Dignity

Dignity; that feeling that holds us back, stops us flashing in
public and prevents us from making friends with that one person who smells of
urine. This invisible element in our lives changes from day to day.  In the past women have spent hours changing
themselves into more extravagant dresses to please others; men would strive to
work in a credible job which feeds his family. In religious groups, many women
wear burkas whilst others force themselves into marriages to better their
family name. Dignity is a constant in this ever changing world; self-respect is
always there but does it change as we grow?

As a baby we know little, we dress in outrageous clothes from
our mothers’ wardrobe and parade about in it as if it were the spring
collection. As we enter into our adolescent years we become aware of our
bodies, we strive to blend in with the crowd and be fashionable within our peer
group. As an adult we face different options our self worth is affected by our
life choices. Respect for ourselves and maintaining our dignity is not just how
we look, it’s about how we think and feel. A glamour model will strip to feed
her children, would you?

As we grow older and enter into the years when we are at our
wisest we are faced with new obstacles. Our bodies grow tired and our eyes are
full of reflection and thought. Every person wishes to take age in their stride
but many put up a fight. Some will refuse the assistance of aids such as
wheelchairs or frames at the risk that they will lose their credibility as an
independent strong person. Others will not view care homes as an option and
insist on staying as active as possible. Some have no choice. The fact of the
matter is, even if you don’t have a choice, you still have a personality. One
man will shout and scream about his rights, whilst another will quietly let
life take its course; quietly screaming and kicking on the inside perhaps.

I’m not sure where I lie in this very humble opinion on how the
human life is split up. I know that I’m young, I’m a teenager and we’ve all been
there. The time when our body is changing and our opinions on the world are
forming. We’re learning about writers and artists and seeing the world being
destroyed by people who are praised as heroes. My peer group desperately try to
fit in with the crowd…even the ones who claim that they are “individual and
original” in style. The truth is, style is repeated, we wear flares and
leggings like our parents did many moons ago. What is individual and original
is us and the actions we take. What I’m fighting to say is that dignity comes
in many forms.

Unlike the majority of my peers I accept the use of aids such as
wheelchairs and medicine, I have to. That’s not to say I’m not independent.
Which I am but some days I wake up and deep down I feel this bubbling sensation
or a niggling ache in the back of my head and I just know that this is one of
those days where I pretend I don’t care, I block off my urge to maintain every
ounce of self respect I have. I let others take over. For years doctors and
nurses have been improving my body, a slice here, a bone fusion there. I tend
to accept and not fight; although some days I can’t help but be a ‘screamer’.
It makes me wonder where my dignity went. It’s still there but it’s a different
shape now. It’s more lenient I suppose; everyone’s dignity is a different
shape. I wonder where it’ll be in another ten years.

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