I alluded to this concept a few days ago. I want to tackle this pretty massive topic from a very personal point of view. This is not a post about wielding power. This is not a post about respecting authority. It is about allowing a person to have power over their own lives, being respected, and respecting others.
One of my biggest hurdles I’ve had to overcome since having the stroke is having to accept that I can’t do all that I used to do. I have also learned that there is still quite a bit that I can do. I am getting better each day at understanding what my limitations are. This allows me to make good decisions about how I expend my energy.
Early on in my stroke recovery decisions about what I do and how I do it were made by my carers or therapists. Once I was discharged and my carers were my husband and my mother, they also became my decision-makers. I really resented that. I knew that they had my best interests at heart but I was often separated from the decision-making process. I would hear them having conversations about me but not with me. That still happens now but far less often…and I’m grateful for that improvement.
Ultimately, my self-determination and agency was removed. I had no power in my own life. I felt like I was not respected as a person. As an adult. Having been a person who had that power previously and wielded it well enough to achieve the things I did in my career and then to have it all stripped from me was indescribable.
Just over 12 months on from my stroke, life now is a different story. I’m still trying to assert myself and am mostly successful on the occasions that I attempt that. It’s not all plain sailing. I still run into barriers when I exhibit some symptoms which appear like I’m not doing so well. It’s at these times that others step in to catch me if they think I’m going to fall (either literally or metaphorically). Sometimes they misread the situation and reach out to save me when I don’t really need it. I have a tendency at these times to be less than charitable at being treated like a baby bird that’s fallen from the nest. I don’t like having the tiny bit of power I have over myself being taken from me. I still want to be respected.
From the other side of the equation, I can see that both my husband and my mother love me dearly and want to keep me safe. I know that they do what they do from a place of love. They aren’t trying to disrespect me even though that’s how I feel when these moments happen. I also know that they are often on edge. They’ve seen what happens when it all goes wrong. They’re anticipating a catastrophe which may not actually eventuate. But they’ve also both seen it when the catastrophe does happen and it’s these moments of crisis that stay in their minds. Thinking about this now as I write, I wonder if it’s like some form of PTSD. The worst case scenario plays in their mind because they’ve already witnessed it in real life.
Here is another moment for respect to come into play. I want them to respect me and my right to make my own adult choices. They also need me to respect them and their needs. The need to not have to be within arm’s reach to catch me if I fall. The need to take a break from the stress of continual worry. The need to let off steam. The need to be human, frail and flawed.
I guess that it, really. We’re all just trying to do our best. Don’t step on each other’s toes. Respect that another person has different and sometimes competing needs. We all want to be in charge of our own destiny but that doesn’t give us the right to cut across another person’s right to determine theirs.
Spiderman’s Uncle Ben said it best…
With great power comes great responsibility.
And now for the final Musical Challenge of #blogjune 2019. Winners will be posted in a subsequent post in the coming week. I usually finish #blogjune with a song recording but I haven’t done one yet so I have nothing for what should be the final post of the month. That said, my final song in the Musical Challenge is one I’ve been wanting to record so it may pop up when I give the final result in my Post-Script Post.
By the way, there are 6 points between the current first place and the people on the bottom of the leader board. So with 5 unanswered songs plus today’s new song, it’s literally still all up for grabs! There’s also only 1 point separating first and second place!!!! Exciting stuff!!
It’s been a long night so I think I’ll go home
And feed my nightmares they’ve been waiting all night long