Last summer during our family retreat to the Center of the Universe (Bemis, West Virginia), a comment was made that unnerved me more than any of the typical hurtful. remarks regarding MS. We've all heard them:
"You need to exercise more."
"It's not contagious, is it?"
"Where did you catch it?"
"You need to try harder."
"Oh, I feel like that all the time."
"My cousin's friend's aunt had that and she died."
I won't bore you with the redundancy of what we know as common beliefs.
Maybe because this particular observance was not one I hear often that it has stayed with me. Regardless, the words struck me as extremely inconsiderate and totally ignorant.
My husband and I were walking back to our camping trailer from the campsite pub (Yes, we have one of those.) when someone on our communal porch remarked: "I know you claim to have MS, but it looks to me like you a few too many at the bar."
Yes, I had had a beer...just one in the two-hour span we were gone, certainly not enough to affect my walking. My every day walking gait. Inebriation had nothing to do with the hiccup in the way I was walking on the uneven grassy lawn in the sweltering heat of mid-July.
Up to that point, I was having a wonderful day. Friends and family in attendance were having a great time. We still had days of fellowship ahead. This is the week I look forward to all year. Someone else's negativity wasn't going to ruin this for me. Anyone not living with the MonSter has not a clue what we Warriors deal within any given second of our existence.
I struck it up to ignorance, turned my back to the negativity and continued to enjoy myself; but that comment haunts me. Coming from anyone else I might have gotten over it, but the culprit is already an entity with whom I struggle, So, the compounded hurt served to cast a dark shadow over an otherwise peaceful sanctuary.
The question of my sobriety has been an issue in the past...Don't we all look a bit like a drunken soldier at times? That's kinda our trademark. I'll laugh that off any time.
It's the accusation that I claim to have MS that hurt so much. Who in their right mind would ever claim to live with a disease if it weren't true? That's just plain crazy.
Many folks would address this head-on, confronting the speaker with choice words and possibly a lengthy/scathing justification. That's just not me. Mainly because at that time, that individual ceased to exist as a person of import. I chose to walk away rather than fuel an unwinnable fire.
People who put you down, people who prefer to pick at the scab, those people are not worthy of your attention.m You'll never please them. You'll never educate them. Just know that you are stronger than they will ever be.
Lisa, The Lady with the Cane
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