The difference between being tough & being stupid

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I’ve always been tough.

I have a super high pain threshold and I can’t stand complainers. So, I rarely complain. When I broke my left hand playing lacrosse my freshman year of high school, I hid it from everyone until I passed out. I then taught myself how to be ambidextrous in case it happened again. And it did, over and over. Playing eight years of high school and college field hockey and lacrosse, I managed to break nine of my fingers, tear my meniscus and break my nose, twice. So I got bandaged up and kept playing, because that’s what athletes do. Because athletes are tough and a few broken bones are not going to keep us from performing.Screen shot 2015-02-16 at 6.16.00 AM

On the other end of the spectrum is being stupid. Being stupid is having an asthma attack and hoping it will go away. Being stupid is sucking down three out of code inhalers and willing your lungs to expand. Being stupid is wondering how many Benadryl you can ingest before the crushing feeing in your lungs goes away. And it’s hard to know the difference between being tough and being stupid. Because it’s a fine, fine line.

Recently, I had a cat induced asthma attack to end all asthma attacks. The kind you see in movies where the dorky asthmatic kid conveniently forgets his inhaler just as he is about to go into the haunted house. As you watch the poor schlub pass the point of no return, knowing his inevitable fate, you think… dumb schmuck…I would have remembered the inhaler, I would have done it differently. But you don’t. Because right in that moment you are feigning tough when you are actually being quite stupid. Painfully and ignorantly stupid.

I should know, I am clearly the queen if misnavigating the fine line.

The long of the short of it is, if you have an asthma attack, advair diskus. Get the painful shot in your ass, suck down the steroid nebulizer. Get the prescription meds and inhalers. Don’t spend three days trying to will it away. Because asthma has a will of its own. Be tough. Don’t be stupid.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Bonnie MacBird

    Yep. Exactly. Stiff upper lip, martyr, or oblivious? I have to keep reminding myself that “taking care of myself” is, in a way, a form of “not complaining”. Because that way nobody has to worry about me, if they know I’m being a grownup about my own weaknesses. It is a very tough, a very fine line. Great post. I always need this reminder.

  • Bonnie MacBird

    Great post, Colette. Agree with this totally. There is a fine line between “not complaining” and being so stoic that loved ones need to worry about you. I find that paying attention to taking care of myself is actually as much a gift to them as to myself. And it’s sometimes hard to do as I’d rather be working than anything else.

  • marilee zdenek

    Words of wisdom so beautifully stated. Those of us who try to live bravely need to stay grounded in reality. It’s okay to be vulnerable and say we need help. I’m so glad you realized that in time!

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