Tonight I pulled into a handicapped parking spot at the store, inconveniencing two guys who were talking across it. I flipped the handicap tag down on my rear view mirror and slowly got out of the car.
"You're not handicapped!" The guy on the driver's side said.
"Yep," I responded.
"You must be handicapped in the relationship department. You must make bad decisions on who to date," he said back to me. (I can't remember what he really said, but it was something along those lines) "Maybe we should get together."
"Sure," I responded. I was on my cellphone when all this was going down, so I wasn't paying much attention.
"Is that guy hitting on you?" the guy I was on the phone with asked, who also just happened to be my husband...
"Yeah," I replied. "He probably just liked me for the tag and the parking spot that comes with it."
We had a giggle over it, but I have to admit I was a bit offended by the guy's comment.
I know I don't look like I have a handicap, but I'm a really good actress when it comes to that and I have a pretty high tolerance for pain manifesting in the facial expressions I make. I have a friendly attitude and I usually have a smile on my face no matter what is going on.
However, and it's probably too early to share this with any readers, I do actually suffer from some pretty cruddy stuff. My main diagnoses is neuropathy. My doctors believe it was brought on by gluten, but I quit eating gluten before they could test for it and I am not going to eat it again for the sake of a blood test. I have been on this journey for four years and it's finally better, as in I can bear it and I've made adjustments to my life that no longer make me feel like the most worthless person on the planet. My grandmother has neuropathy and my great-grandfather had it, although it didn't really have a name yet when my great-grandfather was still alive.
At one point I had a $16,000.00 genetic test, which showed absolutely nothing, and once cutting gluten out of my life and feeling better, I decided to stop costing the government money with further tests.
That does not mean that the nerve pain is gone. The doctors don't know if the damage can ever be reversed or if this is something I will live with for the rest of my life.
I try not to think about myself, my pain, or the inability I have to accomplish even the simplest of tasks some days. (let alone take care of two small children, a house, and two dogs - I'm working on fitting a job back into the mix) I have made a choice to live the life I have, and even when it hurts I put on a brave face and try my hardest.
Some days it hurts to get out of bed and put my feet on the floor. Sometimes I want to have my six year old cook breakfast for herself and her brother. Sometimes I wish I could send everybody away and not have to take care of anybody. When my fingers don't seem to want to do what I tell them to do I want to hire someone to be my hands. When my strength in my arms fail and I have to hold my son down with my legs so I can change his diaper while he flails around it makes me want to cry. None of those things are an option and I have to carry on with the life I have made for myself.
My support group is amazing, and I love them all so much for the help they give me, but I have to choose to live while it would be so easy to give it all up and take the easy road.
It hurts when someone doubts me and what I am going through, but in the end I guess I will choose to be proud that I've given them doubt as to my condition, which makes me a pretty good actress. Is there an Oscar for me?? Just kidding, I'd probably fall up the stairs when I had to give my acceptance speech, and I wouldn't ever want to look like there's something wrong with me.
So, yeah, guy outside the store, I guess if you can't tell, I should be pretty proud of my skills. So thanks for that, I guess!