Throughout my life, my walk has been described many ways. I couldn't tell you every description but there were a few that ingrained in my memory.
I recall the doctors describing me as ataxic and spastic with a wide gait. Hence,diagnosis Mixed Cerebral palsy, which means a combo. ataxia and spastic.
Ataxic gait is defined as unsteady, uncoordinated walk, employing a wide base and the feet thrown out. It's a very accurate description except for the feet thrown out. I don't throw my feet out, or I don't think I do. BabyGirl, her father and I had once came up with "I weeble wobble but don't fall down..most of the time.
Spastic: a gait in which the legs are held together and move in a stiff manner, the toes seeming to drag and catch. My legs are not held together in my opinion but I am stiff. But I do tend to drag my feet. I still hear my mom demanding, "Pick up your feet!" It was annoying and frustrating to me as a child but as an adult I can see that I could be dragging worse than I do now.
As a child, kids used to tease and laugh call me crippled and said I walked like a duck or penguin. They would cruelly imitate and laugh. I thought they looked so ridiculous.
As I got older my peers would tease I was a cowgirl or suggest I should get off my back with sexual overtures. I remember some idiot boys would laugh and say, "C'mon Cowgirl! Give me a ride." It was disgusting and shameful to me. I had wished they would disappear during those moments.
As I age and have grown, the name calling doesn't affect me as much. Sometimes it hurts deep inside. But for the most part I laugh along WITH them now. I think the way it affects me depends on how it is presented.
For example if I am in a crowd and a kid comes yelling, laughing and pointing saying to others, "Look she walks funny" makes me uncomfortable and hurts. I want to crawl under a rock. Not because of the shamefulness but because I hate attention brought onto me in that way.
But if I am with family or friends or people I know and we start talking about it, Or even if a stranger comes quietly bringing no attention I am fine with it. Actually I embrace it and am happy to answer.
The other day I was having my day with BabyGirl and her friend was there. It was the first time I met him. I can't remember exactly how he started as we were walking down steep stairs. I was concentrating on not tripping. He said something like "What happened, you walk like a PIMP ..or a gangsta?
It caught me by surprise because BabyGirl usually tell her friends before so there would be no awkwardness. I asked, "BabyGirl, you didn't tell him." She said no and proceeded to tell him that I had Cerebral Palsy. He responded, "Oh I am sorry."
I just started laughing and said that was a first! I had been described many things but never a pimp or gangsta.
He apologized and I could tell he was sincere and met no harm. I wasn't offended or hurt. It just struck me funny.
I giggled throughout the day when I thought about it.
It is amazing how different people can describe one thing so differently.
Have you been called a name that was funny? What kind of names were you called that hurt your feelings and why?