Have you ever had that lightning bolt moment where an offhand statement made by someone else knocked you off your feet? A statement so simple, yet powerful enough to make you stop, blink and think. Here are some of those special moments for me.
1. “If you’re suffering so much, then shouldn’t it be 100% effort counted on your part, too?”
We were moving to a new apartment, but I wasn’t feeling well (what’s new?!). I felt guilty as I rested in bed, while he buzzed around like a busy bee. We carried boxes and luggages over to the new place over a few nights, and I helped out with this despite the body aches. We’d have an exhausted dinner out after, and I would be apologising the whole time saying, “I’m sorry I can’t be of much help. It’s like you’re doing 80% of the work, and I’m only doing 20%.”
At first he joked that he was actually doing 100% of the work, but I corrected him because I did do the boring admit shit like dealing with pesky management, arranging for repairs and such :p He agreed and said, “well if you’re suffering so much, then shouldn’t it be 100% effort counted on your part, too?”.
*Bing* A flash of light went off in my head and I bolted upright. You know what, he’s right! What I had done was to compare myself against a healthy person’s energy scale. A scale which I’ll always fall short of, no matter what. It’s the whole equality vs equity concept. If you think about it, the effort I had put in was 100% of whatever energy I had available to me, and so was his (perhaps 120% ;)). It wasn’t an 80-20 percent ratio, but 100-100. That’s what partnerships of any form should look like in an ideal world, with each person simply giving his or her best.
2. “I’m enjoying your company. Why must it be material?”
To provide some context, my ex had a job offer overseas in Germany at one point in time. He asked if I was keen to go along, and I definitely was. But the more research I did, the more I realised just how difficult a task it was going to be. For one, moving anywhere at all is a logistic and financial nightmare when you see 10 different specialists on a regular basis.
I also feel unwell half the time, and flare ups are unpredictable. My support network is a huge boost to me here, and I won’t get to pack them in my luggage. Emergency visits to the hospital in the middle of the night aren’t uncommon, and I can’t drive due to epilepsy. I would definitely need to rely on my partner a lot more if we were to go.
I started thinking of other ways to get there, such as enrolling into school again. He blew up right away and said to me, “You can’t study! I can’t support you there, you will have to support yourself!” This statement devastated me, as all I was trying to do was find ways to make things work.
So one day I said to my current partner, “I’m sorry I have nothing to offer you. I don’t have money, I don’t have the energy to party or go for many social events, and I’m extra troublesome.”
He immediately said to me, “Well I enjoy your company. Why does it have to be material?”
*Bing* That was another lightbulb moment for me. So you mean, me being me is enough?! Wow, who would have thought of that. But yes, you being you is enough. Stay you – there’s only one you in the whole world, and that is your power. Everything else can come and go – fame, fortune, ability, health. But your personality is a magnet that attracts and repels, and you can charge it up to turn it into a powerful force. It is your biggest commodity.
“No one is you and that is your biggest power.” – Dave Grohl
3. “Money is just money.”
I said to him one day, “I don’t think I could deal with it if my heart valve collapsed again. I’d live out the rest of my days and die in peace, instead of going through the whole process of raising $100,000 to get a heart surgery done in the U.S. again.”
He said, “I’d give you all I had to do it.”
What? All your life savings?
“Money is just money.”
And I guess…life is more precious than money. Always. Not even mine, but any life. Thanks for the reminder and for setting me straight.
4. “Who cares?”
I can’t remember the exact situation for this, but that’s because it happens a lot. I’d ask him about a comment some stranger had made online that was troubling me. Or I’d ask him if people would label me as weird or think that I was stupid, if I did or didn’t do a certain thing. He always shrugs and says to me, “who cares?”.
This is always a stark moment for me because he’s right. Who cares if I don’t have a ‘normal’ full time job – it doesn’t even matter if I’m sick or not. Who cares if I wanted to switch careers and start from scratch? Who cares if I wanted to give my fashion sense (or lack of) a revamp? Who cares if I wanted to sign up for ‘The Voice’ (not really) even though I have no talent for it? Who cares if I want to do whatever I want to do with my own life? I hope you get my point by now.
People make comments all the time, especially if they don’t have to show their face, and it’s human instinct to judge and compare. I admit to being no different from ‘people’. But nobody can ever live in your body or utilise that mind of yours. There is nothing for them to gain from whatever it is you want to do; it mostly changes your life, not theirs. The consequences are for you to bear, not them. So who cares what they think? Do what’s right for you.
Do You Have More ‘Cool Truths’ to Share?
So that’s four cool truths my partner has said that will stick with me for the rest of my life. Do you have any personal epiphanies to share as well? I’ve love to hear them! I would also like to add that my partner isn’t a sage (too bad), and I will share in future on how chronic illness can be a downer in relationships, no matter the level of acceptance or wisdom. Until then, be good to yourself and your loved ones!
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