Being the Oddball

Today I’m having a flare. This is the worst one I’ve had in awhile. Everything is hurting, I’m exhausted, and worst of all, my eyes are inflamed and burning. I’m not sure if the eye problem is directly caused by the RA, or if it’s a result of the underlying autoimmune disease my doctor thinks I might have. Long story short, my ACE levels are pretty high, so he thinks I might have Sarcoidosis. Anyway, that’s not the point of this entry. My point is that I’ve been sitting in class and at work with my sunglasses on. It’s the only way I can function when my eyes get like this. I’ve explained to my coworkers in the past why I have to do it, so most of the time they’ll just ask how I’m feeling and leave it at that. Occasionally, someone will say something like, “What’s up Shades?” and give me a hug. When I went to History class, my best friend came up to me and said, “Wow, hungover?” Of course that doesn’t bother me, because I know he does that to make me smile.

What does bother me slightly is the looks I get from other classmates or customers at work. I know I shouldn’t let me bother me, but I’ve never liked bringing attention to myself, and of course walking into a somewhat dark room wearing sunglasses will do that to you. Every so often, you’ll get one bold onlooker who will have the audacity to come up and make a comment, something along the lines of, “What, do you think you’re cool wearing those indoors?” How do I explain my problem to them? Do they even deserve an explanation? If I do decide to give an explanation, then how would I sum up months worth of suffering into a single sentence? Lately I just tell people that my eyes are inflamed if I do say something. The people who matter know, so that should be good enough. I guess the point here is this…don’t judge someone because they’re doing something out of the norm. While a person may seem healthy and just a little wacky in the head, they could really have a condition like mine. I’m not pointing fingers. I’m sure if I was healthy and I saw someone wearing shades indoors I would wonder why too. I guess the other moral of this post is that even if you do stare and wonder why a person is acting strange, don’t be that jerk that passes comments. They make people uncomfortable, and honestly, you probably don’t deserve an explanation either.

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