The “F” Word

He works full time and this work often doesn’t end upon his arrival at home, as more duties await. Dinner must be prepared, for everyone, and then the heap of dishes that inevitably follow. Then there is miscellaneous other things that pile up like household cleaning, yard work, and critter poop. He’s tired, of course.

Fairness has always been an obscure concept. As an only child, I fit into the stereotype of having all I could ever need, want and more but, it didn’t come without responsibilities. My family did a great job of talking to me as an intelligent being rather than just a child, and taught me how to care for not only myself but others too. At a young age I fostered kittens who were only a couple weeks old. I got up every two hours for feeding and cleaning. I raised my babies until they were old enough to go to new homes where they would be loved and live the rest of their lives. Oh, I cried. A lot. But, it was the right thing to do as our household was bursting at the seams with other critters we had rescued. 

I grew up in the middle of the mountains and didn’t have many comparisons. I was timid with light brown/blonde hair, green eyes, and tan skin. I was very much a white girl. Most of my friends were Native American, living in poverty, and still very much feeling the effects of their ancestors losing their land and way of life. It will never fade. They hated me at first and I struggled to comprehend it. I didn’t personally raid and take away their land and lives. In fact, my ancestors didn’t even participate in it. Quickly I adapted and began to understand that their feelings were justified and grew distain for my skin color and white people problems. I’m still annoyed with white people problems.

There are so many issues above that could be deemed as unfair. But, what is fairness and why is this something that we all must seek? The concept of fairness and American culture’s obsession with it is destructive. It’s evident absolutely everywhere. It has become more visible in marriage issues I’ve perceived lately.

On RA and chronic illness related blogs, Facebook comments, and forums relationship issues are a hot topic. Spouses don’t believe, support, and even abandon their families due to chronic disease. But this is not just in the chronic illness community, it’s an epidemic in our culture in all relationships. It’s my belief that most of it has to do with fairness. Foolish things like who cooked dinner the most, who vacuumed last, and who always has to pick up the kids become the only things in focus. Love and partnership is a blur. It doesn’t stop there, it’s materialistic too. An old friend of mine used to complain how her husband got a new car and how unfair it was that she had to drive an older car. Seriously? Many marriages are comparable to relationships of siblings. When romantic love isn’t important, why not just marry your brother or sister? But, she got a new pair of shoes so I’m going to get a new pair too! Gross.

Years ago I stood in my mom’s driveway with my Uncle and received the most amazing advice, “Marriage is never 50/50. It’s never equal. Often one person does 100%. If you start to focus on things being fairly applied, you’ve lost.” Though it resonated with me even at the time, I’ve gotten lost many times. When I first got sick I felt I was an overwhelming burden. My husband picked me up from the bed, into the shower, washed and dressed me. “What kind of life is this for him?” I often thought. I would even daydream about what his life could be without my weight. Several times I told him he was free, and told him to… RUN! I felt it wasn’t fair and he didn’t sign up for a disease infested crippled woman. Each time he was utterly insulted insisting that it is his honor to care for me. Overwhelmingly he’s just happy I am alive.

He works full time and doesn’t stop when he gets home. He carries 100% without complaint or grudge. He doesn’t tally the number of days he’s had to do the dishes and care for the animals to use against me on my better days. He knows it’s likely I will not be able to ever carry 100% again. And it’s okay because fairness is equal to loss. Fairness is equal to loss in every relationship.

I’m still learning. But I know one thing for sure, fairness is the big ugly “F” word. Everything is unfair for everyone, all the time.  So can we all collectively let it go, let it free, tell it to… run! Can we? 



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