I went to a party the other night. (As a side note, YAY! I got out of the house and went to a party!) I know the hosts through a former job, and I had met a lot of the other guests through them and through that same job. I hadn’t seen them in years, so while at a normal party one or two people may ask, “What do you do?” at this party everyone asked. I hate that question, but it’s hard to avoid. I mentioned to one guy that I was unemployed. He said he wished he could get that gig. I was about to respond, “Yeah, it’s a great gig except for the lack of any income!” and just laugh it off, but our host overheard and mentioned that I was out on disability.
So here’s the problem: he shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t mind, but in general, it should be up to the person in question to disclose their disability status or not. It’s no one else’s place to do that. So I feel like I should say something so that he knows and won’t do it to anyone else. After all, I don’t mind, but there’s a good chance that someone else will. My guess is that he was trying to help me out but clearing things up, but there many times and many people where I don’t want it mentioned. After all, this was a party. I didn’t want to discuss my health – I wanted to have fun!
The thing is, I’m tired of educating everyone. Yes, I’d like to help him avoid offending someone else, or making someone else uncomfortable, but do I need to do that? I mean, it’s not my job to educate everyone, right? And it’s exhausting to be doing that constantly. I like to think of myself as a health activist, but it doesn’t have to be 24/7. At some point, enough is enough, and I think I just hit the point where I draw the line.
I like to educate others. Really, I do. I help whenever I can. This weekend I offered advice to parents whose teenager recently came out as gay and is having a hard time (I’m bi.) Today I’m helping someone newly dealing with chronic pain figure out the support services that exist in our area. But must I always correct honest mistakes? Maybe not. Maybe I’ll just let this one slide.
And yet, I feel guilty. So maybe I’ll say something after all….?