It’s 1:30am and I’m in a taxi crying my eyes out after a night out with friends. Well, after somewhat an evening out. I’d planned to stay back at my friends, after the usual night out ended around 4am. But here I was, texting my boyfriend in a state, to meet me outside to give the taxi driver the money.
I’d had a bit to drink and so was a tad more emotional than I normally would have been. But some things got to me so badly last night that all I wanted to was leave, come home, crawl under my duvet and sob myself to sleep.
You see, last night, just like the last time I went out, I had more people approach me about my ileostomy bag. I know what you’re thinking. Well you publicly write about it, what do you expect? But it was different. It wasn’t people addressing my ostomy. Or my blog. The complete focus was on the difference in me. I have been quite confident in myself since the surgery, and I have learned to acknowledge the fact that everybody deals with things differently. But last night, I was sat down, and told by people I didn’t know, that “I shouldn’t let people bully me just because I’m different”. And that the people “judging” me aren’t worth it.
I of course stopped them right there and then and told them I would never let somebody bully me. That my ostomy bag saved me life. And whoever had a problem with it obviously had their own issues to deal with.
But, it also angered me. Whether it was meant in a nice way or not – could I not have just been left alone to enjoy my night? I’m sick and tired of going out in public places with people my age, to be patronized and questioned.
I need to be completely 100% honest with you. Please listen to me when I say this. I do not want anybody’s pity nor sympathy. The best thing anyone can do for me is carry on supporting me by reading and interacting with my blog. My ostomy bag does not define me and I refuse to be the subject of sympathy needed for other people to feel better about themselves. I am not looking for somebody to tell me that other people’s opinions don’t matter. Convincing themselves that any opinion other than my own is a negative one.
After this conversation ended, I dragged my friend outside with me to just take a breather. I didn’t want it to effect my night. Of course, talking about it with my friend helped. But I did get upset whilst doing so. It’s hard to talk about something that effects you so personally. It’s hard to keep a brave face 24/7 and act like it’s just water off a ducks back. Because it’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard. What has happened to me could have been completely emotionally, mentally and physically traumatizing. For the first part anyhow. But it hasn’t been. Because I haven’t let it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel low sometimes. That I don’t think about those nights on the ward, crying myself to sleep. Like remembering how much I despised myself at one point doesn’t leave me with panda eyes and a runny nose.
I spoke about all of this with my friend. Because I needed to. And I guess alcohol just gives you complete word vomit and everything you try to keep trapped in and concealed to create this false mask of positivity just disappears and you’re left stuck in this bubble of vulnerability. My friend was very understanding, of course. But even though we’re very close, everything I’d said came as a complete surprise to her. She’d always seen me so much stronger.
It felt like I’d had a little bit of a break through until somebody decided to spoil the moment. By butting in that at my age, I had no idea about life. She laughed at me, and shouted very publicly that “hundred’s of people have ostomy’s” that I should get over it, because “you have no idea what life’s about”.
Completely full of rage, I left the club. I couldn’t do it. I could not bring myself to justify this womans behaviour. Could she not see I was upset? Was she invited to listen in to our very personal conversation? Why did she feel the need to do that? And who the hell is she to tell me after being faced with death and making a positive out of an awful situation, that because I was young, I had no idea about life. I can’t even begin to comprehend her actions. I think it was absolutely disgusting. I am entitled my own emotions. I have every right to feel upset about something that at one point had such a huge effect on me. It should not be compared not dismissed because of my age. This woman was much older than me, and as I left, went on to talk about her life experiences. If she’d experiences awful thing herself then how can she judge others on what they do and do not know?
I would never compare my experience to someone else’s. Because as I’ve said before, everybody deals differently. No matter how many people have experienced the same. Everybody maintains a different mentality. It is not a competition. And your emotions are certainly not determined by the percentage of the population in the same boat as you.
Last night I lost faith in both the older and the younger generation of today. I hope to see more compassion in the world as time goes on. Because that is what life is about. Loving, listening, accepting, embracing, learning and understanding. Living life so sourly is such a waste of the time we’re given. And you never know how long we’re going to get.