Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sarcasm and Hyperbole

"Sometimes I feel like I've been tied to the whippin' post..."

I've always loved this quote from the classic rock & roll song by the Allman Brothers.  Since last summer, the summer of my discontent (another quasi-literary reference...sorry), this quote has had quite a new meaning for me.  Certainly, I don't liken myself to Job, whose entire existence worsened to a low point most of us could never imagine, but there are days I succumb to self-pity so intense that I feel like I've been tied to the whipping post.  STOP, I tell myself after a while.  JUST.....STOP.  I get a surge of energy (that I attribute to the Holy Spirit coming through for me AGAIN) and I make it over the hump once more.

It's very difficult to describe to people the uncontrollable parts of my MS...sudden and lasting fatigue, daily gradual loss of leg control, constant stinging and lack of coordination in my hands and fingers, forgetfulness, confusion...things easily dismissed by those who aren't around me constantly as "typical" of a mother of five or of a 40+ year old.  If you "get it", you can't dismiss it.  It's very real.  If it isn't rearing its INCREDIBLY UGLY head, it's lurking nearby, ready to POUNCE and ruin my otherwise lovely day.  Days or weeks can go by during which I accomplish only the absolute bare minimum of duties, leaving undone anything irrelevant to things immediate.  Regret...shame...anger...it's all there! 

This brings me to my title: Sarcasm and Hyperbole.  I recently described myself to my sister, Jeanette, as thin-skinned and sensitive.  My feelings are hurt easily.  I am really trying hard to work on "toughening myself up", but it's a life-long characteristic so it's hard to do.  I'm easily teased, since my reactions are genuine and strong.  Those that like to tease me know this.  While clever, they sting.  I have conveyed this to many of my friends and family--the teasers.  If they choose to ignore it, I can't stop them.  Perhaps, however, I can use the power of this blog to reiterate my plea: don't assume I can take it...'cuz often times, I can't.

I'll make a good attempt not to overpower my few readers with Multiple Sclerosis related or "poor me" subjects here.  Give me time, though.  And keep coming back!

I will end with an example.  No names.
an email sent to me recently, titled, "Jeopardy":

13+ ...


"Yes, Alex.  What are interval days between posts on Mara's blog."


  1. So I recently showed Julia and then I showed Benen at Easter the silly:

    C M Thangs
    M R Ducks
    M R Not
    O S A R
    C M Wangs
    L I B
    M R Ducks

    I would like to remind you (and I guess everyone else) that not commenting on the MS things you have to go through daily make it much harder for the rest of us to "understand" because from the outside, you don't look like a duck (so to speak.) I read your post and thought of the ......if it quacks like a duck.....which is what led to the little duck joke thing I was showing the kids. Thing is, if you look like Mara before MS, you act like Mara before MS and you talk like Mara before MS...........hard to remember you aren't Mara before MS. So don't think of it as complaining or self-pity, or whatever it seems like in your mind. We need to hear about your stinging hands and feet, your fatigue, etc. Otherwise, you are still Mara before MS when we think of you and that is not good.

  2. I love both of you!

    And I SO agree with Jeanette. She said it perfectly. I want to hear about MS, about what your life is like with this disease, about ways that you struggle to handle it. Successes and failures, even just mere descriptions. Tell.

    One more thing. In my experience, very few people are as thick-skinned as they pretend to be. Most of the users of sarcasm (myself included) developed the strategy as a defense: if you poke first, maybe you won't get poked. It takes a lifetime to unlearn that strategy. Even when it is "unlearned", it seems to sneak back up on ya during moments of weakness. Again and again, I have to re-commit to being authentic in communication.

    Mara, I don't really think you can learn to "toughen up". Maybe the best approach is learning to forgive the sarcastic by staying true, direct and authentic yourself. Now that's the journey to holiness I think. And a beautiful model for all to follow.