Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Photo of Iris Carden, with her head and upper body in the mouth of a saltwater crocodile (statue). The caption says, " Why didn't I think of that?"

Why Didn’t I Think of That?

Poem by Iris Carden

The Prime Minister said, 
those who can't afford to rent should buy a house.

Why didn't I think of that?

Way back when I couldn't afford rent,
when I thought I would become homeless?
At the time I was just so grateful when a friend offered a place to live.
I accepted that offer.
The best answer, the prime ministerial-type answer was staring me in the face.
I should have just bought a house then and there.

When I was suffering clinical depression, 
someone told to me cheer up.

Why didn't I think of that?

When I was at the bottom of that deep dark pit,
when I couldn't see any light or hope,
when I couldn't imagine any future that could possibly be OK for me in any way,
why didn't I just smile, sing, laugh, dance a little jig and be happy?
The answer had been right there in front of me,
I just didn't think to be happy.

When I was diagnosed with lupus, 
I was told not to let it take over my life.

Why didn't I think of that?

I'd been in pain for so long,
I'd lost an organ to inflammation,
before I had any explanation.
Any movement at all was excruciating,
and I had to give up work because neither my body nor my brain was cooperating.
The answer was right there and I didn't think of it.
I should have just not let the illness take over.

The world is full of people who give advice.

I'm sure my life could be amazing if I followed all of it.

I really ought to start eating smashed avocado 
so I could save massive amounts of money by giving it up.

I should  give up all those dangerous, harmful, medications that keep me alive 
because someone heard something their cousin's aunt's best friend's sporting coach's neighbour 
did that and fixed their chronic illness 
that isn't the same as mine, but it would definitely work.
Then I could die and not be sick anymore.

I should absolutely stop being an introvert,
completely change my personality,
and become someone else entirely,
because some extroverts are uncomfortable around quiet people.

I could definitely spend money (that I don't have) to make money.


I could just continue to be a realist.
I could take life as it comes.
I could hope for the better things when better things are even vaguely possible,
I could deal with here and now, here and now.

I could just ignore all of the advice.

Because, I'm sure that if I were being eaten by a crocodile,
someone would say, "why don't you just run away?"
And of course, I wouldn't have thought of that.

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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