Friday, September 16, 2011

What do I (think I) know?

Gosh, it's been an absolute age since I posted. Ack! Hopefully you're all wondering what the heck is going on, and asking yourselves, "where in Pete has that girl been!?"

So, here's the scoop: this has been the summer of ailments (and, evidently, I forgot to mark it on my calendar). No, really. It's been a little bit ridiculous. 

Since April, I've caught two colds (I hardly ever get sick), one monster case of allergies that led to never-ending coughing and ended up requiring two asthma inhalers (I don't have asthma), and, just because life wasn't going to be complete without it, I've been limping (very painfully) around for four solid weeks with my backside, hip, thigh, and knee out of whack. 

Honestly! Is this truly necessary? 

I say all this to you, not just to whine and kvetch about it (because, I mean, who would I be without my whining and kvetching?), but because getting around with extreme pain (it's finally starting to settle down somewhat, thank goodness) has forced me into an awareness I've never had before.

I'm ashamed to admit to you how completely ignorant I've been of this fact: There are a lot of people walking around in constant and terrible pain. They're not complaining and carrying on (like I am). They just go about their business and do what they've got to do. In pain. 

It's one thing to get this on an intellectual level (and, of course, I've always understood this on an intellectual level), but that doesn't mean anything. 

Sure, I've seen my dear friend get to a point where she's had to walk around with a cane (and only for very short distances) because she has extremely painful knees. I always known that she's in pain most of the time, but until recently I'd only understood it on a peripheral level. 

Until I experienced what it's like to be absolutely unable to get from point A to point B (forget the fact that moving made me want to scream and/or cry)...I had no clue. 

Do I have a point I'm trying to make here? Well, yes, I think so.

I'm realizing (yet again) how important it is for me to question some of the things (maybe many of the things) I think I "know". Because a lot of the time...I really don't. Often, all I have is some vague idea in my mind about what someone's experience is- whether the person's in pain, has a serious illness, comes from a culture or ideology different from mine, has some sort of a label (whether s/he wants that label or not), is socially ostracized...The list goes on indefinitely, as you can imagine.

I am struck by how limited I am in my understanding of what any of these things actually mean in terms of a person's life and how it affects who the person is and how they relate to other people and to the world.

In short, I am, yet again, astonished by how much I just don't know. And, more to the point, how much I'm not even aware I don't know. And I have to ask myself: as a music therapist, what are the things I think I know? And how willing am I to find out my assumption(s) may be incorrect?