering descend upon them or their families, that I will be assisting the Village to help in any way I can.
The haters don’t get to take up space in my brain anymore.
Hate if you must, but I pray that your Village loves it out of you.
Because, let’s be honest, Love is the only thing we take with us when we leave this life and Love is the most important thing that we leave behind.