Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Questions & Answers

"I don't drive."
"We only have one car."
"I had some health problems when my daughter was born so I took a year off and tried to go back to work part-time."
"We moved to Rochester so I could be closer to my (then) teaching job," 
"I left teaching almost 2 years ago.
"I'm home with my daughter." 

While all of these statements are in essence true, they are also all big fat lies of omission. They're the guarded responses I give to new acquaintances or questioning neighbors when I try and explain my current status of unemployment/stay-at-home mommyhood. They're the statements that I choose to utter when I want to be honest but am not ready to unleash the full story that is my my crazy journey of motherhood and subsequent vision loss.

I've scared the crap out of enough relative strangers to realize that complete honesty isn't always the best policy, Witnessing the wide-eyed, slack jaw, left speechless response to my over-sharing just leaves everyone involved feeling awkward and isn't always called for. I'm not sure my mail carrier will ever recover from the over-detailed explanation of why she always sees me and my daughter home, yet there is never any car in the driveway. To be fair, she did ask.

These conversations always leave me a bit on edge and sometimes deeply embarrassed. I despise being misunderstood or judged. There is a huge part of me that feels if I could explain my story to everyone I interact with then they'd all "get it" and we could move on to either being friends or fellow community members who respect and understand one another. Naive and improbable? Probably, but it is still something I strive for consistently. 

For the past year I've been making a conscious effort to answer questions honestly and candidly but with consideration. Trying to find a balance between the ambiguity of "my vision isn't very good" and the emotional onslaught of "I finally had a baby, almost died, and lost my vision." The truth is somewhere in between.

I'm trying to keep my over-sharing to a minimum, but when it does occur (often) I embrace it, apologize if I made someone feel uncomfortable and move on. Life's to short to dwell on feelings of embarrassment and worry about sharing too much, too soon.

Besides, I've found more often than not, when I do open up freely I encourage others to do the same. By sharing our stories we build connections and are one step closer to "getting it."

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