Most of the people who know I wear a colostomy bag attached to my abdomen are online. I don’t make it known to strangers that I'm an ostomate, unless my stoma “goes off” while in a public place and I feel like giving a quick explanation about my ostomy.
I’ve never had anyone say anything derogatory about a colostomy to my face. Frankly speaking, if someone did I would shrug it off because I don’t care what anyone thinks about my bag… or me for that matter. I like myself just the way I am and I’m grateful to be alive. It makes my life better and that’s all that really matters to me.
The reason I decided to write this post is because a fellow ostomate was deeply offended by a remark (actually it was a dumb joke) made by someone who does not have an ostomy about a colostomy bag. Whew! Trying to write that last sentence and have it make sense got me all tangled up in my own underwear!
The funny thing is, the person who was offended is a writer with a blog and seems to believe in “free speech,” but apparently joking about colostomy bags is crossing the line. In other words, free speech is fine unless you are the target of that speech. Hmmm.
Someone can make fun of colostomy bags all day long and my response would be, “who cares?”
I’ll admit, many years ago I made a witty comment about wanting shoes to my match my (colostomy) bag. Get it? Your shoes should always match your handbag. Back then, I didn’t even know what a colostomy bag was. I was ignorant and you can bet I never dreamed I’d actually have one! But now I do.
Maybe that was a law of attraction thing. Who knows? But what I do know is that this colostomy bag is a permanent part of my life and I’m glad to have it. Before the surgery, I used to freak out if I was in the middle of heavy traffic and had to poop. Now I still "go" without warning, but at least it's emptying into that bag without the anxiety.
This “offended” ostomate also told a story about a woman (with an ostomy) who was at a bar talking to a guy who seemed to like her, so she decided to be upfront about her bag. His reaction was childish to say the least and she was devastated. If she had told me what happened in that bar, I would’ve said: First of all, you’re in a bar. How many people find their one true love when their all liquored up? Second, your ostomy is none of his business or anyone else’s, but if you choose to share this information with strangers, be prepared for whatever response comes your way — good or bad.
You cannot control other people’s behavior, but you can control your own.
Eleanor Roosevelt said (and I’m paraphrasing), “No one makes you feel bad without your permission.” And she should know, her mother was apparently a real bitch when she was a kid.
People say stupid shit all day long. Just turn on the TV and watch the news for a minute, you’ll see what I mean. I say stupid shit. You say stupid shit. We all do, but hopefully we can learn to stop saying it out loud so much. I think it’s a human flaw.
We also need to stop being so offended. When people say things that tick you off, it has nothing to do about them, it has more to do with how you see yourself. No one is perfect. We all hide secrets because we think it would be the end of the world if someone else found out. I have news for you… it won’t. In the grand scheme of things no one cares or even if they do, it will be only for a minute until there’s someone else they can gossip about or judge.
As for that woman in the bar, hopefully she gain more confidence over time and eventually meet someone who will fall in love with her, ostomy bag and all. But until then I suggest that she work on appreciation of her own abilities and qualities because confidence is the new sexy.
Life is too short to get worked up about nonsense. Instead of being offended by all the petty stuff, go out and have fun! Be well and LOVE yourself.