By Kirstie –
It’s just what it sounds like, the little quirks you hear whispered about you or someone else just because you’re a little bit different.
These are the intrusive words that are told to disabled individuals and many others living with an invisible illness. The words that stick with and haunt some of us for the rest of our lives. These words can hurt us deeply — all because some people can’t see what is wrong, or simply can’t or won’t try to understand our situation…
I asked people in the disabled community about their pet peeves:
…”You’re too young to be this tired” or “If you exercised more you’d feel better” when actually if I push myself past my limits I end up a lot worse than I felt before. The list could go on. Whether someone deals with chronic illness or not, I find it disrespectful to comment on their lifestyle, their weight, diet, medications, etc. because I’m willing to bet people have no freaking idea! – Autumn B.
“Have you tried..? My brother’s aunt’s friend’s mom did this..?” – Kayla M.
“You are so brave/strong/inspiring! I have two choices, just like everyone. They are to let life make me bitter, or better. I pick better. Being bitter takes too much energy.” – Wanda R.
“People saying “I wish I could stay at home all day and do nothing” as if I’m only staying home to be lazy and it’s some kind of fun vacation.” – Jorie M.
I absolutely hate for people to say “You’re too young to have all these issues.” Well, I don’t choose to be 25 and feel like I’m 85 and dying. – Kirstie J.
Reasons like these listed above, are the reasons some people like me are afraid of using their needed aides for fear of being confronted, such as my handicap placard. I won’t use it unless I literally cannot walk any further, just because I hate the stares, the comments, and all around rudeness.
Most of us were told as kids, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Usually by our parents or grandparents. For myself, it was taught to me early by my grandmother. One day, I saw a child that was different than me. The child was about my age, and she had Down’s Syndrome. I was confused about what made her different and asked my grandmother what was “wrong” with her.
Her response was “Darlin’, she’s just a little different, just like you have black hair, and mine is grey. Our eyes are blue, but there’s many different color eyes. There’s nothing wrong with her, she’s unique. Just like everyone in their own way is.”
I’ve had this conversation with my grandmother follow me into adulthood to this very day, and as I was growing up and became a person with disabilities myself, it became even more beneficial to have that perspective toward myself and others.
I often wondered why some adults weren’t as well mannered as others when it came to disabilities, because I was taught about it so young. Now, I’ve learned that not everyone grew up as lucky as I was to have been taught that type of life lesson so young. ❤️