Shaming: A Form of Cultural Manipulation?

Warning: I am on day 6 of a round of chemo so my inhibitions are down. You can only imagine what this one week on/one week off protocol  is like for the people I live with. But I got some things that my boundary seeking self just can’t let go…

There is a very popular post going around on Social Media that basically says that because you don’t know what is in a McDonald’s hamburger or what is in your deodorant or what was in the vaccines you had as a child, you should blindly accept what is being passed out as the savior of the world: the Rona Vaccine. Honestly, it is not my opinion of the vaccine that feels insulted, it is my intelligence.

Let me publicly state that if you want to get the vaccine, I encourage you to do so. If that alleviates your fears and allows you to interact with your elderly mom or the people you work with, by all means, do what you have to do. But listen up…if you try to SHAME me into your line of thinking or act as if you have some moral pedestal custom made for you, then I have to speak out for myself and my growing list of clients who are literally being traumatized by the smugness out there. 

The fact of the matter is that we will not know for a very long time what the lasting effects of any new drug will be. There may be many good reasons to risk the long term effects for the immediate result of having life get back to normal. People’s lives are being ruined by unemployment, mental distress, lack of human contact and if a vaccine offers a return to normalcy, let’s have an open discussion that evaluates the risks and the benefit of accepting those risks. As a cancer patient, I take straight poison in hopes that  killing cancer cells will outweigh the destruction of the healthy cells happening at the same time. I am not risk adverse, but taking educated risks is healthier than uneducated, naive and I-choose-not-to-think risks. SOMEONE, ANYONE, give me an amen.

Until you have received a diagnosis that changes your life forever because you took Zantac for an ulcer or used talcum powder to freshen yourself up…or watched a child suffer from Guillain-Barre after a flu vaccine, or are living with autism in your family because your child had the reaction that only a small percentage of people have, it may be in your best interest to make a decision that is right for you and not feel that you need to condemn those who may not agree. And please don’t ask those people who trusted once, to blindly trust again because if they don’t, they are hindering others from going to a concert. 

I commented on a few of these posts and the response was basically that because I have cancer, my circumstance is different and maybe I was over-reacting to the post. Ironic that one of those who thought I was overreacting was the Biology teacher that taught me about viruses to begin with. He is the reason I know that we can’t outrun a virus…it will always catch up through mutation. I respect his decision to vaccinate because he is elderly and wants to see his grandkids…but oohhh…anyone who knows me, knows that I advocate for boundaries, freedom and personal empowerment and I hate it when people try to shut me up by suggesting I might be overreacting. Didn’t your mama tell you to never tell a woman to calm down when she is just getting started?

Wanna know something funny? The literature that comes with my chemotherapy says in bold print: DO NOT RECEIVE VACCINATIONS OF ANY KIND WHILE ON THIS TREATMENT. ALSO, REFRAIN FROM CONTACT WITH ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN RECENTLY VACCINATED. I don’t know why this warning on a box of poison makes me crack up. Don’t be near anyone who has recently been vaccinated? Think that one through as it should inform anyone who is wondering about how to protect themself, either with a vaccine or otherwise.

I am fortunate. It turns out that despite being exposed to Covid several times, the most I seem to get is what feels like a bad cold. My health limitations do not seem to be a hinderance but I can’t help but wonder if the fact that I do know what is in my food, shampoo, deodorant and cleaning products is helping me fight from a position of strength. I actually research vaccines before blindly accepting them after I watched my daughter loose the use of her legs for 3 days after a routine flu vaccine and was told we got lucky because the paralysis wasn’t permanent. Maybe this is why I choose to understand my risks and not just follow the crowd out of fear. 

Many of my clients have shared that they are exhausted by the shaming that comes with having a counter cultural thought process, and I am not just talking about vaccines. Are you living life in fear, by letting others coax you into decisions that don’t feel right for your situation or are you making your decisions from a place of confidence, after doing research that matches your life situation? Are there other situations in your life, marriage, job, education and family where you see this pattern? Fear based decisions or choices made because people have made us feel bad, are rarely our best decisions. I encourage you to advocate for yourself in your relationships, your job, and your health by knowing what risks you are taking,  and evaluating whether or not the outcome will be worth it to you.

And when you make a decision that is right for you, I will be the first to cheer you on.

As always, let me know if I can help.

With love,


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