I commented on a blog last night that I thought the author was inspirational, cringing as I did so...not because I didn't mean what I said (because I did), but because I know how uncomfortable it makes me when people say that sort of thing to me.
I know that I went through a lot after the stroke, but I don't consider myself inspirational, or even especially any more brave or strong than anyone else. I appreciate the sentiment of the compliment when people call me those things, but I usually tell them, "You'd do the same. You'd find your way through it."
I have a lot of friends who've been through what I'd consider a lot worse and come out on the other side doing very well for themselves. Everyone's got their own "bag of bricks" and, all things considered, mine's pretty light. I've always had a stable, supportive family, lots of other supportive adults in the wings, great friends, and opportunities to try new things.
For me, I also need to remember that even the people who aren't "finding their way through" their tough stuff the way we or society expects (or even sanctions) are sometimes still trying their best to cope with whatever "bag of bricks" they happen to be carrying. I'm not condoning bad behaviour. I'm saying that, for me, sometimes I have to remember that there's a reason, even if there isn't an excuse. Some days, especially working with the population that I do, this is a tough one.
But I know that I said some hurtful things to my dad when I was first living at home after my stroke. I'm sure that I don't even remember all of them. He says that he understands that it was the medications I was on. Maybe it was that. Maybe I was just angry that everything I'd planned for my life had gone so far off-track and he was a convenient target. Bad behaviour. No excuse. But reasons behind it. I'm sorry, Dad.
And I'm sorry, Miss McClung, for calling you inspirational. It won't happen again. ;-)