I can be known as a hardarse. My job requires it and to be honest, I relish having tough conversations – as long as they aren’t personal. In my profession, I thrive under pressure and do better when things are tough and shitty conversations are needed. I want to bust balls. I want grown men to shake in their boots (sometimes). I can’t help it. I get a sick satisfaction from it.
I think I get my no-nonsense attitude from my dad. Some of my fondest memories involve dad and his calm, tough demeanor. Dad is the type of man who when accidentally connecting a hand-held grinder to his nipple, instead of calling ‘tools down’ and getting to the nearest doctor or hospital, he simply grabbed some electrical tape, tapped the wound shut, finished the job and THEN made his way to help.
This is the same man who tried to remove a fishing hook from his hand for a solid hour or so before admitting he probably needed a professional on the job and allowing us to take him to the doctor. He didn’t get any pain meds, ‘what for’ was his response when asked if he wanted them, and kept the hook as a keepsake.
Now, you might think that he was doing this for some sort of ‘bad arse’ persona or status, but it’s classic Dad. He is a no-fuss, just get on with it kind of guy. He had to be. With a family to support and a business to run, Dad doesn’t have time for fuss. I love this about him and often admire the strength it takes to push through some rather painful situations.
I do think this attitude has rubbed off on me and up until recently, I saw people who whinged about being unwell as ‘weak’.
The whole, I can’t work today because I have a headache made me want to ninja kick people in the clunge and say ‘now you have something to whinge about you fucktard’. Take a fucking panadol and get on with it – I acknowledge that this makes me sound like a cold, unsympathetic arsehole. I tend to agree. But come on, a headache? Migraine, maybe. But a fucking headache – your taking the piss right?
I have spoken about irony a number of times and the role my delightful C-bomb plays and putting things into perspective.
Being sick, not I have a headache sick, but I want to take a knife and cut part of my body out – sick, takes a strength you can’t possibly imagine. There is no weakness in this type of sickness. In actual fact, I think it is reserved for the toughest of people.
I’m not tooting my own horn here – I still think I am on the milder scale of what this disease can make you endure – and my disease is ‘baby cakes’ compared to some others, but I have to say, my appreciation for anyone battling a disease has sky rocketed. I mean, put me on the Apollo and shoot me to the moon – because that’s how high my appreciation has gone.
There is no weakness in being sick.
The strength it takes to convince yourself to take another minute of a pain that nobody could possibly understand is likened to Thor being slapped in the face by that fire breathing monster his brother sent to neck him and still getting back up.
It takes guts. Real tough, not riddled with disease, guts to consciously decide not to give up. Your literally on your hands and knees, spewing your guts up and crying through your mascara and you have a choice. Give up and call time or muster every fiber of your being to fight. To find a strength you didn’t know you had, to fight your mind telling you to just call time, give up and sit down.
In the past, strength to me was something I discussed on the gym floor. I’d tell people that I can leg press 120-130kgs and they respond, wow your strong (have you seen these Italian thighs!). I used to take pride in this – hell yes, I’m a strong independent woman! I can lift weights with the best of them.
Any monkey can train themselves to lift weights. This doesn’t indicate strength. Being down and out on your arse and choosing to get back up is where it’s really at.
Finding yourself wearing 3-day old vomit stained clothes, your boobs swaying in the wind, hair a matted mess, tear stained cheeks, eyes covered in crusty eye jam and the rankest breathe known to man and still deciding you have everything under control and can take on the world is where it’s at.
There is no weakness in being ill. In fact, I think it takes a strength like no other to roll with the punches your disease throws at you and choosing to get back up, time after time. I watched Creed last night and here is Apollo’s son getting punched in the face, punch after punch – he has a split eye, the other is closed completely, he is spitting blood and taking body shoots, Rocky’s threatening to call the whole thing off and I am sitting there thinking – ‘I know how that poor bastard feels’.
When people say they are sick, my first thought now is ‘I hope it’s nothing serious’. And I mean this. I want people to tell me they have a headache so I can offer a Panadol and ask if there is anything I can do so they can go home and rest. I want you to have nothing more wrong with you than a simple headache. In fact I want you to have nothing wrong with you at all.
And even if people are taking the piss – then so be it. The guilt they already feel for having to lie and do the fake ‘cough, cough’ is probably worse than anything anyone else could say or do and honestly, who cares. Sometimes we need a mental health day or better yet, the ability and freedom to say ‘nope, not adulting today, I am staying in my jammies and chillin’.
So I ask you, next time you hear someone mention they are sick – don’t meet that statement with anything other than compassion and ‘can I offer you a Panadol?’.