There was a time long ago, before I got sober, when I truly did not care what other people did as long as it didn’t directly affect me. I was self-centered, which is pretty typical for a white, middle-class, stay-at-home mom.
I had blinders on. Purposefully.
After I got sober and started working on myself, things got real uncomfortable, real fast. If you’ve followed me for awhile, you’ve heard me talk about how early sobriety felt like someone ripped off my steel armor and skinned me alive in broad daylight. I felt like a newborn mouse — fragile, hairless, blind, and disoriented.
But I didn’t give up, even when it felt like I wasn’t going to make it; even when I had to deep breathe through my day, taking it five minutes at a time to keep myself from jumping through a window or getting loaded. I’ve put in the work, and it is the hardest work I’ve ever done. Not just getting and staying sober, but the excruciating emotional labor of unearthing the why. Why I want to self-medicate. Why I want to self-destruct. Why I never felt good enough.
This stuff is heavy and exhausting and it’s cost us thousands and thousands of dollars in therapy bills, but I can finally tell that it’s paying off because I’ve managed to stay afloat during the Worst Year Ever: 2020. This is the year that put all of my progress to the test, and so far, I seem to be passing because I’m still sober, my marriage is intact, and I’m not incarcerated. Yet.
The downside to emotional health is that I’m so unbelievably and fully aware of ALL THE THINGS, and then I have to find healthy and appropriate ways to process my feelings about said things. Today, I shall blog as a way to process my feelings about what I like to call the “but my rights!” people.
The “but my rights!” people don’t want to wear a mask because they don’t believe in science and they think that COVID-19 is just another version of the flu. They don’t want to be told that they have to put on a mask before they enter a store, because keeping the pandemic under control is infringing on their Constitutional rights. Somehow, they manage to put on shoes and, I assume, undergarments, but the line is solidly drawn at donning a mask.
These are the same people who don’t flush the toilet in the Target bathrooms and probably also can’t be bothered to wash their hands, but who am I to make assumptions? I mean, all I know about them is that they really do not care about other people.
The “but my rights!” folks are the ladies who hover over the toilet and spray their pee everywhere and then just leave it, because who cares? That’s what a janitor is for! They’re doing that person a FAVOR! They’re ensuring the janitor has a lot to do!
The “but my rights!” people are the men who don’t bother to aim their urine, the ones who throw McDonald’s cartons on the ground and leave used condoms in the neighborhood park. The “but my rights!” people don’t clean up behind themselves, and they don’t teach their kids to be aware of other people because let’s face it — other people don’t matter.
The only people that matter to the “but my rights!” people, other than themselves, of course, are:
- The NRA
- Their Pastor
- Jesus Christ
These are the same ones who claim that racism doesn’t exist because it hasn’t actually impacted their life. The “but my rights!” people find each other and form a pack that others are rarely allowed to enter, keeping them insulated from having to think too much about … well … anything.
I can’t imagine being so entitled and wrapped up in my own privilege that I would argue against wearing a thin piece of fabric over my face to protect other people from MY germs. It’s selfish. It’s disappointing. And finally, I’m using that behavior as an example of what NOT to do when I talk to my kids about being a good citizen. Wearing a mask is literally the least we can do, and yet, that seems to be too big an ask for a large number of people down South, where I live.
But my rights!
That’s interesting to me. Mostly, because wearing a mask been proven to save lives, and also because it’s not hard to wear one. I mean, it’s not super fun, and it can be annoying, but so are sports bras. And I know adults can handle it, because all of my children are capable of wearing one.