Sunday, May 4, 2014

That sucks

I'm an English major and writer by education, and I try to follow proper grammar and sentence structure more often than not. My texts come out at least as sentence fragments - if not full sentences - and I always use capitals and punctuation. Generally, I am also picky about language. Words like "crap", "stupid" or "sucks" are not employed in my everyday language. So it's with some amusement that I use one of these words in my the title of my post.

I ran into another hockey mom at the rink a couple of months ago - our boys had been on the same team last year and we stopped to catch up. I was sporting my sling, as I was only a few weeks post-op. As with most people who only know me in passing, she was surprised to hear about my surgery and the inevitable question of "why" entered the conversation.

At this point, in every conversation about my RA, two choices are available to me. First, offer a mild cursory explanation, brushing off concern and moving the conversation along in a different direction as quickly as possible. Or, second, answer fully and truthfully and expose more of myself than I am otherwise comfortable with. In this case I chose to put myself out there. And I'm glad that I did. It was one of the best conversations that I have had with a mostly stranger about my RA.

Her response to hearing about my RA and surgery was, "Well, that sucks." It was the most honest, direct and spot-on responses I have received. Because she got it - having arthritis does suck. Her flat-out acknowledgement was refreshing and showed a level of empathy that I don't often encounter.

I smile every time I recall that conversation. I wish all of my conversations about my RA followed in this vein. It's the immediate validation that I valued - not having to overly explain what my life looks like living with RA.

I went to a number of concerts last summer, and one of the most memorable ones was Macklemore in Montreal. That concert also brings a smile every time I remember.  Here is a link to one of my favourite songs from them, as they perform it on a NYC bus.

I don't like the words "sucks", but sometimes that is the best word to describe this horrible disease.