The Mighty Logo

5 Reasons I'll Never Wear These Fibromyalgia Awareness Shirts

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Until I finally blocked them as “offensive,” Facebook targeted ads at me for fibromyalgia awareness T-shirts: the kind that include phrasing such as, “I don’t look sick? You don’t look stupid!” or “I don’t have the energy to pretend I like you today.” While I have great affection for snark, I think these awareness shirts go too far. Here’s why I’ll never wear them….

What I Don’t Like About Them

1. They’re defensive.

They are starting a type of conversation on the defense. While defense is the typical response to an attack, it’s also a response to guilt. I’m not guilty of fibromyalgia. I just happen to have it.

2. They’re aggressive, even mean.

If I’m to wear a shirt for awareness, which is representing everyone who has my condition, I do not want to represent us all as mean, aggressive people. That’s negative, inaccurate and stigma-feeding.

3. You get back what you put out.

I don’t want to get back what these are putting out.

4. You get what you expect from people.

I don’t want to get what these shirts are expecting of others.

5. Specific to the shirt that reads, “You don’t look stupid”:

As our society progresses into one of more inclusion, we are learning the painful histories of certain words and working to eliminate them from our rhetoric. “Stupid” is a harmful word that has been used to describe people with certain disabilities. I am here to advocate for all people with disabilities, not just people who have the same one as me.

What I Do Like

1. I like Snoopy.

2. I like to teach that we do “pretend” to be better than we feel, and we do feel worse than we look. Check out this article I wrote on passing.

Image via Facebook ad

Originally published: January 4, 2022
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home