Hillary Clinton almost passed out Sunday at the 9/11 Memorial Event in NYC, and almost everyone is in a freaking tizzy about it.
EXCEPT FOR EVERY WOMAN EVERYWHERE.
Because you know what?
Women just know. You keep doing what you have to do, no matter what. Even in the face of pneumonia, and standing for hours in "feels like 36 Degree Celsius" weather, and wearing a goddamn bullet-proof vest ALL THE TIME. And that was just one day people! This woman has been on the campaign trail for 8 months doing this every day.
Today, I had an appointment with my family doctor. I needed some prescription refills, and after almost three months of near constant back pain and referred pain down my leg, I figured it was time to mention it to her.
The thing is, I know why I have back pain. It's because of my knees. At this point in my life with RA (see X-ray below to really get it), the only thing that will help with the knees - and thus the back too - is getting them replaced.
Why am I telling you all this and what does it have to do with Hillary Clinton?
Because this is the conversation that happened today with my doctor:
Her: Hey, how are you? Ooooh, I love your boots. Let me see.
Me: Aren't they great? I got them on sale at Gravity Pope.
Her: Nice. Ok, so how are things going with the meds?
Me: Good. I am happy with both. I think they are helping and I just need refills.
Her: Ok, that's great. And what is going on with your back?
Me: Did you get the letter from the surgeon? I am on the waitlist for knee surgery, but this back pain is getting to be a bit much.
Her: Ok, take off your pants and let me see you walk.
Me: (strips to my undies and takes four steps)
Her: OH MY GOODNESS Natasha! Your alignment is terrible! Like REALLY awful! How did I not know how bad this is?
Me: I don't know. It's just how it is.
Her: I am so sorry. You just present so well, you don't complain, you are always so put together. I forget how much you have going on inside your body. You have to remind me to not just chat about your cute shoes and to check you more!*
Me: um.. OK.
And there you have it people.
That is what women do. We keep it together. We don't complain.
WE PRESENT SO WELL.
Until we can't anymore.
Until we pass out on the way to our car because we have pneumonia, and we didn't make a big deal about it because we can't appear weak in any way or it's the lead story on every national news network in the world, and then Trump's numbers go up, and we love our country too much to let him win.
Until we can't walk our kids to school or take our beloved pup to the dog park anymore, because four blocks in, everything on one side of our body seizes up and we can barely move due to the damage in our knees, which is so bad, the word deformed is now being tossed around by all who look at them, and we have to finally admit that we need to use the cane that is sitting beside our bed and not worry about what everyone will think about that.
Or... you know... something like that.
I get why Hillz didn't want to announce that she has pneumonia. She's in the fight of her life right now, and she's fighting not just for herself, but for her country. What's at stake here is huge and she knows it. So she PRESENTS HERSELF WELL, at all times (and at all costs).
This is wrong people. She shouldn't have to do this. None of us should have to perform and/or present ourselves as invincible just to be taken seriously, or to not be seen as less than. This is beyond emotional labour. This is some kind of "Female Atlas Holding the World on HER Shoulders ALL THE TIME so no one is put out or inconvenienced by a woman's needs or senses any exploitable weakness in her" labour. SO wrong.
This presenting well that women do is a learned behaviour. Hillary said as much in her HONY interview,
I have to disagree with her a bit on this one point though, while it may be just a fact, I do believe it is bad.
I mean, when is the last time you EVER heard anyone tell a man in any situation that he presents himself so well? No really, WHEN??
Is it because for some reason (cough... patriarchy... cough) the default for women is to present poorly? To throw our hands up when things get tough and just give up? To not DO all the things? Because, as far as I can see, women never do that. Most women that I know, do ALL the things, all the time, and most often without complaint.
So, I really don't get it. Why is everyone surprised about a woman not telling anyone she is sick?
Someone has to keep the ship on course and I am sorry, but it ain't gonna be the dudes. And dudes, before you get all up in arms about that statement and try to #notalldudes me - THINK ABOUT IT.
Here's what I say:
Rest up a bit Hillz (if you can). Take your meds, maybe top them up with some Zinc and Vitamin C too. Catch up on an episode or two of your favourite Netflix show.
I'll get my fancy cane out and use it, and take the damn painkillers when I need to. I'll stop being a hero and start being realistic about my limitations.
Because we still have a lot of work to do.
And britches get shit done!
NO MATTER WHAT.
*(I am totally not dissing my physician here. We have a very casual and laid back doctor-patient relationship and it's how we are with each other. I wouldn't trade her for anyone.)