You know those days when anything sets you off and you just can’t keep it together? You’re already upset about something else and barely holding it in, then the littlest thing happens (and I mean little as in you have to fill up your gas tank on your way home from work) and you just lose it. Please tell me I’m not the only person who does this…
So whether or not I’m alone in this, I’ve found that my tolerance for disappointment is at an all-time low. Living in pain seems to make every interaction a bit more difficult, and on those bad pain days, it’s even worse.
I was talking to my oldest friend on the phone last night. She is my only close friend who isn’t either married, engaged, or has a long-term boyfriend who will propose any day now. We’ve clung to each other the past few years as the pool of single ladies grew more shallow, and I think she’s now feeling that I’m falling out, as well, as my relationship with this new man continues. (But I maintain that it’s still so new I’m one bad text away from everything crashing down, so I’m really right there with her).
So my friend and I are talking about our 30th birthdays approaching, and the conversation turns a little negative. Milestone birthdays can already be harrowing for people, but for those who don’t feel they’ve reached their checkpoints, it’s way worse. You remember your older siblings / friends and how they celebrated their thirtieth birthdays with their significant others. You think about how just a few years earlier you were so sure you’d be married (and maybe even have had a kid or two) by thirty. But you don’t have any of that, and you don’t feel that void more strongly on any day than on your birthday….and New Years…and Valentine’s Day…and every single wedding / baby shower you attend…
So my beautiful, wonderful friend is talking about her looming birthday, but finishes with a positive sentiment: “But you know, we really are so lucky in so many ways. We have amazing families, good friends, great…” And then I butt in. “Yeah, yeah, whatever, who cares?” She just laughed. Of course, she was right, but my cynicism has gone up as my tolerance has reached miserable lows (I think those two must be correlated), and I couldn’t even pretend to count my blessings in that moment.
Most of my stories have worse outcomes than me saying something that I should have probably kept to myself. A lot of times I snap at people (and I wonder why certain people don’t like me) or start crying over the smallest thing. As much as I hate to blame things on my pain, it’s usually the main culprit!
But you have to make a choice : Do you explain your behavior, risking the chance of the other person either thinking you’re making a lame excuse or labeling you as that-girl-who-has-chronic-pain-and-acts-like-a-bitch-because-of-it, or do you just say sorry and hope it’s enough? Obviously, you should say sorry either way (my parents / Sesame Street taught me that), but you know what I mean.
Or maybe you don’t know what I mean, and even on the worst pain days, you are always lovely to people. If you fall into that category, can we set up some phone conferences and you can teach me your ways? I’m sure all my friends and family would really appreciate it.
So here’s to all the people who continue to stick by my side, through the terrible pain days and the normal pain days…thank you. Your efforts (and my far too frequent miserable behavior) do not go unnoticed.