Over on my Facebook, I don't want to be "that guy". I don't want all of my status updates and posts to be all whiny and seemingly attention-seeking. I mean, in general status updates ARE attention-seeking, because c'mon, do you really care that I can hear my clothes dryer while wearing my hearing aid? But I don't want people to give me head-pats and imaginary hugs for having this stupid disease. I don't mind when I get actual hugs (even if I'm having a flareup and it hurts, because that happens sometimes) and I hate to put on a smile and get medical advice from people because their mother's sister's aunt-in-law tried something and it worked for them. (c'mon, everyone with a chronic anything has heard THAT story before).
But in real life... there are times in my life when I have to leave the house that don't actually involve putting on awesome clothes and hanging out with several hundred people dressed in similar (and better) awesome clothing. And, sometimes, there are people out there who ask seemingly benign questions. And I've mentioned this before- but I'm too lazy to look up my own blog link, so I'm probably going to repeat myself a bit. But these people, they generally don't really want to know the real answer to the questions they ask, because they work in the industry that requires them to ask the questions or at least be polite (which sucks for them, because not everyone is like me or my kids and those jerks tend to take out frustrations on those people despite them having no control over what's happening).
Let me get back to the questions. The most loaded question I get these days is: "How are you?" And it comes in a few varieties- "How are you?", "How is everything", "How's things?", "Everything good?"
Of course, I answer these questions with: "Fine" or "Good", even the slightly truthful: "Okay" but things aren't okay. On any given day, I could answer with: "Well, I'm still feeling sad that my dad died. And I also feel guilty, because my mom died two years ago and I don't remember it being this hard on me. And I know that's because I still had Dad around, but the guilt is still there. I just really miss my parents."
Today's answer would have been: "Well, my skin is aching like a giant scraped knee and I'm feeling slightly itchy, so you can imagine how thrilled I am to be wearing clothes right now" but I didn't think that was the appropriate thing to say to the cashier at the grocery store.
"I have a red-hot railroad spike being hammered into my heel with every step I take."
"I considered going to the housewares aisle and using that ergonomic handled vegetable peeler to peel off the itchy layers of my skin."
"My muscles hurt so much right now that I feel like I'm on fire. On fire and recently hit by a truck. Probably a truck full of broken glass and gasoline, but otherwise I'm fine."
"The pain in the bottom of my foot feels like my tendons are being pulled so tight that they're shredding apart..." (alternate answer- "...my tendons feel like they're being sawed on with jagged glass.")
"My legs are swollen. These are boot-cut jeans and I can't feel where the fabric ends and my leg begins."
"I really wanted to take a nap in the bin full of pillows over there."
Well, that last one could be said by anyone, I'm sure.
There are only a few people in my life that ask me how I'm doing and I'm sure they want to really know. A couple of them carry swords, so if I'm not near a housewares aisle, I could still get my skin flayed if I were having that type of flareup near them. We could do a demonstration for the patrons. Educational! But for the most part, nobody wants to hear the real answers. And I can't say I blame them. I don't want to tell those real answers to most people.
Be warned- good people of Earth- if you ask me how I'm doing and I give you the bland "Fine" answer and you ask how I'm REALLY doing because you really want the honest answer- I might start crying. If you hug me, I can't guarantee that I'm going to let go. Things are gonna get awkward, people. Very awkward. But don't worry, no matter how awkward things get, rest assured that I leave my house fully clothed no matter how much my skin hurts. Because that's a level of awkward that even I can't deal with.
I leave you now with a mobile phone photo of how I sit while watching TV.