Am I allowed to have my own thoughts and feelings? That might seem like a ridiculous question but I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. The knee jerk reaction is to say that no one can stop me from thinking or feeling a certain way, especially about things that affect me directly.
That’s true. But as I’ve discovered recently, it’s entirely possible to be shamed when trying to express those thoughts and feelings. And once shamed it’s even harder to regroup and try to explain yourself because of the fear of meeting further resistance.
By virtue of being 24 I think, I find myself in this position a lot. I’m new to adulthood and incur a litany of “why don’t you” “you really ought to” and “why haven’t you” pieces of sage advice from all of the people in my life who want nothing so much as to see me thriving. Before I come off as unforgivably ungrateful, allow me to say I do honestly appreciate every piece of advice sent my way.
But. All of this advice has, especially lately, had the added effect of making me feel like my own thoughts and feelings about my life are somehow wrong headed and therefore moot. This is an idea that I have trouble entertaining because the life in question is unequivocally still mine to live. I’m responsible for the decisions being made and reaping the consequences of those decisions.
And I have immense difficulty explaining how it feels to be adrift in this sea of unsolicited advice and aide. This to the point of feeling like my inability to speak up is threatening the autonomy I’m trying to define. A good example of this is the pressure sore on my leg that I’ve been dealing with for the last few months.
In order to get it healed, I have been going to weekly doctors appointments and following orders from rounds of antibiotics to offloading and compression wraps. However, though these are my appointments and the orders are given to me, my grandparents chauffeur me each week and my husband does the daily care necessary. My involvement has felt largely secondary. That and the fact that my health issues have caused housework to pile up, make me feel like my life isn’t in my control in areas it by all rights should be. Not to mention asking for help to manage the housework has pushed that feeling to the max.
Unfortunately my ability to explain this to the people who are doing the most to help me has fallen short. On several occasions the response I received was that I should just be grateful for the help. Which I reiterate, I am.
But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m feeling incapable of claiming my life and my decisions as mine. I may only be capable of accomplishing the bare minimum on my own, and right now I’m not even doing that consistently. But I’d like to be given the chance to improve in my own time and by my standards. The second part most importantly. I’m grateful for any help I get but in the end I want to be satisfied that my life is being lived by and for me. I’m beginning to feel like I’ll never reach that point and I think that’s what scares me most.