He Doesn’t Mind, But I Do

A pressure point translates in Japanese to “tender spot.” What are your pressure points? Tell us about the experience of being outside, looking in — however you’d like to interpret that.

The interesting thing about pressure points is that you have to apply the right amount of pressure and in just the right direction to trigger them. Sometimes, it is just an irritation or annoyance that we can overlook or brush away. But sometimes, not.

There are things that upset me – stories about animal abuse, stories about poverty and neglect, “bad” information being shared with the LGBTQ community – all of the time. Right now there’s a commercial running, a PSA really, for the Dollar Energy Fund. I’m fixated on it each time it airs even though I have literally been working on a cold weather clothing campaign for months. I am working on it, I am helping and yet I still feel the power of this story and it hurts a lot.

I suppose it is the recollection that all of the charity in the world can’t change the systemic issues. Yes, there are situations where a strategic charitable investment – a car repair, the broken window, etc – could stop a downward spiral. But coat drives and donated furnaces often aren’t enough to get someone beyond today/tomorrow, focused on their future. Because who will pay the gas bill in February? What to do when the coat is soiled or stained and needs to be laundered? Or the coat is outgrown? Or lost? Or stolen? What to do when the magnitude and weight of poverty, unemployment, hunger, homelessness and disability make themselves known?  And to be fair, we don’t do “strategic charitable investments” very well in our society.

People like to give, to help. However, people are resistant to change.  Sigh. I suppose another pressure point is when people fail to understand the difference between charity and support.

Yes, all of this flashes through my mind when I watch this commercial. And I struggle because I am talented at getting charitable donations. Am I effective at creating systemic change? That is a pressure point for me. It can take my breath away, just like the commercial does with the opening frame. And watch the PSA to see if you aren’t feeling helplessly outside as this boy sits in his home, wearing his winter coat because there is no heat.

Feeling out of place or “on the outside looking in” is another pressure point. I have to prepare myself mentally to attend certain events – especially political events – because that feeling is super accentuated by almost all participants. All the points are there – privilege, entitlement, rude or boorish behavior, drunken rambling, crowds, mandatory hugging, fur coats and more. And because I know I’m a very low end donor and a tiny guppie in this pond, I usually don’t resist.

Random other things that hit both of these issues

  • Going to an event at someone’s home and having no idea where you are permitted to eat. Or people surrounding the refreshments to chit chat and forcing you to shove yourself through to get a piece of cheese. If you put the talkers near the sittting/eating area, you solve both problems.
  • Smoke. I dislike that so many event are at venues with smoking. And the concept of “smoke free” space within a smoking establishment went the way of the 1980’s. I am glad to be outside the circle of people who are smoking, but I feel sort of sad that we can’t find a way to play together.
  • Seating. My disability makes seating a necessary evil. Often, I can stand just fine and I can walk distances with no problem, but sometimes my balance is off and/or my hand tremors make it impossible to hold a cup and stand. It is much easier for me to have a place to sit so I can avoid those problems. Have you tried calling Consol to get disability seating for a concert? How about an event in a private space? Even if they do reserve a seat or two, I sometimes have to kick other people out of it. And sometimes I am seated in a room of standing people, feeling very awkward and self-conscious because I look fat, not disabled. Sigh. I usually just suck it up, but sometimes it can be very exclusive.
  • Weddings.
  • Fur coats. (Did I mention that?)

Actually, it seems to boil down to a handful of issues: people taking the time to make others feel welcome and included – effort – and people being conscious of their privilege – awareness. If we all made a concerted effort to be more aware of others, perhaps the world would be a better place?

I don’t know what the solution to the fur coats is though. Oh yes, I do – you can donate (charity) through the Humane Society of the US so the fur can be used for animal and orphan rehabilitation.


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