I’ve done two things today to inch along in this goal. The second one was the most recent, and took place on Facebook.
I’ve been thinking about bone marrow donation and started a thread about it on a forum. I’m not trying to make people join the register, but there are many myths around bone marrow donation and little conversation. After posting I went on You Tube to look at videos on the subject. I found one that said something that made my eyebrows shoot up:
Did you know that umbilical cords and placentas can be donated and used to treat cancer patients?
I had forgotten this and thought back to last week when Steve told me about his brother’s new baby; they were bringing the placenta back home to bury in the garden. Because I’ve never been pregnant I don’t know how explicitly expecting parents are told about donation, or the potential to save lives.
Perhaps it touches a nerve for me because my mum had cancer last year, and my grandfather suffered badly with it before he died.
I don’t think it’s the parents fault if they don’t donate (you can’t be at fault if you don’t know) but I’m very surprised there isn’t more effort among the medical community to advertise this information in clinics and in prenatal classes. I’m sure more people would choose to donate and save a life rather than bury it, however ceremoniously.
Bringing one life into the world while at the same time stopping one from going out sounds like a good deal to me!
So, what has this to do with this goal? I hate the possibility of offending someone. I squirm. I become very nervous, even if what I have to say is reasonable.
One of my friends had a baby last year, and another one is expecting any day now. As far as I know neither of these two women did or plan to donate stem cells, and I wouldn’t want to upset Steve either. As much as I care about this, I didn’t want to say anything because I cared too much about what people think about me.
But I remembered this goal.
I thought… no. Don’t get sucked into that loop, you don’t know what’s going to happen and you have good intentions. I really don’t want to upset anybody because I’d be upset – maybe even more upset – if they were upset.
But I do think raising awareness is important, and breaking this cycle is important too.
I made a post, and attached the video. I still feel nervous, but what can people say? “How dare you! I didn’t do this and you’re saying I could have done this! Don’t tell me what to do!”?
Anyway, last night on the same forum I started the bone marrow thread on, I replied to a topic about racism. Someone said they didn’t like the word racist because they thought the word was racist in and of itself because it assumes there are races and re-enforces those barriers.
I disagreed and said that while I don’t believe in different races, there are deep social constructs based around the idea of race. Racism is the label we give to identify these constructs so we can highlight and talk about them. Racism exists even if race is abstract. To give an example I said, “Currently there is a giant swastika inked onto one of the houses that overlooks my garden because it was built by Polish workers last year.”
Someone read that today and totally misunderstood me. They thought I meant the Polish workers themselves had painted the swastika on the walls and ranted about how the Polish people had suffered during the war, how the workers were jerks and finished this tirade by saying “I hope you understand that.” It was as if they were accusing me of putting it up there!
My heart clenched. My instinct is to always bow and apologise and be concerned and make the peace. I took a few breaths and said:
It wasn’t drawn by the Polish workers, it was drawn by someone against the workers because they were Polish. It wouldn’t make sense for the workers to deface the house, for all the reasons you’ve given.
It was simple, but I felt so good about myself for doing that. I didn’t give my power away, I didn’t apologise, I kept calm and I didn’t jab at them for being aggressive or intimidating me either.
They replied a few minutes later and apologised, and I wrote back and told them not to worry but I appreciated them saying sorry.
I feel strong clearing even this small thing. With practice, I hope the heart clenches can become less and less…. and go… away…