It’s been 135 days since I last wrote a blog post. Some days I’ve had a lot to say, others nothing at all. And, for some reason, I didn’t feel like I could come back to writing without offering an explanation for my absence – even though I don’t owe that to anyone. I didn’t feel like I could just jump back in with a post about how RA has affected my body image, and, at times, disordered eating even though I’ve been working on it off and on since last July. This is my 5th attempt at writing since surgery, and I still don’t know what I want to say. So much has happened. Medically, personally, politically even.
I tried writing three different versions of another blog post before finally abandoning the effort. This summer has really taken its toll on me, and I feel like I’ve lost my voice as a writer. I’ve struggled with this before when dealing with backlash and bullying from the patient community, but this time, it’s different – I’m in such a weird headspace with my arthritis that most days I don’t know what I want to say or how to say it.
The longer I live with my RA, the further away, the more disconnected I become from my childhood with it – it’s like a murky dream I’m only 80% sure actually happened. It’s not that I’ve forgotten. Instead, I feel like my mind has gone to great lengths to protect me from the trauma I’ve experienced, suppressing the darkest moments.
In case you missed it yesterday, Jennifer Aniston wrote what can only be described as a BADASS essay in the Huffington Post taking on the tabloid “journalism” culture of the decade-long Aniston baby watch. Maybe you don’t like Aniston. Maybe you think that the paparazzi is a part of fame that she “signed up for.” Whatever your feelings towards celebrities sharing these sorts of essays, one thing is true: we live in a world that almost universally reduces a woman’s success and worth to her choice whether or not to marry and have children.
As part of a Health Central project we’re working on, I was asked how I respond to people when they don’t believe that I’m sick. I’m happy to say that this has never happened to me when I tell people I have RA. Reactions range from shock and awe to empathy (from people who actually know what RA is) but never flat out rejection. I guess that’s pretty hard to say to someone’s face, right? But for the keyboard warriors of the world not so much.