I do normal, mundane things too. The only difference is I’m sitting down and I’m probably dropping things as I go. For example,I’ll be line at the grocery store and, let’s be real, I’m throwing a chocolate bar on top of my groceries when I notice a child staring at me and asking their parent, “what’s wrong with her?”
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t bother me …anymore. Kids are naturally inquisitive because they are just trying to figure out the world. What bothers me is when their parents shush them not giving me the chance to explain that I’m just like them. Doing so promotes ignorance and the idea that disabilities and differences are bad and therefore, shouldn’t be talked about.
When faced with that situation, I take the opportunity to address the parent and say that questions are great! I ask the child if they have any questions, then I show them how I drive my chair. The child leaves with their questions answered and I leave hoping that I opened the child and the parent’s eyes.
I can’t control what the world thinks about me, or what they think they know based on my disability, but I can control how I present my situation to others.
So, whether you’re a child or an adult, don’t be afraid to ask questions that might mean a better understanding of the world we live in.
Unfortunately, you may come across someone who is less than pleasant, and/or doesn’t want to answer your questions. That just means you’ll have to take it upon yourself to do some more digging. Whatever you do, please don’t let that experience discourage you from staying curious and open-minded.
Different is scary, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Take the opportunity to get to know someone for how they want to be seen, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Stay curios, friends!