I Know Where The Shoe Pinches.

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‘Until you get to see a sickle cell patient in crises, you will never know what it means to be with one… abeg, no to sickle cell!’


How often have you heard someone passionately express their views about something while you read or sit quietly and just smile at the irony of it all?  I have heard that too many times to recount and sometimes, I just smile sadly at the ironies of life.

Some people feel because they have or have dealt with a relation who is a sickle cell patient, they know and understand all the dynamics of the disease. Of course, they have an idea of what goes on during a crisis and most often, their sometimes thoughtless outbursts are borne out of frustrations and helplessness as they watch their love one struggle in the throngs of indescribable pains.

The crux of the matter is, words used thoughtlessly promote stigma instead of empathy towards sickle cell warriors. To be sure, you have seen a love one suffer through a crisis and you may not wish for your relation to marry one for example, but I and many other warriors experience the crisis first hand and we know what it means to be in the midst of a crisis better than anyone.

You may have seen your love one cry their eyes out because of pains, but I and other warriors understand the real meaningof what it means to be undergoing indescribable pain. You also may have watched your love one fight death but I and many other warriors understand what it is like, when those piercing pains make you feel like the next breath would be your last, even as you fight hard to stay alive and overcome the pain. The list goes on.

The thing is, sickle cell warriors appreciate the love and care they receive in their hours of need. They even empathize with people, reason why they sometimes smile over what they consider ironies of life; when someone makes such comments about sickle cell. Fortunately, we do not move around with a brand telling the world we are sickle cell warriors. Neither do we move about with trumpets trumpeting to all we meet in our daily activities that we are sicklers. So people may not understand how piercing and far reaching their comments may be to their listeners and passersby.

A little more consideration about who may be reading or listening to our words could go a long way to show empathy and support because, the person listening may not just be a sympathizer or relation but may actually be wearing the shoes and knowing just exactly where it pinches.

I not only wear the shoes, I also know exactly where they pinch.

Our words have the power to either encourage and build or break. Choose them wisely.

Keep reading, keep sharing and keep commenting. We are inspired by your comments, thank you.


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Mbole D
Mbole D
8 years ago

True, you can’t know where the shoe pinches until it fits. But I think when people make statements like the one above, it’s usually out of empathy? Bc they’ve seen first hand what a sickler has gone through. They might not personally feel the pain, but they go through the pain with you. They understand and share in what you’re going through. It’s like when you see a friend suffering bc of the mistakes they made, although you can’t physically feel their same pains, you promise yourself you’ll never make that kind of mistake, bc you don’t want to go… Read more »

8 years ago
Reply to  Mbole D

My dear Sis Mbole,Always glad to feel your presence around. Your example is spot on. Maybe I didn’t write my thoughts out well. However, tune and body language matters. In all indications, that particular statement above was understood to be an underlying case of stigma and discrimination towards a sickle cell patient and not empathy. For example, this particular statement spoken in a particular tune has seen many sicklers make drastic changes in their lives. Empathising with someone and wishing you don’t get to see another one go through what you witness is one thing. Refusing someone you know get… Read more »

8 years ago

I really loved this line: “…words used thoughtlessly promote stigma instead of empathy towards sickle cell warriors.” Couldn’t have said it better.
But dat shoe dem too for up dey eh. Only by looking at those shoes, I’ll certainly know where they pinch. Sah! Lol don’t mind me.
May we use our words to heal and not hurt.

8 years ago
Reply to  Precious

Exactly so, my dear sis Precious. You always signal out the what I try to convey, thank you. Lol no mind as all man wan wear salamanda the shues dem go pinch nor lol. Thank you for the constant support sis.