Matter Out of Place

Over the last 12 months this blog has meant many things to me. This is where I figure things out, make sense of what life throws at me, find solace and above all, find a purpose…..Today, I am going to use it as a distraction. In a couple of hours I have to overcome my fear of enclosed spaces and subject myself to a medical test in a narrow coffin like contraption called an MRI Machine. I have had 3 MRI’s in the last 10 years and during the second one which happened in Singapore, I got a bit panicky and pushed the call button indicating to the Technician I wanted to come out. He wouldn’t oblige saying he only needed another 10 minutes worth of imaging. The slight panicky feeling turned into full fledged claustrophobia and by the time they pulled me out of there, I was kicking and trashing in blind panic.

So as you can see MRI’s are not my favourite kind of medical test. The third time I had one I asked for a sedative and managed to last the required 20 minutes in the machine. For today’s procedure the doctor has prescribed an IV sedative and I am hoping everything will go well as a result.

A good friend is driving me there and back, taking time out of his busy workday. Other friends have called or text to wish me well. Those related to me by blood however have chosen to focus on something else happening this week instead.

A few weeks ago, a long time friend of mine rang from Sri Lanka, saying he was thinking of returning to New Zealand after spending 18 of the last 20 months personally nursing his mother through a long term illness. He had provided 24 hour care for her, giving up his job in Australia in order to do that. She had passed away in February and now he was trying to get back on his feet. He needed somewhere to stay until he assessed the likelihood of getting a job here. I offered to put him up for a few days. He arrived two nights ago and I have been ringing around friends trying to tee up some accommodation for him.

I shared with my family the news that my friend was returning to New Zealand soon and would be staying with me for a few days. I also shared with them the news about his mum’s illness and passing away, thinking they would find much to admire in a dutiful son such as him. I was wrong. A few days afterwards, my mother rang me up to say how disgusted they were that I was behaving like I had no self respect having a single male staying with me. I was flabbergasted. I thought they knew me and understood why I was doing what I was doing. Yesterday my sister rang up to express her disgust in person. I just hung up as there was no point in even justifying my decision. She knew I was having this test today, yet chose to focus her attention on this incident rather than wishing me well. She chose not to ask how I was getting to the hospital and whether I would be ok getting back home. The friends whose characters she disparaged are the ones that are acting like my real family while mine choose to stand back.

I struggled to understand how I could have been born into a family like that. Why was I so different to them? Then yesterday I had a thought. In Anthropology there is a term called Pollution. It is defined as “matter out of place”. In my quest for independence and striving to live authentically, I think to my family I am simply matter out of place. They don’t know how to fit me into their existing classifications and therefore I am a pollutant in their world…To be looked down upon, to be cleansed of. I don’t feel angry, just sad that they don’t see me for who I really am. There is nothing I can do about it, so I will carry on being who I really am for as long as I can……..Today I have far more pressing things to worry about and I choose to be thankful for everything else that I have in my life and not focus on what I don’t have…..

Postscript
It all went well. Machine was lot bigger than last one I had been in and there was a mirror attached to the contraption that went over my head which let me see the people in the control room. The sedative helped too because the half an hour felt like ten minutes and so did all the positive energy I received from my friends. Thank you

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lorna says:

    Hope the MRI goes well. Get well soon. My thought and prayers are with you even though I have not met you. This too will pass. Sorry to hear about your family. Join the club!!. I read your blog and admire you for a gutsy lady Kia kaha..’stay strong’. It is kind of you to give your friend a helping hand. That’s what friends are for. Ignore all the narrow minds.He is a good person to take time off to look after his Mother. I know a Sri Lankan family in Half Moon Bay who has a large room for rent. Let me know if your are interested. Shall give you further details. May you be Blessed.

    1. Hi Lorna,
      Reading your comment brought tears to my eyes. You were one of my very first email followers and I had always wondered what sort of a person you were. It is good to finally hear from you and thank you. It means a lot to know that there are people who understand. My friend is following up on a couple of leads, but I will contact you by email if those don’t work out for him tomorrow. Blessings to you too.

  2. Arathi Manay says:

    Hope the MRI thing happens without undesired excitement.
    It’s the South Asian mindset. Hard to change. Best to get on living our lives as we want to and not just to please the rest.

    1. Thanks Arathi. It went well. I am going to write a small postscript soon to my original post. Someone once told me “if you think you are enlightened, go live with your family for a while……I guess I finally know what that means…”

  3. Shari says:

    Hi Sandamali – glad it went well. Dealing with your family is a good way to test out your level of enlightement 🙂

    1. At this rate I probably won’t get there this lifetime:)

  4. Lanka says:

    Hi Sandee, glad that the MRI went well. My prayers be with you always. Regarding the family matter, I am kind of standing in the middle and trying to understand both ends. What ever happens keep calm and face it.

    1. Dear Lanka,
      Thank you. And you are right not to take sides. That is not what this is about. I am simply trying to accept that they will be who they are regardless of what I do and all I can do is to travel my own path.

  5. Madhawa says:

    Glad to hear your MRI had gone through positively. Must say, the images created by your previous bout of claustrophobia in deed dealing with them now. You account of previous bout of claustrophobia gave me an involuntary chuckle – I know it wouldn’t have been funny for you.
    Your family, with their resistance to your choices, will ensure that you’d continue on your terms. Anyway you seem quite at hom deal. s. Only the time will tell them what you are… All the best!

    1. Madhawa says:

      Hi my comment got really jumbled with inconvenient mobile phone typing. But I’m sure you could piece it up.

    2. Thanks for your support as always Madhawa. It wasn’t funny at that time, but yes, i can see the humour in it now that you point it out. And part of me always knew if I was to tilt my head backwards ever so slightly, I could see out the back end of the machine, but the fear was very real for me.
      With regards to my family, I feel this was a Tipping Point for me if you have read Malcolm Gladwell’s book…….Whenever they opposed me previously I always doubted myself. With this incident, I could see no sense at all and it is like they have lost all their power…..

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