“Poor Thing, Bless your Heart.”

When did I become “poor thing” I wonder.

These are the things I hope and believe I am…depending on my mood , it varies.

  • Caring, loving wife and partner
  • Compassionate friend
  • A bit weird …I’m an artist after all.
  • Reliable
  • Dedicated worker. I follow through and complete tasks
  • Good house keeper
  • Good cook…not
  • Careful with money
  • Community minded
  • Green living focus
  • Easily frustrated
  • Reading snob
  • Giving and caring sister
  • Empathetic listener
  • Volatile
  • Temperamental
  • Nail Biter
  • And often I’m flattered to be called, “full of piss, vinegar, and goat’s blood.” (Goat’s blood for climbing mountains like a mountain goat.)

I like me for these characteristics. I’m confident none of these attributes warrant the often heard remark…

“Poor thing… Bless your heart.”

I’m well read, well educated, well informed, well travelled, and live fully with the aid of technology in the 21st century.  And yet…and yet, my education,  years of living, experience,  speaking,  teaching,  writing,  and performing  become  a total nil  when I hear these bone-splitting,  brain-paining words. ”Poor thing, bless your heart”   With that one remark my ego blisters, my persona is obliterated, my soul turns into a lump of clay.  I become a torn blanket flapping in the wind.

People, mostly women, say…

“I like your top…poor thing bless…

The sweater you’re knitting is nice…  Poor thing etc.

Are you teaching, speaking, performing?  Poor …

Who makes your bed, cooks your food, plans a party, does your laundry, packs your clothes , waters your plants, dresses you… poor thing…

I know many disabled people all over the world. They are like me, just another human with a defect. I’ve never heard this comment spoken about them.

My brother is like me—dead-black blind. He is a fine human being, everybody loves him.  His career has been in banking in South Africa. He is also a motivational speaker and athlete – has run the New York Marathon, twice. He has climbed Kilimanjaro. He is a loving caring husband, raised two successful children. Or perhaps I should say he and his wife successfully raised two children.  To the best of my knowledge I’ve not heard the ‘poor thing’ comment about him either. Is it only women who mutter this about other women? Is it a Southern show of sympathy or is it simply a jealous put down?

I’ll ponder this issue for a while.

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