Following on from my last post about people saying hurtful things, I remembered that I wrote this post (see below) a few months ago on my other blog, Leaping Life. It emphasises that we are all challenged by others who may speak thoughtlessly without meaning to. The onus is on each of us to model better behaviour by making the effort to be thoughtful and kind.
Since having Alopecia, I have had more interactions with strangers than ever before. Other ‘Alopecians’ will confirm that being ‘different’ appears to present an open invitation to speak freely. Whilst in a sense this is a good thing, maybe freedom of speech should come with spoiler alerts or health warnings. As Liz mentions, these people don’t mean to be negative but the impact of what we say to another person can be catastrophic. A less dramatic example of this is when people say to me”great eyebrows”. Now, I have had a ongoing saga with my eyebrows – having Alopecia universalis means I have total loss of hair – so when, after the umpteenth time my eyebrows are finally acceptable to face the world, I then try to forget they’re there. However, when a random person makes a comment, something I have never encountered before (it’s not a normal thing to say, is it?), and they think they are being encouraging and supporting, the fact is it puts me in a place of negatively and mild paranoia. Family and friends know to be on eyebrow alert as it is easy to forget they are not permanent and can be inadvertently smudged – something my dearest daughter excels at!
Maybe the thing to consider before speaking is would I like to hear what I am about to say?
We are very excited at the moment because Hub has decided to retire early next July. Although we still have some months to wait for this big event, and of course we do not want to wish our lives away, we are enjoying talking about how things will be different when he embarks on this new chapter in his life.
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