Sunday, October 21, 2012

All Is Fair

I have an irrational and historically disproved belief that Life ought to be fair.

Realistically, it's quite childish to hold onto it as tightly as I do - especially when I'm run down as I am now - and, in my opinion, it is glaring evidence of where my emotional growth is stunted and stalled. 

Young Jane: BUT IT ISN'T FAIR!!! [insert tears, stomps, and flailing fists here]
Blind Betsy: Life isn't fair.
Young Jane: But why NOT?! It SHOULD be!

It should be. Yes, it should.

But it's not. And for no good reason as far as I can ascertain.

Never has that been more evident than in the last couple of weeks.

Just in the last two weeks:

- A friend, my age (early 40's), was diagnosed with breast cancer.
- That same day, another friend, of the same vintage, found herself in the cardiac unit with deep vein thrombosis in her legs and in her lungs.
- Another friend was unjustly fired from his job.
- 3 friends openly expressed a deeply seated desire to die.
- A co-worker and friend watched helplessly as her mother succumbed to the ugly final stages of liver disease. 
- Naked Jen received the results of two MRIs indicating she had yet another blood clot right smack dab in the middle of her brain.
- I overheard a mother express with appalling venom her literal hatred for her own child.
- I watched the news as the large-scale search for a young, local girl came to a grisly end when her body was found..."not intact". [I'll be re-reading Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones again and crying profusely over it soon.]
- I learned, once again, I wasn't wanted. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg. 

I've been feeling for several days as though I just wanted to build a bed linen fort and burrow down deep inside it to protect myself from the enormity of the unfairness of the world. My inability to cope with Life when it's most decidedly not playing fair is simply another indication that my belief that Life should be fair is childish. That I'm still childish.

But it wasn't until Cora, in her Cora Kicking Cancer's Ass journal, wrote this morning about how she felt as though she was being punished that I understood just how ridiculous I was for continuing to expect something out of Life that was never going to be.

Life really isn't fair. For no reason. Cancer comes just because. Illness comes just because. Heartbreak comes just because. Death comes just because. Not as punishment but just because Life is not fair.

And I was reminded of a passage that has been largely attributed to Mother Teresa but, in its original form, was actually written by Dr. Kent M. Keith...

The Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

In other words, Life ain't fair. Live it - to the best of your ability - anyway. And maybe, just maybe, if every single one of us followed these commandments to the letter, Life would be just a little more fair.

10 brownie points to those of you who know why I posted this video with this entry.


Gaelyn said...

I think we're sisters. My Mom always told me "Life isn't fair" and I refused to believe her. Until I found out she was right. Of course my definition of fair and hers/yours/anybodys, is different. Although I do like the idea of building a sheet fort over a table. Haven't done that in a while. Be well.

Margi said...

First, we've got the right to be angry .. we can't afford to be innocent ... we will be invincible. Thank you for starting my week with a little Benatar.

As for the video, Billie Jean Davy was accused of a crime she didn't commit - that ain't fair, so maybe that's why you posted it.

And now for your post itself. I'd like to hide in a tent sometimes too. It sucks that life isn't always fair. I wish I had actual words of wisdom, but instead I leave you with a virtual hug and the promise that while some people may not always be on board, you are *always* wanted by someone. See? Here I am.

xoxo #sosyerface

Graciewilde said...

Amen. I just can't add any more to your post, Jane. Life is so the f**k is not fair. And it pisses me off but so what? That doesn't change anything. I think it only makes me more angry. The only good thing is knowing that I am not alone in my anger or frustration or whatever you want to call it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Life really isn't fair. Often, that so sucks. But sometimes, the not-fairness works to my benefit. I have far more blessings than I deserve. More than I've earned. More than I sometimes even appreciate.

And as far as the not wanted thing, I'm with Margi. I'm here, too.

Masked Mom said...

Oh, Jane. Life isn't fair. But you're very wanted--and not just for what I suspect would be your superior bed linen fort making skills.

I never really saw The Legend of Billie Jean all the way through--I feel like that's a terrible gap in my cultural education especially considering my age.