DISPOSABLE

December 27, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

dis·pos·a·ble  adj.
noun
1.  an item that can be disposed of after it has been used

I am not disposible.
Do not write me off.
I am unique.
I have value.
The world would be less, if I were not in it.

How many horrible, violent, thoughtless, inhumane things take place because people have been viewed as disposable… written off?

I was listening to a speech given by Katherine Patersonthe, the writer of Bridge To Terabithia. Her books are considered ‘children’s books’ but they stand the test of time and resonate because they stick with you. They haunt you…. just a little bit. You come away having lost and gained a piece of your soul and they change you — just a little bit. I read it as a child (several times) and yet I can’t seem to remember the smaller details of the story. I do remember though, how carefully I tried to live life as numb as possible and yet the strong feelings of joy and happiness I associated with those watercolor paints, the powerful loss I felt at the loss of a best friend…..how profoundly it affected me. It echos across all these years because of how powerful the emotions it provoked were. I can’t bring myself to watch the movie because I’m afraid it might cloud the memory and power the story held for me.

But the main thrust of Katherine’s speech seemed to be that people, in any position or walk of life, be they old and crippled or young and inexperienced, prisoner or foster child, are not disposable. Every single person in the universe is unique and of value. As soon as you start to view people, ANYONE as disposable, you cheapen both that human being and yourself. You give yourself permission to take them for granted and give them less than your best.

I have a clipping from a magazine up on my desk. It’s one of those papers that invariably gets buried and rediscovered and read, and then taped or tacked back up somewhere so that I know I will end up reading it again. The opening lines read, "Notice the next time you’re giving your friend, mate, child, or coworker less than your full self. I’ll bet it happens more often than you’re aware. With to-do lists a mile long and constant deadlines, it’s no surprise that most of us feel cut off not only from our partners and loved ones but also from ourselves."

I started thinking about this concept as it applied to different scenarios. If you work in retail and you treat each customer as a difficult situation to be survived and not as a PERSON, another human hanging on by their fingernails to the edge of this spinning planet, you degrade them and yourself. You pass up an opportunity to brighten someone’s day and you cheapen yourself because if they dont’ deserve your best, you don’t deserve anything better either. You are setting the rules for your personal reality.

She told of a scenario that unfolded in her own life….being in the position of being a temporary foster parent and being just relieved that the child will be gone soon and you must just do enough to get thru the time they are there. She realized that in thinking this, the child becomes disposable in your mind. Soldiers are often viewed by politicians as a disposable quantity to throw at a problem….replaceable.

How many people in daily life are disposable? The teenager behind the counter at the coffeeshop, the driver next to you on the road….If you view others as disposable, you can stop caring about them and their feelings and you allow yourself the luxury of doing or saying anything to them, treating them anyway you please, because there are no consequences. They don’t count…..After all, they are replaceable.

Think about a breakup…why do we struggle so hard to keep someone (a friend or a lover) from leaving us (seemingly whether they are a positive influence or not)? Because if they DO leave, it just might prove that we really ARE leave-able. We are disposable.

Why is it so profoundly disturbing to be fired (or layed-off for that matter)? Because if they can do without us, we are disposable. Un-needed.

Why do empty-nesters feel so empty and quest about desperately for new direction and/or meaning in life? Because suddenly they feel unnecessary, unneeded, obsolete.

And anyone who has experienced depression can tell you — The feeling that overtakes your entire outlook is that if you were missing from the world, not a soul would miss you….because, in a word, you are valueless; disposable.

I started thinking about the question that seems to occur anytime the fact that I keep a blog comes up in conversation, "Why????". It’s usually said with just a tinge of disgust at the waste of time and energy or sometimes just general confusion. Most of the people in my life (who don’t bother to read it, obviously) are completely baffled at why ANYone would want waste their time to write something that no one is going to read anyway. If I am starkly honest, I have to admit that it is, at least in part, a way of asking to be counted.

"See???", I am saying. "See?? I DO have something to offer!!!".
A quiet way of pleading…..PLEASE someone see my value, my uniqueness. And even if no one answers, by putting it out there, I am telling myself that what I have to contribute (words or thoughts, or some creative endeavor) DOES have VALUE. Value enough to record and to take up a little space on a server somewhere out there in the big bad world. 

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3 Comments »

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  1. I see you! I value your words and LOVE to read your blog!

  2. I find that people tend to criticize that which they don’t understand. When someone gives you the dreaded raised eyebrows about “why in the world would you keep a blog?” issue, you can raise your head high and feel bad for THEM that they are missing out on so much in this world be being critical and judgemental. They are the type of people that are so busy rushing through the “chores” of life that they don’t take the time to stop and marvel at a tiny flower or blade of grass, who don’t understand the joy of losing oneself in an amazing book, who don’t value their thoughts enough to commit them to a journal, online or off. They are the ones that are missing out on so much joy that is here for the taking in this life and for this I feel sorry for them. To be critical and negative towards others shines a spotlight into their thoughts about themselves, and really shows what they are inside.
    I wish that this technology was available when I was growing up. What a wonderful gift it would be to be able to read the everyday thoughts of my mom as she was raising me. And not just little anecdotes about me, either, but a peek into her private loves and passions, the woman that she is in her heart, not just as my mom. You’ll never regret keeping this log of your life and loves, thoughts and feelings, joys and heartbreaks. When your daughters are older, it will be a treasure for them to explore. And in the meantime, you have friends who’s eyes light up when they sign into their email and see a reminder from Blogarithm that your blog has been updated. We never know what the topic will be, but I always know that it will cause me to think and will be from the heart, with no games. And that is refreshing and wonderful, no matter what the topic.

  3. I too love reading your blog!


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