Trinkets and Armor, 5: Shame is Useless for Living (but Excellent for Senryū)

Someone once told me something about sarcasm being cheap, right before asking why I preferred senryū over haiku. I ignored her cheap jab, and answered, “Because sarcasm and satire with human bits in them are the perfect tools in a world where everything is either screaming or mouthless.” I still believe those words and these, too: “Sarcasm helps me overcome the harshness of the reality we live, eases the pain of scars and makes people smile.” ~ Mahmoud Darwish

 

So… smile at this threesome, my Wicked Luvs:

my cancer hurts you?
oh, I know, I feel your pain
splitting my right boob

coping is so hard,
my pain hurts you much deeper
because you aren’t me

no, my darling nut,
I shan’t be prey to more ills—
I’m kicking you out

 

If you are visiting from the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and wished to read only the poetry, feel free to skip the next bit. For the rest of you, my Wicked Luvs…

…here is Trinkets and Armor 5:

 

If we’ve had more than a handful of conversations, or if you’ve read my blog for a little while, then you’ve probably heard me say things like: “stick it to stigma” and “guilt is a drag” and “politeness that threatens tranquility is a life-suck”, and yes… you’ve also heard me rant (quite vividly) about the uselessness of shame enticed by someone else’s expectations or lack of imagination or superabundance of stupidity.

After I posted “No Caress; or, Boob Talk”, I received a message (or 3) from people who might have some serious reading comprehension issues, or… perhaps, they’ve taken self-absorbed to an egocentric level that not even my well-known narcissistic ways can fully comprehend. I was gentle with one or two of them, but when certain individual suggested that I had to allow him or her access to me so that they could find the best way to process my breast cancer diagnosis, I lost all sense of coolness.

I just exploded. I wouldn’t be surprised if that individual’s tympanic membrane has not recovered. And… I shared my fiery feelings with my Piano Man, with a friend, with several healthcare providers, and with a gentleman who was diagnosed on the same day I was. After he finished wiping the tears of laughter (you see, my Wicked Luvs, it seems that rants made in Spanglish and shouted at a gazillion miles an hour can be seriously humorous) he told me, “I wish I could tell some people to give me space, but I don’t know if I could live with the shame.”

The comment made no sense to me, and I told him so. Then he explained where he is originally from, said that his parents and relatives would probably stop talking to him if he shamed them by being impolite… The more he shared, the more outraged and sadder I felt for him. After he confessed that he had even considered not telling anyone about his illness, I just hugged him. “Dude”, I said, “one must do what one must to get through this mess. If I were you, I would try to figure out which one is more difficult to achieve. Then I’d go for the one that requires the least amount of energy. Once the breast cancer is under control, then it might be time to stick it to a lifetime of society-pimped shame. But… since I’m not you, feel free to ignore me.”

I don’t know what he has decided to do. But I do understand that his position is an incredibly complex and painful one. I feel terrible for this man… and disgusted by the reasons behind his emotional troubles. Family, community, culture and such… should be about love, protection, and comfort for the group and for its individuals. But… we all know how ridiculous this thought reads, if placed next to some of the beliefs and ideals some families and larger groups have embraced.

As you can see by the tone of the last bit, I am still slightly pissed off. When one is host to a disease (or 5) that take almost everything out of one’s mind and body, one should not have to worry about hurting people’s feelings. The damn thing shouldn’t even be an issue. And, you know what? Those who truly care about you don’t make it an issue. They might want to be with you 24/7, but they do what they must to be sane (and caring enough) to help your immune system fight the grim reaper.

If you must spend every second of every day battling depression or Crohn’s or necrosis or a nerve disorder or bipolar disorder or cancer or whatever your health demon happens to be, those who say they care about you should have the decency to do their very best to fight the pain your disease causes them in a way that doesn’t worsen your illness. That, my Wicked Luvs, would be true politeness in my book.

Anyone who can’t feel bad about me being sick without making their suffering another thing I have to deal with, will be gently removed from my sight. Any person (other than a child, since they don’t know any better) who has the nerve to try to make me feel guilty about not helping them cope with my cancer won’t be treated as gently. They might not even get a sick joke as my door hits their cheeks.

 

This week, I invite you to share a wee bit (or a whole lot) on how you deal with people (groups, society…) that make you choose between your health (physical, psychological, spiritual…) and their peace of mind. Write a post, or a poem, or a story, or paint a picture and tell me about its meaning… do what works for you.

 

To participate in Trinkets and Armor, please add the direct link to your entry at the end of your comment. If you don’t have a blog or a public platform, or don’t wish to write a post, just add your contribution as a comment. If you can, take a minute to read other entries. Unrelated links will be deleted without explanation.

 

Creature Comforts

If you are visiting from Poets United, do know that this is not a haibun… it’s a mostly lived tale with a senryu for a tail. I could’ve birthed it as a haibun, but… the Muse wanted a tale… And who am I to deny a yummily wild creature (made of me and ink) her whims or musings, right?

 

And the tale with a poetic tail…

The tooth fairy wears pale green scrubs and glasses so thick that I have often wondered if he can see my brain through my open mouth.

“I have to take the two problem children from the lower back”, he tells me, poke-poke-poking between my gums and teeth with a dental explorer. “Any sharp pain?”

“Not really”, I say, “just a prickly discomfort that suggests a prick is poking my gums with something sharp and metallic.”

The tooth fairy’s assistant pales a bit—she is new. The tooth fairy knows me, so he grins, his magnified eyes making him look like a slightly mad divination teacher.

“We would leave them in, if you didn’t have serious things to deal with soon. You take excellent care of your teeth. But I worry about infection during days you might not be able to floss and brush properly. “But don’t worry, this won’t take—”

I don’t let him finish the sentence. “I need to get something out of my bag first.”

“Sure,” says the tooth fairy’s assistant, bringing me the bag.

I grab my red-eyed raven, give it a little squeeze.

“Great idea,” says the tooth fairy’s assistant. “It’s just a simple extraction, but stuffed animals can be really comforting if that makes you nervous.”

“Certainly,” I tell her, my eyes on hers as she preps me for the extractions. “I love my creature comforts. I can’t think of anything more comforting than visualizing a cute raven pecking on the eyes of my enemies as someone rips my teeth out.”

After that exchange, the only words out of the mouth of the tooth fairy’s assistant were “Suction” and “You are doing so well”. The tooth fairy, on the other hand, uttered many words. Most of them an effort to mask the urge to laugh, methinks.

 

ravens in black lace
conjure creepy-cute comfort
while brewing cackles
Raven by Groovy Gothic

 

the wee notes…
– So, that’s where things are right now. I’m two molars down and a boob to go. They do say that threesomes are lucky, don’t they? 😉
– To those of you following Trinkets and Armor, the prompt posts no longer have a fixed schedule. The next one will probably be posted on Monday or Tuesday.
– Linked to Poets United.