Tiny Tim syndrome. That’s what I call it. That character made so popular by Charles Dickens. Raised on the shoulders of Scrooge in the end of the story. Put on a pedestal. Like this honorary creature to be pitied and proud of all at once. His illness makes him this precious feeble creature, but the kind that you have to honor. Be inspired by. His life is so difficult, people whisper, what’s brave boy. Like he lives for their sake. To be their inspiration.
The allegorical Tiny Tim’s of the world are objects of unwanted and unneeded attention.
I have been victim to this syndrome. People watching me take blood sugars. Asking questions about my illness followed by You’re so brave. I’m not brave. I’m not a saint. My illness does not make me a better or stronger person really. All it does is make me realize the mortality I already had. Like anyone else might without a disease might when a loved one passed. And it was a choice. Either do it or die. And since, like any other person I fear death, I do it. It just so happens to be a self awareness caused by self. I’m no “better” than anyone because my illness makes me so.
That’s something else that pisses me off. What unnecessary pressure that puts on people with some kind of illness or disability. Like they have to rise to the occasion of their illness, which they do if they want to take care of themselves, but to rise even beyond their illness. Like they have to be these exceptional people. Like they have to be more than a decent person. Or worse, they have to inspire their caretakers if they have them because of their specific needs or severe disabilities, to be these more than human kinds of people. They’re not allowed to have emotions negative towards those they care for and aren’t allowed to be upset by the circumstances. Yet, the circumstances are innately upsetting. The diseases, disabilities, and care taking are all hard work that everyone secretly hopes and prays to be spared of. And since people pray to be exceptions to such harsh realities…it must take a special kind of person to keep going when it’s hard.
Trust me. It doesn’t.
These kinds of things happen to very normal and imperfect people. They’re not exceptional people who can handle this shit. They’re just people who happened to be born or became the way they are by a perfect storm of life circumstances. Unlike some people who believe in God, I do not think that diseases and disabilities happen with specific reason. I think flaws happen because humans live flawed lives. Because imperfection is prominent in so many ways. I don’t think God hands his hardest battles to His strongest warriors. That’s bullshit. I think some people have battles in life and face them simply because such battles exist. War happens to ordinary people, and even some heroes just happen to become heroes doing ordinary things reacting to that which war throws at you.
So please, do what you can to spare us the Tiny Tim Syndrome.