A Little Self Conscious

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So, I know I’ve talked about how I wait with guys to mention RA until either it comes up naturally or I decide they’re worthy of knowing.  But, until now, unless you’re dating me, I’m actually very open with my RA because why not, you know?  

A couple years ago, the company I worked for prior to the job I just left was one of those rah, rah, rah, we’re the best and if you leave, you might as well kiss any career aspirations goodbye because the only job you’ll be able to get will involve a pole, some lucite heels, and lots of hand sanitizer.  So, you can imagine what happened when I left because I (gasp) got a better job….they trashed the hell out of me.  I heard from a friend that still worked there that it was said that I quit because I had personal problems, because I had a failed relationship with a coworker and couldn’t stand working near him, and because I was a pill popper.  Let me give you the short version: my brother was in Iraq (personal problems), at the company Christmas party, I shoved a male coworker because he kept biting my neck and trying to grope me under the table (failed relationship), and I always have Aleve on me due to RA (pill popping).  Is anyone else reminded of a really mean-spirited game of telephone?  

The job I had after (the one I have just left, hope this isn’t too confusing) had that one douchebag that continually called me “Gimpy” and thought it was hysterically funny.  Now let me give you a great mental picture of the day he finally broke me: me in full professional attire, livid, walking calmly to the kitchen to where I knew his 6 pack of Diet Coke was in the fridge and shaking them all like Polaroid pictures.  It was glorious.  

So that brings me to this job.  I’ve always been really open about it. It doesn’t bother me for anyone to know. But for some reason, I’m just really not comfortable discussing it with these coworkers.  It’s nothing about them- they’re all great- I don’t really know what it is.  I guess I just don’t want people to judge me on it or talk about me because of it.  And it’s making me feel like a liar.  My boss commented on my swollen knuckle the other day.  I just shrugged it off and said I hit it hard when I was moving.  I really don’t like this.  But I feel SOOOO self conscious about it too.

Thoughts?

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5 responses »

  1. I’m inclined to not tell people unless necessary. And I’m not even employed. I definitely wouldn’t tell anyone at a job — unless I was required to take extra time off of work for doctor’s appointments, in which case I’d stress to my boss (closed door meeting) that I could still be counted on to do my job, and the information was confidential and not to be shared with anyone else in the company. My $.02

  2. I know exactly how you feel. I really need to share my thoughts on RA on my blog and many friends know what is going on but recently someone I don’t know well mentioned that she got my blog from someone else and read it. I felt so vulnerable. I had to remind myself that it is out there for anyone and everyone to read but all the sudden I felt naked. I didn’t want to expose myself that way to people I personally know.

  3. Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to have that closed door meeting with your boss? I don’t know how the law works in the US but over here you’d be in a much stronger position if you had a flair or anything had you been up front about it from the beginning. And from your boss’s point of view, if you were the boss wouldn’t you feel happier having your employee confide, trust etc. and might you not feel kind of betrayed if she didn’t and you found out later?

    Then again, after the experiences you’ve had in previous jobs (which over here you could sue for harassment about, I’m sure!) I can see why you’d hesitate!!

    It’s easy for me to come over all preachy ’cause I’m self-employed. I really don’t know how I’d feel having to approach a boss about it … I suspect I’d be hesitant to say the least!

  4. Hi Amanda. I’m Angie. I was diagnosed with RA in August 2008. I’ve been following your blog but I have been having a hard time leaving comments on it. They don’t seem to stay. SO here’s my humble opinion.

    OK. I really think you ought to just tell your boss if you haven’t already for 2 reasons.

    First, you need to cover yourself just in case. We have an unpredictable disease in the fact that we don’t know how bad a flare may be when they come. And we can’t always predict a flare. Telling my boss was the first thing I did. Mainly to protect myself. My classroom is on the 2nd floor. We have no elevator in out school. If I ever get to the point where I need to move to the first floor, she can’t tell me no.

    Secondly, after reading your profile, I get the impression that you are a very honest person and truthfullness means a lot to you. By lying, you are being the kind of person I think I can safely say you don’t want to be. I know it’s hard to tell people. Most don’t get it. I’ve heard some of the dumbest responses from my family and friends! Forget about what strangers say!

    You don’t have to elaborate. I don’t. I just say “I’ve got RA” and leave it at that. I don’t announce it but if I am put in the situation where an explanation is warrented, I just say it like it is.

    Not being honest is setting a limitation on yourself. RA is a part of who you are now and it’s going to define your life. It has changed mine in many ways…..and non of them are for the worse.

    • Thanks Angie! I have gotten your comments- I think that’s my bad because I’m slack at “approving” them someitmes. I will eventually tell them…I think I’m just going to wait until I’m a little bit more comfortable with them. Sigh…..:)

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