It has been a long time since I wrote a blog post and I’ve realised that’s because it has been a long time since anything sparked that need to write inside me, until yesterday.
Yesterday I caught up with 2 Broke Girls and watched the episode that was aired on E4 on 27th December. For those who don’t know, 2 Broke Girls is a sitcom and out two 20 somethings who are down on their luck, living in New York and trying to start their own cupcake business. It’s the type of TV I like to watch that means I don’t have to think and makes me laugh a bit and sometimes a lot, until last night. One “joke” stopped me in my tracks, certainly didn’t make me laugh and made me think, a lot. In fact I have been thinking about it now for nearly 24 hours, ok, minus the seven (ish) hours I was asleep.
The whole episode was a bit off, with a lot of overly crude humour and very little storyline, it was almost as if they had guest writers, the whole feel was different but that’s just an aside. The line that made me sit up and pay attention was said by one of the girls who was on a second date with a guy who didn’t seem into her and she was speaking to her friend on the phone wondering whether he was into women at all: “You forced a gay guy to go out with me? Who am I, the girl with Lupus at the prom?”. My stomach lurched when I heard that and I had a really mixed first thought process. I thought “They’ve just mentioned Lupus, it’s gone mainstream, perhaps more people will become aware of it” and at the same time, “WHAT?! Are people with Lupus that repulsive that others have to be forced to go out with us?” and then “Is it the face rash? Or do they think it’s contagious?”. Right now I’m thinking “Seal has done all right for himself!”.
I’m still confused about how I feel. I never thought I was easily offended but what I’ve actually realised is that I’ve never had cause to be that offended. I used to get mildly annoyed when I was in my previous career and was in positions that others felt I was too young to be in but I was comforted by the fact that I did my job as well and sometimes better than others and age didn’t affect me negatively so it didn’t matter if people used it to try and get at me. Obviously I’m a woman and some people would consider women to be oppressed but I’ve never had any personal feelings about that as I’ve never had any negative experiences because I’m a woman and so any humour with that as a subject has never offended me but Lupus is different. At the moment I have visual reminders on my face and toes of my Lupus that I see everyday but which fortunately makeup does a good job of covering (on my face, not my toes!). I have a constant lack of energy, which means I can’t do a lot of the things I enjoy, like going for long walks and going to fitness classes with my friends, so I feel I’m missing out on my social life as well. I have had periods of time when I have been unable to look after my little boy for whole days by myself so I have relied heavily on others and I am very grateful to have those people around. I also experience pain in my joints, which makes things such as typing this blog post quite hard at times and I also have spells of dry eyes, which ironically, before I was given drops for them, made it look like I was silently crying to myself a lot, which lead to a lot of concerned looks when I went out and a lot of me saying “I’m alright, I’m not crying, my eyes just do this at the moment.”. I also have frequent anxious moments about whether I’m going to be able to do something or whether I’ll get wobbly legs half way through and then that leads to a painful stomach and very uncomfortable heartburn. Before my medication was back on track again I also had very painful chilblains on my fingers and toes and had to battle with Doctors for them to put me on the right medication and run the right tests, which I could have done without when I was already exhausted. I realise as I type that I am lucky that what I have can be treated and there are untreatable illnesses and conditions that I would much rather have Lupus over anytime and that some people suffer much more with Lupus than I have. The one thing that is always in the back of my mind is that my Lupus could potentially become worse at anytime. So taking all of that into consideration, it’s probably no wonder that a joke about something that makes me feel like this didn’t make me laugh.
What I can’t work out though is what the line should have been instead. Whatever it was would have offended someone and if we are honest we have probably all made flippant remarks about a group of people at some time if we are annoyed or exasperated or even trying to be funny and a sitcom, such as 2 Broke Girls, is supposed to reflect real life. I certainly don’t want to be in a world where comedy is censored so much it isn’t current anymore, it’s just a very weird feeling for something that is so much a part of me to be the subject of such unflattering humour.