The Good People

My school is filled with good people.

It’s filled with people who want to do good, and want to help, and want to go home at the end of the day thinking something positive about themselves. There are anti-homophobic posters on the walls, and there are people in offices that want to talk it out and warn you of things and everyone has their feet cemented to the floor and they do not kick.

The cement does not crack, and we all remain standing, frozen, never changing, never moving, just smiling.

Every position is filled, every space or necessity, the good people are there, the good people with their rose tinged glasses and their singsong voices. And they are not going anywhere. And I am angry with them, I am furious. It is not their fault, I am not in the position I am because they put me here, those good people; I am here because they do not kick at their cement boots. I am here because along the way we started thinking that better by comparison means the best we’re ever going to get.

There are children in India desperately learning under a bridge, there are children who do not learn at all, and I go to a middle class school, with middle class education, and I am miserable, and I am not grateful, and I am not willing to let this one slide. I exist with in a system that has a very hard time telling the different between manipulation and education, I exist within a system where it does not matter what I do, no matter how dramatic, things will not change, because voices do not matter. My voice doesn’t matter, the good people’s voices don’t matter, it doesn’t matter how right I am, I can be right all I like, I can be coherent and sensible and thoughtful and right, I will not have anymore control over my own body and where it goes than a fly has control over the sun.

I am a prisoner in my luxury and I drown in the mistakes of my peers.

And everyone is telling me that the system works, that I am a blip, a misinterpretation, that I am this rare thing that everyone is just a little too surprised to see and nobody changes an entire system for just one miserable girl. And that is how I know that something is wrong. Systems should not have to change for so little; they just need to budge just a little bit.

But you need permission for everything and nothing is negotiable.

So I am stuck because people do not run the system that I exist within. The good people with their cement boots and hopeful smiles and the students with their resentful glares and bored glances, and all I have ever wanted is for someone in power to speak to me like I have half a brain cell, because I’m either depressed just because I am for no other reason or I’m an attention seeker.

And the good people do not act like good people.

Laws are put in for two reasons; the first is to keep people safe, and the second is to oppress. And the good people, the good people in my school, believe that they are gospel. And they are not. And I am choosing not to be certain because I’m not sure, I’m not sure that this is a reality I want to be in, I’m not sure that this was a good idea, I’m not sure that the system that has promised to take care of me for 900 more days is on my side.

Have you every felt like someone is trying to wrangle you even when you’re standing perfectly still? That’s how I feel. The educational system is snake wrangler set on a bunch of teenagers, and the teenagers are trying to fight back, because something is attacking them even though when they’re left alone for fifteen minutes and spoken to like they have a few IQ points to rub together they’re as sensible as everyone else.

If you treat anyone like an idiot their probably gonna get pissed and I’m pissed because every time I try to argue, nobody argues back.

Nobody will even argue with me, I am not even worth an argument, how sad is that? And I want someone to get angry, I want to be put in detention and suspended and all because if I’m not fighting, if I’m not being right as loud as I possibly can, I’m just sitting here, being sad.

And I am angry, and bored, and resentful, and repressed, and bored, and whatever is going on it sucks no matter how better it is than something else.

I want to study externally, and I want to be better, and speak like a real person, and I want to be able to get a tattoo, because this is my body and it cases my thoughts and my motives, and I am not faceless.

I am not faceless.

It is not your Fault

In writing, the medical industry is a very cold place to be.

It’s just not very nice.

It’s filled with numbers and terms that only your doctor can understand, or even pronounce and you’re really a little to shy to ask. It’s filled with frantically filing things in the back of your mind to Google later because you have no idea what it means, but you think it might be important. The numbers and the probabilities and the averages do not care for you. They don’t mind if you’re stressed, if your appointment is messing with your schedule and your head. The numbers are completely indifferent to your son’s first day of school or your partner’s birthday. The numbers do not care about you. But you care about them; you’ll be caring about them until you’re dead because those numbers are trying to predict your future, and your kid’s future and your partner’s future and the future of your friends. And you care about them.

In writing, the medical industry is not a very good place to be.

But then, there’s a photo on your doctor’s desk of his kids, and there are drawings in grubby crayons on the back of his door and as soon as you walk in he’s analyzing you, he’s trying to figure out what’s wrong, he wants to help, because that’s his job and he loves his kids as much as you love yours and even if he doesn’t know it, he wants you to be able to make that meeting and get that promotion and he wants you to get better.

And to get what he wants, he needs to hurry you along.

When mum first got cancer, or at least the first that I heard of it and acknowledged it as a thing that was going to have to be in my life, I didn’t go to the hospital much, I only went to chemo once and I never went to any of the appointments. I never even really met my mother’s oncologist or any of her other doctors. I distanced myself from the medical industry, partially because there was not nearly as much food involved as I had once thought and I did not like to be there when a blow was inflicted, with me or anyone else. I don’t like blows.

I was only good with recovery.

When mum was going through chemo she would sleep a lot, during the day, during the evening and morning. Her body was so decayed that her legs could barely lift her and her face was more weathered with age than I have ever seen before. And during this time, it was my part to play; I just had to be there. Confused and hungry, but present all the same. Dora, my older sister, wasn’t home a lot, she liked to be a person out in the world, but she was there when the blows were inflicted, she took care of mum when she first felt the effect. Her tough, but gentle love was no good for recovery, and Harper, my younger sister, was too loud, and too anxious, and when I wasn’t there, my dad was.

I never did much, in these moments of recovery. I would emerge like a fog from my room and waft about, with half open eyes and holding my laptop or a book. The truth is, the only reasons that I ever come out of my room were three reasons: I’m hungry, I’m cold, or my dad tells me to. Usually when I came out, mum would be asleep, curled under blankets and letting herself be small and poisoned, and I would sit down beside her until she woke up and solved my problems. So when she woke up; I would be there, and I would abstain from asking for money or food because there were circles under her eyes and I loved her and she loved me. All I was good at was just being there.

I never had anything against hospitals or people in hospitals or the poison that they were injecting into mum’s veins, or at least I understood that they were all necessary. I researched all of them; I Googled poisons at two thirty in the morning and tried to figure out what the hell was going on and why. I did, in many ways. My mum found it comforting to read about other people’s experiences, to adopt their practices and find solace in their scrawlings.

I didn’t.

I thought they were nice, I mean they were heartwarming, but I found no comfort in their imprecision. I wanted facts, cold, hard and uncaring, they would give me no sympathy, they would not pat my head or ask me how home was, they would just tell me the truth.

I had no need for anything else.

Humans are imprecise things, in general. We make exaggerations and manipulations and narratives, we make it too big or we make it too small, and we use words that make no sense and have no reason to be in the sentence. The large majority of our languages are based on what sounds good, not what’s true. We delight in rhythm, rather than accuracy. And a doctor with a photo of his kids on his desk can’t give you that any more than you can give him all of the specifics of your life.

Both of you, in this attemptedly precise relationship, make vague generalizations and shrug.

The human half of the medical industry is almost entirely shrugs, good intentions and guesses.

And that isn’t your fault.