America is a country that is focused on work and achievement. We often idealistically look at America as being founded because our ancestors were looking for a way to better themselves. In America as long as you work hard, you can be anybody (sort of). But where does that leave us sick people who can’t work hard? Where do sick people fit, in a society that is based on hard work and achievement?
I find myself at a loss to relate to people these days. When you meet someone, the first thing they ask is, what do you do? Sometimes I’m tempted to answer sarcastically about how I sit on my butt all day and watch TV, but since I try to make it a policy to not attack strangers, I usually resist this urge. I inevitably end up muttering something in a long drawn out breath “IhavesomehealthproblemsandIstayhomewithmykids.” Usually the response is “Oh…… (long drawn out pause)……that’s nice.” My response, “Yes, I love giving up my dreams of having a career in order to spend my days on pain pills and making doctors appointments.” Well, sometimes I wish I would say that, my response is more like “I’mreallygladIcanstayhomewithmykids.”
I’m great at standing up for myself as you can tell. Sometimes I can pretend that it’s totally fine with me that I can’t work, but a lot of the time I can’t, because it’s not fine. Nobody knows how to relate to someone who spends all their time home being sick, hence the weird pauses. There just doesn’t seem to be much room or much understanding in our culture for people that can’t work.