You Could Have Just. . . . .

Standard

Remember in your youth the phrase “Think before you speak”
was told over and over by the adults around you? It always amazed me how some
adults could speak out both sides of their mouths. At what point did we lose
our willingness to engage our brain before inserting our foot? Was it when we
realized there was no longer a consequence for our remarks or was it when we
learned the first amendment? Regardless of the reason, toying with someone life
in words should have consequences.

Being diagnosed with epilepsy this concept was evident even
to an eleven year old. Listening to doctors ask questions that would leave even
the most hardened adult confused and belittled. No medical reason for the
epilepsy like brain trauma or birth defect questions were asked like “could you
conjure one (a seizure) up for me?” “You could be wearing your ponytail too
tight”, “Are you sure you aren’t just imagining this?”  Twenty-two years of being treated like it was
all in my head until one sentence was uttered, 70 to 80% of all seizures have
no known cause. What? I’m a normal oddity? That one sentence if uttered at any
point 20 years earlier would have changed so much.

Then later in life, after the birth of a beautiful baby boy,
the request for birth control was made. For some reason the myths of women on
neurological medications would either have horrible birth defect consequences or
women on these meds tend to forget to take their birth control ran rampant
through the medical society. The practice of tying tubes or tubligation would
be my only option. I was sterilized because of my mythical inability to
remember to take my birth control.

Adults and physicians were not the only ones to mentally and
emotionally wrestle with, there is another stumbling block that for most of us
would be the last place we would encounter little or no understanding.

Being Catholic, seeking marriage assistance is not unusual.
Knowing that you have someone to speak to in total confidence is comforting.
The priest listened to my marriage issues, then told me to bring him (my ex) to
church more, be more submissive and a better wife so as not to anger him. Not
the words I was expecting. This holy man was telling me I was at fault for my
ex’s alcohol induced beatings.

I had been married for almost four years. Seeking an
annulment, another Catholic priest (my hometown priest) told me “you should
have just shut up and listened and you wouldn’t have gotten hit” point blank.
That was the end of the discussion and that was the end of me attending the Catholic
Church.

From my catechism teachings I don’t remember the heroes and
heroines of the bible being submissive. They were aggressive and empowered, why
should I have been any different?

“You could have just” can be a very powerful statement when
used the right way. The next time you see a child or a woman being abused and
stand by and do nothing. Look into their eyes and see “you could have just held
me or gotten me out; you could have just called someone in my time in need”.

The next time you are fighting over truths and half-truths,
look into their eyes and see “you could have just told me up front I can take
it, you could have just been braver than me this time”.

The next time you pretend to understand a person’s anguish,
step back one minute and take a look and you will see, “you could have just
been there wholly instead of pretending to know, you could have just silently
listened as my world fell apart – opinions were not needed just then”.

So please, if you get anything out of this, finish this
sentence before you change the life of a child, a victim, a friend, a
co-worker, a patient, a parishioner, or anyone for that matter.

You could have just…..just what? Think about that the next
time you speak a half truth or your belief, is it better for you or the person
receiving it?

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35 responses »

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