• Alex Dean

From Invisible to "Oh my gosh, what happened?"

I hate this question. I'm not the type of person to hate things easily or without precedent, but I hate this question with all of my being. A close second would have to be, "Are you okay?"

These questions haunt me, following around like some sick cartoon dark-cloud on my worst days. You don't have time for me to tell you that nothing happened, or that I'm just as okay (or rather, not okay) as I was the last time you saw me. You want a quick answer like, I sprained my ankle or that I fell down the stairs. Now, either of those may have happened, but in most cases that is not why I have my cane, or a visible brace, or why I may be a bit unsteady. You see, you don't want to hear about how I have a connective tissue disorder which causes the cartilage in my body to malfunction. You don't want to know that while ligaments are supposed to be taunt but stretchy, mine is loose and floppy. You don't want to learn about my reality of joint pain, brain fog, dislocations, mobility problems, and the like. You want an easy answer that adds up to "I'll be better soon" but I know that "better" is not in the cards for me.

This is me, I am injured and I am unwell and that is a chronic reality I am facing.

Do I want to be better? At this point, I don't know what that would mean and yet, yes. I do want to be that. Even so, it is unlikely. I may be "better" in the sense that I can be less symptomatic and less weighed down by my illness, but I will not be "better" in the sense that you are imagining.

So please, stop asking me "What happened?"

Nothing happened.

Or rather, something did.

I was born, that's what happened.

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