It happens all too frequently. When it does, it is painful. Folks regularly question my disability. “You’re not really sick”, “You don’t need that cane”. “Wish I was a sick as you”, “How could a person who is handicapped drive THAT car” (5 speed two seater). “You look great, you’re about as sick as that Ann Romney, I can tell”. “If you are sick, why do you walk such a big dog?”
It begs the questions, “What does cancer look like?” “What does a transplant recipient look like?” “What does MS look like?” “What does epilepsy look like?” “What does loneliness look like?”
Yes, my presence often brings with it inconveniences to others. I can be extremely self-conscious and concerned for how that presence changes peoples experiences. There are people that would prefer you stay hidden. I like to think that they are the way they are because the presence of someone like me reminds them of their own vulnerability. The thought that they or a loved one could be a walking disability time bomb must be quickly dismissed. They must preserve their comfy world view.
They do not want to have to think about such unpleasantries.
Trust me, we do not demand your help, we just don’t want you to make things more difficult.
So please, the next time anyone feels the need to comment on someones appearance, manner or speech, check the man in the mirror. None of us gets out of this life in mint condition.