Enough is enough

Life is not fair. Despite hearing from childhood that ‘you can be whatever you want to be’ it’s not that simple. If you are born poor, you’re likely to stay poor. And if your parents were wealthy, chances are you were afforded opportunities and privileges denied to most. A solid head start.

But boy do we love overcomers. First, it feeds into this mythology. Which alleviates guilt (I have, and you do not, but you could if you only tried hard enough).

The loose use of the word hero during the pandemic has been part of this particular story line. Frontline workers. Rather than supplying them the actual support they need (PPE, higher wages, true recognition of the essential services they provide) they have been labeled heroes. Try to cash that one at the bank.

I can say this with confidence. From personal experience. Even though I was born white and into a middle class family, I already had several marks against me. First, I was a girl. Second, my family was deeply dysfunctional.

At the age of twenty four I got pregnant. I didn’t really know the father–we had been dating for six weeks. My family had long ago split into two equally unhealthy arms (what’s worse than two dysfunctional parents? Four). My mother and stepfather urged an abortion and then demanded marriage. I refused the first but tearfully caved on the latter.

Within a year my stepfather would fly his small aircraft into the face of a cliff on his 65th birthday. Suicide. Two weeks later I discovered I was pregnant for the second time and that my short marriage was over. My mother was now bankrupt so I asked my father and stepmother if I could move in with them for a short time. The answer was no.

By the time my daughter was two, it was obvious she was being sexually abused by her biological father. I was only twenty six, an unmarried mother of two, but I did my best to deal with the system and to protect my children. Ultimately I would fail, as the abuse continued.

First we were on food stamps, but then welfare. And you know what my gold star was? Everyone told me what a good mother I was. Truth is, I was in way over my head, totally overwhelmed, and could have used some fucking help.

It’s been a struggle in one way or another ever since. I am an overcomer. The way I handle adversity makes others feel better.

But just because I keep showing up for practice, it doesn’t mean I’m not aware that I got a pretty shitty role in this play.

So back to the present. The anger, the outrage, the demonstrations and the looting. There is a fixation on the latter. And yet no one should be surprised.

Sure, these may be ‘lawless’ individuals who are taking advantage of the chaos. But you know what? That term looter, like hero, is often applied loosely. Someone who breaks into a store and steals some shoes is, to my mind, no more of a looter than someone who is obscenely wealthy. The difference is one is protected by our laws whereas the other, if caught, will be prosecuted. The rich will stay rich and the poor will get poorer.

Although I would not go so far as to say I am an anarchist (I like some order), my ideology is radical. I hate racism, deplore our criminal justice system, and feel that capitalism is at the root of so much that is evil.

Life is not fair. Anger is justified. Nobody should be poor, but more importantly, absolutely no one deserves to be filthy rich. Having a billion dollars should be a crime.

And until we all acknowledge and own this inequity, the world is going to continue to explode. As human beings, we can do better. We can heal the hurts, stop trying to justify injustice, quit trashing our home–I’m not talking about looting, but rather the destruction of nature and the environment.

When someone tells me they are sorry that I have cancer, I invariably respond with ‘it’s ok.’ Which of course makes them feel better. Perhaps I should just thank them for acknowledging my bad luck.

My own response to inequity is to use what I have to address it. Would I love to be a philanthropist? Sure. But I have no talent for acquiring money. And if I did, I would be ashamed to live in luxury while others struggle in poverty.

That is what drives my activism. I have been given more time. And although I can’t share it, I can do what I can to make sure others are given a similar opportunity.

The world is hurting. Big time and in so many different ways. We can respond by hiding in our bunker and dimming the lights. Or we can acknowledge that we are all in this together—one big, giant, screwed up family. And if we want to end this cycle of abuse, well, it’s time we owned our problems. Stop turning a blind eye. Work together. Pass the plate. Do our best to make certain everyone is given an equal portion.

Grace versus gluttony.

33 responses to “Enough is enough

  1. I love this so much. I completely understand this. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope you are doing well and feeling good.

  2. You sound nuts. Your last two post are horrid. Do you think people have followed you to be preached to about socialism, facism and on and on? That you are ok with the destruction is going on in our country because you believe in anarchy?
    People are losing their livihooids that they worked for all their lives and you are ok with that? You aren’t for capitalism but you sure take all the help that is offered you in the form of these trials and money these followers of yours have given you through the years as you whine about not having enough money? And you hate it? Who pays for all your trips so you can boo hoo that you have cancer? Who pays? I am so fucking mad that you did this. It’s your blog to do what you want but I hope you lose most of your followers. There are other sights that say you don’t even have cancer is that it was never bad that you use this for money. That you are a scam. I always took up for you but never again.

    • Hey ass hole. That’s my mom you’re talking about here. Clearly you haven’t done your research. I have suffered and mourned everyday along side of the rest of my family for 15 years because of her totally unfair diagnosis. I have seen her on her death bed and I have seen her claw her way back from the depths. She is an inspiration and a fighter. You on the other hand are nothing more than a sniveling angry moron. Rot in hell. This country is fucked, what’s happening is justified, time to wake up.

