Thursday, July 11, 2019

Part Of Your World

We only understand something from the perspective by which we've lived it. Think about it. 

Picture in your mind the horrors of the
• Jewish Holocaust
• Pre Civil War Era American Slavery
• The Genocide of Native Americans
as examples.
(I capitalized them because they demand respect.)   All of them were atrocious parts of our world's history.

I have great empathy for them because I take to heart the plight of others. I will spare you the history lessons, and instead, say that I feel very badly when wrongs are done to other human beings. I empathize. I don't understand.  I didn't live through any of it.  I can only see it from the angle of an outsider looking in.  I can't possibly know it from the viewpoint of someone who went through it.

To say I understand is a severe misconception.

I understand nothing I have not personally experienced.

When someone who has never been sick like this says to me that they understand my chronic illness, I cringe. I shouldn't, but I take that very personally.

 Unless that person has the disease that I have, they can't possibly understand. Not in the slightest.

I am reminded of the song Part Of Your World, from the movie, The Little Mermaid. I'll pause so you can play it for yourself, if you like.

Part Of Your World.

Ariel had no clue what she was asking for. She only thought she knew. What she envisioned and what was actual reality were two entirely different things. She didn't really understand.

I sometimes feel I'm much like Ariel, in the sense that I want to be part of a world in which I am no longer a part.  COPD has taken me out of the picture of normality. It placed me in a different category from those who roam the planet free from debilitating diseases.

Here's an analogy.
I can watch one of the travel shows I love, but I'm not actually experiencing that vacation in Bali.  Therefore I cannot be a part of it.  It's impossible to be part what one cannot participate in.

My reality is that I must rest after doing even the slightest activity.  Not just walking, but making a sandwich, showering or even just brushing my teeth.  What most people don't bat an eye at, literally wipes me out and takes me out of commission for the day.

Someone who has never experienced it can't understand it. They can feel bad for me. However, cognition of a situation is determined by and relies on, personal experience.

Before this illness, I deeply empathized with anyone who had a chronic illness.  Before this disease, I was on the other side, and just as guilty of being empathetic,  but not being fully aware.  I only thought I understood.   I wasn't really a part of their world.

And now?

I get it.

I understand. 

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