Grin and Bear It

Grin and Bear It

I recently made some new friends and I have yet to tell them about my Rheumatoid Arthritis. They know I have it because of social media but I have yet to say “I have RA and this is what it is.” In a way, it’s nice that I don’t get the look (you know, the one with the slight head tilt) or the questions (plus the look). I don’t have to talk about it or bring it up. It’s just nice to forget about my condition just for a little while.

Is it biology?

Now on days when my body is screaming in agony and I still have to go out to work or hang out with friends; on the days I can’t hide my pain or disability I push through and try to hide my RA as much as possible. Why? Is it pride? Is it stubbornness? Is it biology?

Every other mammal in the animal kingdom is attracted to the prize of the species; the one with the best genes (the brightest colors, the most strength, etc.). Humans are the same way. And I’m not talking just romantic relationships, any ones really. We are attracted to people who are confident, bright and have similar interests to our own.

Is nature working against me?

I recently wrote about how I felt like I scraped the bottom of the human barrel and (unfortunately) found myself comparing myself to others. I make a huge effort, sometimes using more energy than I have, to make myself seem “normal”. Seriously, though…Why? We all know I am extraordinarily proud… and stubborn… Do I also have sheer nature working against me?

For some odd reason, whenever I tell people about my RA they take it as personal slight. I’m not sure why because as far as I’m aware, they don’t live with the same mobility issues, the same pain, the same chronic condition. But, somehow, they think that because I have a disability it somehow affects them; that they have to make accommodations for me.

I can’t say that I know what people think, maybe they just don’t like that I’m not as strong or “cool” as they thought I was. Maybe it is pure biology! In their eyes I am at the bottom of the pack and they can’t be bothered with me.

Looking “normal”

I do such a good job of looking “normal” that I don’t really blame people for not believing me. Why should they? I still do everything I did before the diagnosis (albeit a little worse) and my pain and the side effects are internal. Others don’t see it so why should they believe it? (heh, that rhymes!)

People get annoyed because I “talk about it too much” (imagine having RA!). I have to hear about their highly boring life yet I can’t mention I need to stand for a second or make a quick lap to unstick? Is it my problem they are uncomfortable hearing self-deprecating jokes so I need to zip the lip? That sounds like a them problem not a me one.

Maybe it’s pure biology. We like things to be easy and simple. We look to the least amount of work, we often choose flight over fight if the result is not worth our energy.

Maybe because I’m not the physical crème of the crop others just can’t be bothered with me and maybe that’s why I grin and bear the burden silently; so I can assimilate into the usual society and still be viewed as viable human being.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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