    • Hi Debrish, You are clearly in a lot of pain yourself. Angry, bitter. Defensive. I feel sorry that you need to take out your rage on a thoughtful, generous, brilliant person whose activism, research participation, and writing has helped so many. As a cancer patient, I have personally benefited from Linnea’s work as a research participant because I have been able to take medicines that were tested ON HER BODY, AT HER RISK, with no guarantee they would benefit and not harm her. Yes, trial participants get “free medicine” (again not guaranteed to work, not guaranteed to be completely safe), but if you had really read Linnea’s blog, you’d see that pretty much all other expenses related to cancer treatment are incurred by the patient. Everything. Transportation. Doctor visits. CT scans. Other medications we take to alleviate side effects of cancer medication. And research subjects are risking their lives. As a cancer patient, I have benefited from Linnea’s activism to improve the lives of cancer patients and research subjects. And her writing has given me, and other cancer patients hope. Seriously Debrish. Pay attention. Read the blog. The whole blog. Or not, if you’re so offended by one post. It’s not like the author has kept her politics a secret all these years. Or better yet, start your own blog detailing all the things you have struggled with, one that details difficult health problems in a way that truly helps others. Make a real contribution.

      • T (or whomever you are). I thought about simply deleting your post as the vitriol truly made me reel. But then I decided it was better to have it out there (and therefore I shared it on Facebook as well). Don’t know what your issues are but a rather unfathomable hatred seems to be one of them. You might want to get some help for that.


        ps: I found you on twitter as well.

      • Leslie, your response was generous. On all accounts.


    • Jeffrey C Engel

      It’s funny but also sad that losers like T Debirsh (I’m sure someone can run that name through an algorithm to get an idea of who it might be) feel compelled to accuse a good person of being fake just because that person chooses to talk about injustices, unfairness and struggle.

      We should feel sorry for T Debirsh. But I don’t blame anybody if they don’t. This person clearly lives a horrible and miserable existence, so their only sense of self-worth comes from attacking people fighting for some control, some power, and their LIFE, and the lives of other people.

      It’s also ironic because people like T Debirsh have no idea just how wrong they are when they think their accusations will sway people who know better.

      Go back to your basement, T Debirsh. Or better yet, if you actually wonder if anybody will come to your funeral after you die, go outside and learn something from people for a change. Learn about empathy and compassion.

      • Thank you for your support Jeff. I found T Debrish on twitter and their agenda would seem to be tearing down anyone or anything they deem liberal. A troll.


    • YOU NEED HELP! Obviously you have no clue what a cancer patient goes through mentally and physically. Not to mention the costs that we incur even on clinical trials, we pay for Dr visits, travel, test costs, lodging etc. Linnea has put her life on the line for many of us and has helped thousands by sharing her experiences whether they are good or bad. Life is not a bed of roses. I hope you get the help you nee!

    • Debirsh, your rant was mean spirited and petty, meant to hurt. If you don’t agree, just leave or stay silent. I don’t follow blogs that praise Jesus in every paragraph but I do not rail against the person.
      I have gained insight and wisdom from Linnea’s posts.
      The world is going through catastrophic events right now. So we don’t need more robo calls, sad animal ads on tv, or posts like yours.
      Just work on your own dysfunctional issues and become a bigger person.

  3. Expressing exactly what I am feeling!

  4. Linnea, I may not agree 100% with what you posted but I agree 100% your right to post and say whatever you feel like.
    Keep it up.

  5. YOU NEED HELP! Obviously you don’t know what its like to have cancer. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. We have good days and bad days. Linnea is selfless. She has put her life in jeopardy for others. Clinical trials are not Free. Yes the medicine is but patients pay for costly tests, Dr. appointments, travel, lodging, food and any other outside costs. So I’m not sure where you think she’s benefiting from this. She has helped countless people by traveling and speaking outloud and advocating for cancer patients all around the world. Not all of us can do this and we are grateful for those who do!
    You need to wake up. Life is not a bed of rose’s. Linnea’s honestly and sincerity is what gets some of us through our days. Her courage is inspiring.
    I hope you get the help you need! Your clearly not in the right state of mind and shouldn’t be trying g to tear other people down just because you’ve hit a wall.

  6. Amen sister!

  7. Powerful story and words. I agree with everything you said.

  8. Hi T,

    You are clearly very angry and deeply misguided- and really fucking nasty. You also lack an understanding of how capitalism works 🙄

    Folks who read my moms blog do it for her attitude and viewpoints along with her advocacy surrounding cancer- and currently she is using her platform to amplify issues that SHOULD be at the forefront of our consciousness- your discomfort says far more about you than it does about her.

    I would also fucking ADORE it if you could provide the websites that you claim say my mother is faking her cancer- sounds pretty libelous to me.

    I hope you sit in your discomfort and find a way to grow.

    Black lives matter 🖤

    – Jemesii

  9. Marie Hazelton

    I just want to say thank you for your written thoughts and the sacrifices you have made that many of us benefit from. I hope that you are feeling more comfortable. I do wish we all get out our comfort zone and do what we are called to do.💖💖

  10. We need more Linneas in this world🖤

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