As most people with disabilities, I have to deal with ignorance. Some I have written about. Here is a previous post. As I have aged I let much of it roll off my back. I don't worry about it. You get used to it for the most part. But we are still human and it upsets us sometimes.
Sometimes I find it humorous. I've seen people, both adults and children, staring at me as they walk not looking where they are going and nearly bump into something or trip. I giggle and think it serves them right. Hubby sometimes notices and says under his breath, "Take a picture."
I understand the curiosity. I really do.
I hear adults talking to each other, "Oh like at that poor girl, she is so crippled" etc. I probably could fill a whole book with a collection of what people have said or done.
Kids are the worse. They are the loudest. They laugh, point and attempt to imitate. Sometimes I want to just go over to them and smack them. But then I remind myself they were not raised properly. It is really not their fault.
For the kids I have come up with some answers. They'll ask in different versions, "Why do you walk funny?" I learn to say, "God made me this way." Which they don't understand either. Their attention span is so short they move on.
I hate attention to myself immensely. If you read my blog, you know that.
This past weekend after mass Hubby and I strolled with the crowd to the exit where Father was standing. We just started going back to church and this Priest wasn't there before.
We make our way and I shake his hand and told him I enjoyed the sermon. It was a great sermon. Then he looks down at my legs and says very LOUDLY, "Oh my! You walk with a limp. What happened to you?" I felt like everyone got quiet and turned.
Okay, maybe not EVERYONE but some did. It was one of those moments I detest. Everything just blurred. And I am not one to have a quick comeback like I wish I would.
I awkwardly smiled and said"It's just me".
He continued to stare at my legs, "Your limp is just you? What happened?"
I was not going to stand there and explain to him because 1) There were people behind us waiting for their turn. 2) If I told him he would have no idea what it is anyway. 3) It was one of those moments that I felt very uncomfortable and I was almost speechless. I wanted to run out of there.
The first thing that came into my head would not have been proper to say to a Priest. So I just responded, "Its the way I walk."
Hubby didn't notice much of it because of the crowd and he sometimes just doesn't pay attention. He was holding my hand but I let go because I just wanted to get away as I could from the scrutiny.
Later that night, I expressed my feelings to Hubby. He said he heard him but he didn't notice how embarrassed I was. He took it as the Priest being curious. I think he is conditioned as I usually am.
As I thought about it during the night, I because furious and confused. How can a Man of God be so ignorant? How can this man so blatantly and loudly embarrass a parishioner?
I talked to my Mom about it this morning. My argument was he is supposed to be the Man of God. He shouldn't have scrutinized me like that. She told me to remember that he is also a Man, a human being with his own faults.
For some reason I can't get that incident out of my head. I usually brush incidents like that and move on. I guess because the last person I thought would do something like that was a Man of God.
We won't be going to mass at the church this weekend because we'll be at a retreat. But what about the next time?
Maybe I should hand him a print out on CP? I thought about emailing as they do have a site explaining to him my limp and the way he made me feel. But is it going overboard?
Why do we, people with disabilities, always have to explain to people why we walk the way we do or why we do the things we have to do with a disability? To COMPLETE STRANGERS, no less.
I hope you share your honest thoughts with me and if possible, share this post. How would you have responded? Eventually, I'll get over it. Did I overreact? I usually don't ask anyone to share my posts. I figure if you want to share it, you will. But I would really like as many people's views of the situation as possible. You can agree or disagree, any feedback is appreciated. Thanks in advance.