I think I struggle a lot with humanity.
On some days, it is my own. I think I express a lack of humanity, or at the very least a bitterness towards humanity. I am cynical. I am resentful. I am distrusting, and I am hateful. On other days, it is too much humanity. On some days it feels like I am the only one feeling. It is as if I am touched by things others aren’t, affected in ways others aren’t, so that I’m left feeling vulnerable, out in the open and exposed. I am left feeling too many feelings.
So much of my struggle with my chronic condition can be viewed through this lens of humanity. At times, it can feel like I am dehumanized by others. I often feel that way whenever I step foot in a hospital, and before being asked my name, or how my day was, or how I’m feeling, I am forced to hand over this piece of technology that supposedly represents me. Suddenly, I am reduced to a series of numbers, a grouping of statistics. In the worst of moments, the pain/suffering I experience from this condition renders a bleak perspective of humanity as this uncaring, cold thing. Medical. Sterilized.
I’ve seen a lot of that side lately.
But then, I’ve also seen the opposite. I’ve seen the best of people reach out, extend themselves so as to connect and let me know I’m not alone, that none of us are. I’ve felt humanity’s warmth, experienced its care and consideration. I’ve seen the best of it. I’ve seen a lot of that side too.
When I write, I do so with humanity in mind. I can never really get away from it and its relationship with monstrosity. I am fascinated by monstrosity specifically because the line that separates it from humanity is far more blurred than we would ever like to admit. I love exploring that blurred place. Those who are disabled know it all too well, for we are often monstrified in our own right.
So much of humanity is messy. So much of it a convoluted mess of emotions, ever-conflicting and contradicting. And lately, that’s how I’ve felt: like a mess of emotions. One day happy, the next distraught. One moment smiling, the next in tears. Of course, the line that separates the two (happiness from sadness) is also blurred, and is just as ambiguous.
But there is such beauty in the struggle with humanity. At times it feels I am grappling with it, holding fast to this thing that jerks me around, tossing and turning violently, sending me spiraling at times, to the point I feel I may fall.
But, I suppose that’s just what life is: a struggle. We are left asking ourselves whether it is worth it, whether the number of good days will outnumber the bad ones, whether our humanity will outweigh our monstrosity.
But I suppose I’m grateful for the struggle. I suppose I feel lucky to be able to experience it, to be able to question my humanity and have that in and of itself be emblematic of my humanity.
This paradox that we all live, is beautiful.