Monday, September 17, 2012

Does it really matter what people think?

Have you ever met someone with a disability who seemed to be a little bit too self-conscious? So much so that they have become overly defensive you know those types of people who seem to be easily upset when a total stranger happens to glance in their direction. Well just the other day I came across such a person it was an older lady who was walking with her friend who needed the assistance of a walker and as they were walking I heard the one friend say; “I really hate it when people stare at me why don’t they take a picture it will last longer.” I don’t know if she was referring to me or someone else in the parking lot but it reminded me of a time when I to use to be overly concerned with what other people thought of me. Now I am sure when it comes to those of us living with disabilities there have been times in all our lives when we may have felt a little self-conscious concerning some of the issues we face. Throughout my life especially in my teenage years I worried a lot about what people thought of me when they saw me walking or struggling to do things other kids had no problem doing. I also use to worry about the size of my calf muscles which happened to be larger than other kids due to the Becker’s Muscular Dystrophy and for many years I avoided wearing shorts. Looking back now I am glad to say I overcame my feeling of self-consciousness concerning my disability and I am happy to say I am no longer overly concerned with what people think when they see me walking or wearing a pair of shorts.

What helped me get over my fears?

What really helped me get over my fears was an experience I had while at a popular amusement park by the name of Canada’s Wonderland. You see that day my friends and I were enjoying ourselves having a good time going on roller coasters laughing and carrying on when a mother walking with her physically disabled child automatically thought our laughs were directed towards her son. She started accusing us of laughing at her son which clearly wasn’t the case she was too quick to jump to the conclusion that a laugh amongst friends must be directed toward her and her son. To be completely honest my friends and I were too busy enjoying ourselves to notice her son having difficulty, it wasn’t until she started pointing him out that we even noticed her son. It was truly sad to learn that some people are so self-conscious and worried about what people are thinking that it keeps them from enjoying their lives. It was on this day that I made the decision that I was no longer going to assume that people were automatically going to stare or make fun of me due to my condition or the size of calf muscles. Soon after this I started wearing shorts in public and when it came to the size of my calf muscles most people actually thought I worked out or something. And over time eventually I became less concerned with the way they looked. Thankfully it was at this moment when I started living life without being overly concerned with what total strangers think. In the end the best thing we can do is just get out there and live our lives. After all it doesn't really matter what people think.

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