A Close Look at Staring

Maybe it bothers me because I am not comfortable with my physical self, not completely anyway.

Although I have written before about what I would like to tell that other person who is staring at me, and what I actually do tell that other person who is staring at me - I don't think I have written about why exactly it bothers me. So that's why I started off with the sentence that I did, just to .. you know.. get it out of the way, and to just put it out there first.

When people stare at me I feel wrong and out of place. Let's be very clear right now: It isn't that I don't like knowing that I am different (and that others notice that I am different) - because that is not the same as feeling wrong. In my opinion feeling wrong is a much worse feeling than being different.

Being different isn't really something that is new to me. I have more or less always known this and it's just what my life is. It hasn't always been easy, but at the very least I have always known what I am getting myself into when it comes to being different. I've had at least two decades worth of practice at being different, and probably many more years of it to come! I have had practice at figuring out how to be different, how to enjoy being different, how to be comfortable with being different, how to fail at being different, how to find others who are also different.. the list goes on. What I am trying to say is that I have had the privilege, and support around leading a lifestyle that is different from the majority. And on most days I am fine with it.
But when it comes to feeling wrong because someone is staring at me - there isn't always something that I can do about it...other than to sit out the feeling. Wait till that person continues walking on. Wait till they stop staring. Wait till I get used to something that.. honestly.. I wish I didn't have to become accustomed to. Or just ignore them - but that feeling, at least some residue of it, still leaves even some tiny tiny trace of it inside of me. I can adapt to being different, but I haven't always been great about adapting to feeling wrong. In fact I don't even know if I ever will be able to!?

I know, I know, I know that when people stare they don't usually intend to give off the impression of making me feel wrong. And because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I am sure most are just curious and maybe if I stopped to say "hi" the majority of those who stare at me are probably very nice! But that doesn't change the fact that initially they still make me feel wrong. Like one of those pictures little kids work on that ask them to figure out "what doesn't belong in this picture?" And usually in instances where I am being stared at the answer is always: me.

Here's why I think 'feeling wrong' when I am being stared at is not a reaction I want to be having:
When my friends who are also young women (without a readable disability) are being stared at, they do not feel wrong. Some of them feel like they are being wronged. And others feel like it's something of flattery or a compliment, a positive thing! But rarely have they ever commented on their individual selves as feeling like the error at fault.

To get back to where this post began: maybe it's because I'm not comfortable enough with myself in a physical sense, that I feel wrong. My lifestyle of being different has lead to many failures, but also one of some success. There isn't anything wrong about being different. It has been challenging at times, but never wrong. I have yet to find that similar sense of accomplishment in my physical presence in a way that makes me confident and proud of it. Certainly it isn't measured by the relationships I've been in, or even the dates I go on. It's not really found in how many laps in a pool I can do. It's not in way that I can ambulate myself around the house without my wheelchair.

I cringe because there are no answers in this post. I'm not sure where that feeling of righteousness will be found, but I'm pretty sure that continuing my lifestyle of being different will get me there sooner or later. Damn I sure hope so.

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