You know what's kinda weird? In getting ready for this years WalkMS, some things have come to light for me. Just weird things; things that I don't have all the way straight in my head yet, but I need to expand upon. I will admit that this is what my writing professor calls "free-writing". Writing without sensor or editing. Comments would be very welcome here.
Have you ever noticed that when a person has a really bad cold, or a broken limb, or they are maybe even pregnant, people around--some that are even strangers--have absolutely no problem talking about it?
I remember when I was pregnant, I couldn't go a day without someone talking about it. Whether it be my mom, or a lady in the check-out line at the grocery store. Some offering me advice on how to "fix" myself and any problems I might be having. Or they just might acknowledge the issue. "Oh, bummer. I can see you have a bad cold." "Wow, how'd you bust up your foot?" "I remember when I was pregnant . . . " etc.
Interestingly, no one really talks to me about my MS, or even asks. (Except my friend Goat, but he is a lot like me.) It seems as if it's OK to talk about something if it is temporary, but not a disease or permanent thing? Well, except a couple of my friends who have it too. I know that some may be uncomfortable with it. I'm just not clear as to why. Am I too open of a person? Are some people embarrassed about their condition? I think that the more open I am about my condition, the easier it is for everyone around me. For instance, it did not go unnoticed by me when while talking about car shopping with a friend she asked if I could still drive a manual transmission with my MS. Yes, she is my best friend, but it was nice to be able to have a conversation that involved a question like that, with neither one of us feeling uncomfortable. She probably didn't even think twice about the question.
Something comes to mind when thinking about this. Not too long ago I was introduced to a guy at my husbands work who had no fingers. None. He could still bend his hands so he could grip stuff, but no fingers. He seemed to be comfortable with his lack of phalanges, since he instinctively shook my hand upon introduction, without even an eye twitch. (Mine might have twitched a little at first, but hell, it's not an everyday occurrence.)
Later on, while sitting and visiting with him, I asked him how he lost his digits. First of all, I thought my husband was gonna choke on his beer. Even after all these years together, he could not believe I could ask such a thing. He says I have no filter. I feel that the clearer the air the better, but some (including my husband) might not agree. I personally didn't want this guy to catch me staring at his lack of digits while I wondered what happened to them. So it was either ask or stop talking to him all together. I am not a good actress, so I couldn't pretend to not be curious. And yes, I know it is not even close to being my business.
The cool part about doing it this way, I think, is that I was then able to enjoy his company (and him mine I hope) with out the weirdness of my eyes constantly flicking back to his hands and lack of parts while I tried to stem my totally human and natural curiosity about what had happened to them. So, I think that there is nothing wrong with this.
Wow, now I feel I need to go off on a little tangent here. Just a little one, I promise. A few weeks back a person whom I have been acquainted with for a few years decided to let me have it with both barrels. Her subject was my lack of what she called "couth" [ & refinement]. I won't go into the entirety of the so-called conversation, but the gist of it was that I supposedly hurt peoples feelings a lot. I am 36 years old, and I have to say that I can honestly count on one hand how many times I have regretted saying something to someone. And of those times, I sincerely apologized, and felt like shit appropriately. Of those five times, the people I said those things too are some of my closest friends. Just for the record, I can't even count the times I regretted not saying something, when I feel I should have.
And I come full circle back to where I was going with this. So there is my math; a logical solution so to speak. Seems to make much more sense to be open, with an honest, human curiosity about the other humans around you, then to be constantly worried your going to hurt someones feelings or make them uncomfortable. I think that if you are honest enough with yourself, then others around you will end up being more comfortable in the long run and they in turn will become more honest with themeselves.