Dancing in aisles around subjects
We wish we could avoid
Drunk with lust for power
Or sidelined as spectators
We are the worst circus in town
At war with ourselves in a script
Written in the heat of battle
Directed from the top down
Delivered on time or die the death
Of a thousand retributions
When did we become what we have become? Or has it always been this way?
In either case, we’ll get nowhere until we commit ourselves to listening and responding appropriately to the voices of survivors and to those who care deeply for their well-being.
As for survivors, we are many. Telling our stories matters. Listening to our stories matters. Working with us instead of against us makes a difference. So does ignoring, belittling or taunting us.
Recently I’ve been reading Intoxicated by My Illness, by Anatole Broyard. It’s about life and death. It’s also about his own approaching death. He’s brutally honest, funny, sad, thought-provoking and more. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re dealing with your own mortality.
Here’s a quote from page 68, revised to fit my gender. I don’t think Anatole Broyard would mind.
The dying woman has to decide how tactful she will be.
Anatole Broyard, Intoxicated by My Illness, p. 68
Compiled and edited by Alexandra Broyard
Published by Ballantine Books
© 1992 by the Estate of Anatole Broyard
Yes, this is about the way I deal with myself and others. I’m dying a bit each day. It doesn’t matter whether I have a diagnosed terminal illness. I don’t have time to beat around the bush or hide behind polite niceties. Or promise to do things I know I cannot do.
This also has to do with this moment in our nation’s history, and the importance of survivors speaking out against all odds. I still have a few things I’d like to add to the conversation. How about you?
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 October 2018