Monday, January 31, 2011

keeping up...

I haven't had a chance to write in a while. I just don't know how to say what I have to say. Perhaps my thoughts and words are following the season: getting frozen in the mid-winter January freeze. I know many of us northerners hate winter. I especially hate them - some days it's too cold for me to breath. Other more mild days it tends to snow making walking that much more difficult. I have to admit, that I am spoiled. I drive. Everywhere. I can't easily manage without my car. Even though my current living situation is quite close to a bus stop (for healthy people) it's a trek for me. Just the lifting of legs above snow levels gets me out of breath, never mind the cold on the lungs etc. etc.
So it's no surprise that when it snows and I can't get my car out of the driveway because there's no one to shovel the mini-mountain leftover by the plow, I don't go anywhere. I can't. I don't have the luxury and physical freedom to pick up a little shovel and dig a small section for my small car.
I wish I had that freedom - that privilege.
At work we've been having discussions of privilege of late. The newest edition to the team is someone of different race - I'm not sure the politically correct term but I know it's *not* "African-American. She is neither of African ancestry (her parents' parents are from one of the Caribbean countries) nor is she American. I would just call her Canadian, but that doesn't help for all those that would assume whiteness. Anyway, I like her, I like our discussions, and how privilege isn't just about skin tone, but also ability, orientation, marital status, etc. (she is also divorced and knows what that *really* means in our society that looks down upon divorced folk without ever actually admitting it. It's all so implicit.
So, here I am, a supposedly upwardly mobile semi-white (my olive undertone comes from both the eastern European Jewry and the Metis mix) and definitely (over) educated, non heterosexual, and non-able-bodied, single (soon to be divorced if my Ex ever decides to one day participate in this process) chick trying to play the part of someone who can measure up. Because much of my "oppression" can be nicely tucked away and hidden (insight thanks to lovely check-ins with my new coworker), I look and seem completely capable and therefore standards are not lowered to meet my actual (physical not mental) performance abilities. It's like some women who want complete equality, will tests (in the military physical training) under the men's' standards just to show they can measure up. At least that's what's been pointed out to me by the many professionals in my life: my Cardio man, my therapist, my family physician and even the work's chaplain. All telling me that perhaps it's time to test (function) on my (lowered) level than try to meet and operate at healthy people's standards.
That's hard for an Ox with a Taurus moon to swallow.
But I'm beginning to have no choice in the matter.
My work is starting to be affected. Sure I now have a coworker to share in the stress but for some reason it feels like we have even more work (perhaps because our boss seems to be away a lot, perhaps because we are running at full capacity - I'm not sure). Either way I'm not running up the stairs anymore, I'm raising my feet when doing case-notes (can't during a session: could you imagine going to a therapist whose legs are up and you're trying to disclose your life to her? Not). So there I was, feet raised, taking it slow just typing away my case notes when out of the blue the tingles came: I am so proud I can identify each and every sensation and where it will lead: the tingles were in the core and I knew that I was about to faint. And so as my head went trough my legs I apparently reached for my office-mate's hand. Yup, no warning, no nothing, just like that.... I chalk it up to heat. I thought I loved things warm: my coworker loves to work in a sauna. I've had to stand in our cold windowed-in porch (that sits at about 4 degrees Celsius, no joke, the windows can't even shut they're so old) just to cool down. I hope these are hot flashes and not my blood-pressure bottoming out. I don't have my BP reader at work so I don't know.
I've considered taking the thing to work... more stuff to lug around. I'm already taking more pills than I ever wanted to -albeit some are homeopathic, but still!

Ah, the joys of being invisibly disabled: you're expected to measure up, period. And if you choose to tell, you have to deal with the pity-looks because people just can't deal with terminal illness.