Don't Be a "Becky"
Everyone has that one family member...
My aunt is very aggravating. For the sake of privacy (not that I'm sure she will ever read this, but still), I'm going to call her "Becky." Everyone has a Becky in their life. As I go on to describe the defining features of a Becky, I'm sure you'll be to pick out which family member or friend is your Becky.
Becky has a Master's degree in psychology, this automatically makes her an expert on most everything in existence, including how my body works, whether or not I'm a good parent, and whether or not my life has any meaning. Every family get-together, I wait for the sideways comments to start so that I can say "I'm too sick to be good company right now," and retreat to a back room in my grandma's house. It's always something.
First, it was about my fibromyalgia. I had really been having a tough time, had recently quit my retail job (I even enjoyed that job for the most part) and the medicines my rheumatologist were giving me were not helping. Becky also has fibromyalgia and, of course, because she works and medicine helps her control her symptoms, that had to happen for me too. Because all bodies with fibromyalgia are totally alike (feel the sarcasm through the screen)! No, if medicine wasn't working and I wasn't working, I'm lazy. I'm a bad mother. I'm a burden on my parents. I left that family gathering in tears, feeling like because I wasn't working, because I was sick, I was a bad person. This is the effect of a Becky.
After that, I tried to avoid conversation with her at all cost.
Next family get together that I had a "Becky incident" was right before I was diagnosed with gastroparesis. Now, before I begin this one, I will say I was already angry at Becky and may have overreacted. I'm a sensitive flower, what can I say? I started bringing my own food to most family dinners at this point and I didn't eat much because I was nauseous most of the time anyways. I took with me a cup of instant white rice to pop in a microwave and one of those little halo oranges. I started fixing my food, I sit down, and Becky looks at me and my food and says, "are you on a diet, Meg? Are you trying to cut gluten out?" All these probing questions. Can't I eat my little plate of food in peace?! Luckily, my mom tells her I'm nauseous and all that stuff mentioned above, yadda yadda, and I'm mostly left alone for the rest of the meal. I do leave early though, before she can get any more probing questions or sideways comments in.
Next one was my own fault. I should have learned by now, a very important rule, "never talk to a Becky of your own free will." I tried to make polite conversation and, well, it ended badly. It was a nice day so most of the other family members were outside. I make a comment about going to the doctor soon and, very loudly, Becky decides to cut me off and say something along these lines, "You really are just gonna have to suck it up and get over it! I mean, I have the same thing and it doesn't stop me from working! Don't you think I hurt too? Well, I do and I still keep going!" I head outside after that. I, later, tell my mom and dad what happened. They said something I should have remembered before talking to her. I'm not obligated to speak with her and I don't have to be alone around her either. My parents rock!
A Becky is someone who is seemingly only at a family function to make your life harder and, if you're chronically ill, dealing with the Beckys of life can be exhausting! They are the ones who will talk bad about you but say it "because they love you." I'd honestly rather have Becky just tell me she doesn't like me instead of lying but I also don't really feel obligated to strike up a conversation with her either.
Don't let a Becky ruin holidays for you. You are not obligated to talk to them, so don't. Ignore them, don't be alone with toxic people. Have someone who is in your support system with you to have your back. Eat what your body needs despite what comments Becky makes about it. Don't let Becky make you feel like your value is in how much money you should be making. You are not a burden. And, if no one else will, I have your back. We will take on the Becky beast together!
Don't be a Becky. Don't give us advice we didn't ask for. Don't assume we are lazy instead of sick. Don't assume that because we have the same condition, our bodies work the same. Don't make disabled people, especially disabled parents, feel like they are failing their kids or are a burden to their families. Just be kind.
Don't be a Becky! Thank you for reading!
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