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Sometimes the truth hurts

By Gail Krawetz
Krawetz column

There are days when I wake up feeling tired, achy or just plain weary. What this means is that on those days I am probably not looking my best either. So the last thing I need to hear from well-meaning but thoughtless people is something along the lines of, “Are you feeling okay? You look so tired.”

This might come as a big surprise to these people, but your blunt comments confirming something that I already know are not helping. In fact, those casually thrown-out remarks actually make me feel worse.

Maybe I’m a bit touchy on the subject because as a child I was the skinny, pale-looking kid who was constantly asked by concerned teachers and other adults, “Aren’t you feeling well today?” This was puzzling to me, because I felt just fine.

My poor mother, who felt that my peaked appearance was a reflection of her inadequate parenting skills, tried to bolster me up by feeding me Vitamin C “sunshine” syrup and cod liver oil (yeech!). Mealtime was also a struggle as she wanted me to eat more. But no matter how many mashed potatoes, perogies or slices of homemade bread I ate, I refused to put on weight. So despite her best efforts, I remained the pasty-faced little kid who was constantly getting her blood checked because doctors were convinced that I was anaemic.

No one seemed to consider the fact that I was an active kid who liked to climb trees, skip rope, dance up a storm and play as hard as my peers. That might have been a clue that maybe I was just a petite, fair-skinned child who had a knack for getting into trouble.

I would like to report that once I became an adult, things changed. But no such luck. The frequent dark rings under my eyes always seemed to make people feel it was fine to comment on my apparent tiredness. And by the way all those claims by makeup companies that their product can remove such dark circles are false. I know as I’ve tried them all!

I have had a lifetime of well-intentioned comments about my tired-looking appearance, so please when you see me, resist the urge to state the obvious as most times I don’t want or need to hear the truth because it’s simply not helpful!

I think I speak for anyone who has not been feeling well or has been up all night with a child or who has been dealing with stress, and maybe isn’t looking his or her best. We don’t need observations, we need understanding and support.

The only thing worse than comments about my tired appearance is when someone asks me if I am feeling okay on a day when I thought I was looking pretty good. Now that really hurts!

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