Trying and failing to not to take things personally


I limped in to Starbucks this morning to get my usual coffee and it was a bit more crowded than usual.  I was talking to my boss while I ordered and realized at some point after I told her to ‘hold on’ that I was getting some weird looks because I had my bluetooth in and my hair down.  So it totally looked like I was having a conversation with myself…and answering…and telling myself to wait so that I could order. 

What struck me as strange is that I couldn’t care less that it appeared to many people that I was chatting with the voices in my head. Nope, I was more concerned that they saw me limping.

Lately, I’ve been a little down and out on myself.  Having RA sucks and when you over-analyze things like I tend to do, you make life a whole heck of a lot harder for yourself than it should be.  

This past weekend, I went to my cousin’s wedding.  It took place in Virginia, on the banks of the Shenandoah, and she was beyond beautiful.  

Getting there was a challenge.  I’ve been traveling a TON lately and my RA is not as well controlled as I would like it to be.  I feel lousy. I tell you that because I’m hoping it’s because I’m burning the candle at both ends right now and that it will start behaving again. Like immediately.

Anyway, I only agreed to go to this wedding because I understood it to be a 4 hour drive.

It was a 7 hour drive.  One way.

You should probably also know that I refuse to watch wedding shows and romantic comedies.  Thank you recent heartbreaks.  And that I have avoided a lot of family events in recent years for other reasons.  And that I absolutely cannot stand the thought of anyone in my family noticing any sort of symptoms of RA in me or (gasp) commenting on them.  

So when I arrived at the hotel on Saturday, I sent my hot mess of a self to my room and took full advantage of the whirlpool tub.  It helped considerably both with making me more comfortable and calming me down.  

I arrived at the wedding site with my parents and brother.  Even though I was uncomfortable, I wore heels the whole time with no noticeable limping. 

And then the reception started.

There was really only one comment but it was enough to tick me off for the next three days. I expected a comment about marriage to which I had crafted a catch all response that was very truthful but didn’t give away much and would help me transition the conversation to ANYTHING else.  

But this is what I got:

“So, where’s your boyfriend?”  

“Oh, that was done awhile ago.”

“So where’s the new one?”

“There’s not one right now.  I’m just really focusing on getting myself together and that’ll come when it comes.”  Like it?  I thought it was good?

“You know, physiologically, the best age to have children is at age 19.”

“You know, I think they frown on that nowadays.”

“How old are you?”



My sweet grandmother jumped in and redirected the conversation right before I could respond with “so, how is your terminal cancer treating you?”

I stayed for probably another hour, fuming mad the whole time.  When I got back to the hotel, I took another bath and then dreamt about a boy I don’t need to be dreaming about.  And again last night.  And got emails referencing him yesterday and today.  WHAT IN THE WORLD.

He never actually said anything about my RA specifically.

And I have no way of knowing if said family member knows about my RA.  No idea.  He obviously didn’t know I was single.  Which leads me to believe that I’m not high on the family gossip hierarchy.  Which is awesome.  I also have no way of knowing if I would’ve been upset if he hadn’t said that in a way that I could easily link back to my health.  You can probably tell what I tacked on to the end of his sentence.

Thanks to the powers of my analytical skills, I felt like he threw it in my face which I am positive was not his intention.  He’s always been very blunt and not terribly PC but he’s never been malicious. 

I guess I need to get a better deflector statement and I need to have a serious talk with RA: it’s not all about you!

But it still hurts.

4 responses »

  1. The statement about it being best psychologically having a child at 19 is just downright stupid! I had mine at 23. I was married and we intentionally got pregnant but had I to do it over again I would have waited until I was older. Living a little and experiencing more in life can only make us better mothers. What seems to happen so frequently is that when people are single…they ask when they are getting married. When they get married they ask, when are you having kids. When you have one child, they ask when are you having the second. If you have a third, then they are thinking you are crazy. This world is full of opinions and you know what they say about opinions…..lmao. Hold your head up. Things will come in your own personal time. I never plan to get married again and people think I’m nuts when I say that. I just tell them I love being in control of my remote control! ROFL! They can kiss my fanny.

  2. I’m so angry FOR you!!

    I get those comments too – at a recent dinner with two married couples, one of the husbands shouted down the table, “Helen, WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND?” Cue heavy drinking for the rest of the night.

    No advice to offer – just wanted to let you know I totally feel your pain and have been there so many times. I hope you’re right that your increased pain is due to your busy schedule, and that you start to feel better soon. God knows you deserve it!

  3. It’s probably cause I’m a dude, but I’m thinking having kids at 19 might not have been the most productive use of your time. So sorry people aren’t as careful with their words that you’d think they would be. You have kids on your own time, not anyone elses. I have a rule now, that if a drive is 8 hours or longer, that’s an automatic flight ticket. Not the most financially sound decision, but the old “Runner’s Knee” refuses to sit in the car any longer than that. I guess it comes with 30. I admire your strength and determination in making it the full 7 hours drive. I hope your site continues to teach people to have the sensitivity necessary when referencing your experiences.

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