Heroism. Not many know this, but I carry the sign of heroism and courage on my chest. True, for the sake of modesty, I do not wear the ornament in the usual way. Still, the public must know that a woman is selfishly decorated and that neither one nor two see me as the pinnacle of heroism.
I have received the decoration in various non-festive ceremonies over the past 11 years. Praises for my work, heroism and the strength of my fighting spirit were given generously. Usually, a few seconds before the quick departure of the decoration giver while leaving me alone to deal with the “enemy.”
It was puzzling to me this medal distribution. Not that I object to being valued favorably by anyone, but I wonder if the phrase “Congratulations to you” is merely an abbreviation of “Congratulations to you for doing this dirty work for me, and now bye bye I’m flying away forever. “.
In the early years of my life, alongside the disease, I did not understand the need for people to elevate my heroism miraculously. Sentences like:
“You’re so strong” left me with the question, do I have the time or opportunity to be weak?
“Congratulations on how you treat him,” and what did you want? That I’ll leave him on the side of the road with an opener and cans to work out on his own?
“You are so brave” How do you know? Maybe I’m dead scared?
I admit it took me a while to realize that these statements are social direction signs. They direct me to a place where society can accommodate me. On the side – with all the heroes, brave and crazy of all kinds. Where there is no room for comparison in front of the simple and downright courageous person. Only there, in the heights of Olympus, on the altar of the gods, far from their reach and from a distance that diminishes me to human learning. Only there can they contain me and the strange role I have been given in my life.
Old-day is a stinking fish. (Old fish is a smelly fish – also sounds like “do not worry”)
This is how my grandmother, peace be upon her, sums up people’s nonsense. It’s not that they’re stupid, she would explain to me; they’re just too lazy to think before they speak. “It’s a pity there is no bone in the tongue,” she would chuckle in a juicy Yiddish tongue “that way, the tongue would not roll so easily in all directions.”
For years I thought it was my job to soften the blow. Sit me in the middle like a giant rubber ring and mask the pain and fear of both the public from its meetings with Junior and Junior from the public’s badly hurt. I carried the role proudly, not noticing that I was crushed into a thin. Loses, under my duty and function, my flexibility and being.
When I discovered this, I saw that I am not helping, but in my distress and suffering, I am increasing and intensifying the pain on both sides. Everything was exposed and painful. The creaking sounds of friction on both sides scratched my ears and proved that I could no longer contain them.
I learned a pearl of new wisdom; Let both sides build their bridges. I must not spare the pain of others. The other will learn from his flesh what he needs to know. And before my eyes, both sides began a complex courtship dance. Touch-not-touch. Sometimes they are coerced, and sometimes they live side by side in peace, precisely when it seems to me that they will soon be able to understand each other for so many reasons.
Sometimes they burn each other to a burn. Then each party flees to his corner, locks himself in the door of his mother’s, and takes care of him. I am called to compromise and explain at these times, but if my mind prevails over my compassionate heart, I stand aside, smile at the two, and say nothing. They will better pave their path, build their bridges, and find themselves.
Only then, I learned, would a wolf learn to live with a sheep. Only in this way can I continue my real mission given to me in this world – to observe. To understand. Learn. Grow. And move on.
And that’s it.
This is heroic. This is powerful. Not the deeds, but the way I go.