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How To Have “The Talk”

The other day I went to temple for the first time in months (or maybe longer). After the service, everyone gathered for snacks, and a fellow congregant came up to me and asked “How’s your leg doing?”

I was thrown off guard. My leg? Had I mentioned my leg to this woman before? What had I said, and when? So, I asked her what she meant, specifically, and she explained that when she had last seen me (a year before) I had been limping due to knee pain. She had assumed that I had pulled a muscle or developed a bad sprain, but was hoping that, by now, I was feeling better.

So I took a deep breath, and had to begin “The Talk.”

Well, actually it turns out that the knee pain was because I had developed Fibro, which triggered an old injury, and had since been struggling with Fibro, RA, and everything else. Blah blah woof woof.

After the 5 min spiel, I gained the courage to look up and face the mixture of pity and shock on her face. The response was the typical smorgasbord of “You’re so young,” “I’m so sorry,” and “oh my god.” And I just stood there and nodded.

And it dawned on me that I will always be repeating this story. Over and over. My worst nightmare, my fall from grace – anytime I meet someone new, or run into someone I haven’t seen in awhile, I will have to go through it again.

Is there an easier way? Can it be as easy as me saying “I don’t want to talk about it,” or would that be rude? Does it matter if I’m rude – why are their feelings more important than mine? There must be a middle ground.

I have decided to own my story. My life has changed and I refuse to be embarrassed because I’m sick. It could be worse, and I will remember that. So when everyone is sad and apologetic, I won’t be. Yes, I’m young – means more time for new medical advances. Yes, it sucks – but life is ever changing.

So when you have to give “The Talk,” make sure you own it. Use positive thinking, and remember to mention the positives. Put a positive spin on it, and maybe it will seem less tortuous when you have to repeat yourself over and over.

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