Sunday, July 7, 2013

Marginalization

      Let's get something straight. Marginalizing people because they have a disease is not a thing of the past. In fact, it happens every day. Every day, people are looking down upon, spat upon, and isolated because they have a disease. A disease that they have no power over, a disease that they cannot control. Even children are marginalized due to illnesses.
      I have felt marginalized before. It is not fair. It is not fun. It makes me very sad. I am the type of person who is much more likely to be upset about something than angry about it. I am aware of that. So when I am marginalized, or when I see other people being marginalized, it makes me very sad. I do not think of that as a bad thing. If I were not upset about it, I would be some sort of monster with no compassion. 
       Along those lines, our society also marginalizes people who are very compassionate. People who want to change the world are looked at as lunatics. It is frowned upon to become too "emotionally involved" in practices such as medicine, counseling, law, teaching and more. I agree that there are ways to become too emotionally involved. If we ignore our instincts and logic, we end up in dangerous and vulnerable situations. However, if we do not become emotionally involved at all, or if we only let ourselves get involved to set degrees, what good are we really doing? Sometimes, people just need someone to care enough to be willing to become emotionally involved. People need someone willing to sacrifice and risk heartbreak for them. I think we forget that all too often.
      We are human beings. We are meant to become emotionally involving. We are destined to be sympathetic and understanding. By the grace of God, we care about each other. We mirror each other. People laugh together and people cry together, but rarely does one laugh while the other cries. 
       So it all comes back around. We marginalize people, yet we are not willing to invest in them, to become emotionally involved to help turn their lives around. We regard disabled and sick people as the lower groups of society, yet we have no interest in even asking them their names. We do not want to raise them up, because that would bring us down. 
       One of the advantages (and disadvantages) of having an invisible illness is that you lead a sort of double life. One day you are fine, strolling through the mall like any other teenager. The next, you're struggling up the stairs and asking your best friends if they can open your water bottle for you because your fingers won't move. I live both lives. I see both sides of the story. One moment I'm in the "normal" group, the next I'm marginalized. And you know what? It's awful. 
       The reality of it is even worse. I never change as a person, whether my joints are pulsing with pain or they are doing relatively alright. My attitude changes. My happiness changes. But I never change. The heart that beats inside me when I am in pain is no different than the heart that beats inside me when I feel okay. My DNA doesn't flip around. My name never changes. 
       No one deserves to be marginalized. 

Love,
Rachel