Unlike Spock, I’ve never been dead before, but a couple of days ago I hyperventilated my way through a week-long Archives class. A three-credit Archives class. That’s right, we’re talking:
1. Read two books and a boatload of articles and websites before the first class day.
2. Class meetings from nine to five-ish (the first day we were required to watch this, which was awesomely entertaining despite the baaaad American accent put on by pretty Liam Cunningham. Yes, that was how all Brits felt seeing Rene Zellweger fumble around as Bridget Jones, I assume), homework from five-ish to wheneverish. In my case that was generally midnight-ish.
3. Two to three hour long lectures.
4. A portfolio (see above homework) and poster project (see above image) to be presented to the class on the final day. I painted mine while watching both versions of The Big Sleep.
It was incredibly intense. I was gibbering on Day One and completely blasé by Day Four. It was also hard to turn off the focus and just relax with a giant Symphony bar, popcorn, and the entire doofy fourth season of Stargate Atlantis. (Somehow I managed it.) The good thing about the experience? A. was gone to Chicago for a conference so I wasn’t distracted.
I’ve been thinking about this blog and how remiss I’ve been in updating, well, with any frequency at all. I have another blog at Livejournal, which I update nearly every day with (obviously) fascinating tidbits. The normal course of action would be to say, [Forget] you, Jobu!* and end this blog. The smart, less stressful thing to do would be to combine the two blogs. But I’m not going to do either (insert idiot, abnormal comments in their rightful places, please). I like writing about UC here. I write about it on the other blog, too, but not as much.
This makes me think about one of my biggest problems with UC – one that I often discuss with my friend Sasha. Sasha has persistent idiopathic facial pain, so occasionally we have conversations about chronic disease, chronic pain and the unpleasantness of taking bucketloads of medication. Out of all the things we talk about, the one I keep coming back to is passing.
“Passing” in our parlance refers to the fact that on our good days (and sometimes, on my bad ones) both Sasha and I can generally pass for healthy people. No one can look at us and say, unequivocally, that girl’s diseased or she has chronic pain or she downs horse pills. In general, no one has to know about our disease unless we tell them.
This is a confusing way to exist. On one hand, I can go to work and class or hang out with friends and not feel like I’m being patted on the head or doused with sympathy. On the other hand, it makes explaining about the disease (what I can’t eat, why I shouldn’t drink coffee [oooh boy], why I have ninety pill bottles in one of my cupboards) a lot more awkward; which also brings up the point of when is it proper to tell your new friend/boyfriend/work colleagues about your embarrassing, private bowel disorder?
My current answer to that question is 1) live over hard cider or online with a brief Livejournal bloodletting, 2) I’m so shamefully glad I don’t have to talk to a new lover about this, and 3) never. According to number 3, I’m passing; at least at work I am.
It doesn’t seem right. And yet, I’ve been at my current job for almost two years. It would definitely be awkward to bring this up now. Also, one of the most appealing things about passing is that lack of knowledge; it’s not “I have a secret looloolooleelooloo,” it’s privacy. I can’t think of a situation where my coworkers need to know about my UC, but I’m not long on imagination (surprisingly) in this area.
So, what do you all think about passing? Is it good, if you can spin it? Is it bad, because UC/whatever chronic disease IS a part of a person and to pass as healthy serves to deny that part? I know UC has changed me. In light of that, passing feels like cheating or lying.
What do you think?
You can tell me I’m full of shit. It’s true!
*Come on, edited-for-television is ALWAYS better. As with all things, see Robocop. (Which I hear Aronofsky is remaking. NOT a happy camper, here.)