The Phoenix Zine

Gaining Perspective


At times, I’m terrible when it comes to having a balanced perspective. Years after events have happened, I still find myself cringing over things I have done and said, haircuts I once had (shudder – the mushroom cut), and things I wore (plastic pacifier necklace anyone?).

One time when I was at the Hospital for Sick Children for a check-up, I entered a little playhouse in the waiting room. Inside the house was a boy younger than I was, with a tube up his nose and a big smile on his face. When I saw him and he said hi, I backed right out of the playhouse, completely freaked.

Ever since it happened I’ve wondered, was I just surprised by the little boy, or frightened by the tube up his nose? Even after all these years, the thought that it was probably the latter reason continues to bother me.

Then there are memories of times when I know I felt strongly about something and now upon reflection cannot imagine how I ever felt that way. A good, although somewhat embarrassing, example would be how I once felt the movie Titanic was the most romantic and best love story ever.

I cried so hard when Jack, the film’s romantic interest, dies the first few times I saw it, and again when Rose, the protagonist, dies and is reunited with him. Now when I watch it, I spend a lot of time chuckling over the cheesy dialogue and plot lines. (While still tearing up a little at the end.)

The memories above are mine alone, based on observations of myself. Fodder for journal entries, but generally not questioned about their validity.

Shared memories, however, are a different kettle of fish. when another person and I have conflicting memories over the same event or situation, I tend to assume my memory is faulty and theirs is correct. This is especially true when it comes to recalling memories of when I was little and sick.

Although illness in a family is unifying as the family pulls together to get through the illness, it is also incredibly isolating. Every member of the family has a different perspective of the illness, and every family member is affected differently by it. Parents must watch their sick child struggle with the illness, while dealing with possible feelings of guilt, anger and grief. Siblings can get lost in the shuffle, struggling with reduced time and attention from their parents, and worry over their sick sibling. And the child who is ill must deal with doctors, tests, and hospital visits.

Just so we’re clear, I’ve simplified the whole situation a great deal. The emotions and perspectives that accompany childhood illness are immensely more complicated and would take a publication a lot longer than my blog to explore and do justice to. The point is, no two perspectives are the same. And whatever your position in the family; parent, sibling or ill child, your perspective is valid.

When thoughts are whirling about in my head about something I’ve said or done or remember that I’m questioning, I find writing everything down gives me the greatest perspective on the matter. For others, it’s talking to a trusted friend or listening to music to clear the mind. Whatever works best for you, I encourage you to spend time embracing your phoenix through gaining some perspective on yourself.

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