5 Jan 2010

Why i care

I am awake, typing this on my blackberry way past midnight. Most of the time, when I get insomnia, I usually have no idea what is causing it. I lie in bed, thinking about nothing in particular, but not sleep. Tonight however, its different. I know what's keeping me awake, I am trying to push it out of my mind, or at least the back of it...for tonight.
An aunt of mine got diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn't in Kenya, so I didn't know about it until a few days ago. Now, I'm not particularly fond of this aunt, I lived with her for a few months when I was in college, a life that saw me decide that living alone in a room the size of my pantry right now was a better option. She is however married to my favorite uncle. But when my mom told me about the cancer, all the dislike I had for her seemed to evaporate. I immediately called my uncle, note- not her- and asked a myriad of questions. Poor guy, he had no idea
where to begin. without thinking about it, I found myself offering to get her a doctor for another opinion, and even volunteered to accompany her. As I did all this, I was asking myself 'what is wrong with you! Don't you have enough health issues of your own to deal with?' Still... I went on. She discovered the swelling in april last year, went to various hospitals before finally being referred to the right one in November. The results came out. It was malignant and the doctors advised a mastectomy. She doesn't want to do that. So they started looking for alternative treatment. Maybe this is what got me. I don't know. But I was incensed that they would choose to ignore doctors advise and choose herbal treatment. I don't believe in herbal treatment. I need proof, tests, scientific results... Not word of mouth, I know a woman whose friend got cured blah. That I don't go for. But why should I care? I don't like her anyway! She made my life miserable when all I needed was a place to sleep instead of the horrible college hostels!

I am addicted to House MD. Nathan says I am addicted to men with lost souls. Dr Lightman in Lie to Me, Horatio in CSI Miami. Nathan...the director side of him. Damaged men. But highly intelligent :). Maybe because I like fixing things,especially people. Making it better for other people. Wanting to be needed? I don't know, I'll explore that another time. Back to House. In one episode, he pretends to have cancer. Everyone is concerned.
They do things for him, show him affection they never do, even hug him. They start tip toeing around him. Finally he gets tired of it and snaps. They are treating him like he is dead, he says. Tells them that he did that to prove something. That people become good to you when they think you're dying. They pretend to care, to love you even though you're an asshole- e.g, him. And I am thinking of that tonight. That is what is keeping me awake. Why I am doing this? I haven't talked to her in over 3 years. Is it pity? Guilt? But what do I have to be guilty about? Feeling the way I do about her? This is not an easy post to write. We normally don't want to say we dislike other people in public, esp not family. But then again, pretending has never been something I know how to do, ergo say things I shouldn't have said, ergo mostly called rude, ergo one reason I love House. telling it as it is, people should learn to take the truth. I digress. I am not feeling any guilt. Pity? Yeah, lots of it. She is a young woman - in her late 30s, 2 adorable boys- 13 and 6.and that has basically surpassed any previous feelings I had for her, and made me care. About her as a human being, about a woman who is faced with a life threatening disease. and that is all there is to it.

So tomorrow I am taking her to the doctor, I am sitting with her throughout the session, I am making sure she gets the right treatment. If this will make me feel good about myself, then so be it. A friend told me that she hates do-godders because its all about them in the end. Of course it is! Nate and I talk a lot about why we do the work we do in kibera. Yes it is to help the people, but its also as much as it is to feel good about ourselves. I could be in the US right now working in some Hollywood thing. But seeing a young man or woman learn how use a film camera and make his / her first film is more gratifying. So I choose that. Is it selfish, maybe so. Actually it is so. But is there a benefit? Yes, its a symbiotic relationship. I feel good about my accomplishments, that young person gets a once in a lifetime opportunity that changes his life forever. It was very hard for me to accept that. Denial is like Pandora in Avatar to me. I won't live there, no matter how tempting it is. Hell, I won't even visit. When you are truthful with yourself, you see things more clearly. I am rude, I am impatient with stupidity and ignorance, I am hateful towards all pretentious people, especially women who pretend to each other, I loathe mind games, again, played by women with the men in their lives, I am caring, I am honest to a fault, I am sympathetic to poor people to an extend of guilt, I rationalize everything, I push limits- and people's buttons- a lot, I love too much it kills me most of the time, I don't keep grudges because try as I may, I can never remember the reason I am or was angry at someone. I always remember that something the person did angered me but I can never recall what. I have never been angry at anyone for more than 30 minutes in my entire life, regardless of what they did. Yes, even that aunt. I can't remember what she did to me, only that it was bad.

So maybe that's why I care.

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