I have made up so many excuses as to why I need to cancel plans with friends over the years that I don’t even know where to begin. There’s the always believable “I completely forgot I promised mum…”, the no one can argue with “I’ve got to finish this before work tomorrow”, or even the old “I feel like I’m coming down the flu”. All of these are completely acceptable reasons why one would need to bail on a social occasion.
Today I was supposed to be having an afternoon park catch up with a girlfriend. This was to be the first time my girlfriend met my newborn and is something I had been looking forward to all week. Unfortunately, my pain levels had been increasing all week and yesterday started what I was concerned might be a flare. As it turns out, I was right about. So, this morning I sent off a text explaining that I would have to cancel due to a fibro flare. A little while later I got back a lovely text starting with “I’m so sorry you’re unwell, that really sucks! Absolutely understand about cancelling today.”
With that simple message two things ran through my mind. One, I am so grateful to have such beautiful, understanding friends. And two, I am so glad I no longer have to lie about why I can’t do something. I hate to think of how much time I have wasted over the years trying to come up with a believable excuse to cancel on a friend and then even more time fretting about whether I would be exposed as the awful, no good lier I knew I was.
Maybe I wasn’t giving my friends the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, given the opportunity, they would have understood. But how could they understand when I myself didn’t? You see, for years, I had no idea why I was in so much pain that I would have to cancel dinner. I had no idea why, yet again, I was so tired I couldn’t get off the couch to make it out for coffee. And I certainly had no idea why I wanted to crawl into bed and never leave the house again.
It may seem like a little thing, texting a girlfriend that you’re having a fibro flare, but the fact that I could do that – text the truth – is amazing. Not only because it means that I now know what that truth is, but also because it means I am lucky enough to be surrounded by people who have made it their business to understand what that truth means and who support me in living with that truth every day.
How do you go communicating with others about your condition?