I still haven’t shaken off that jerky encounter from yesterday.
I want to expand on what I said about not wanting to let things like this bother me, because if you don’t live in my awesome world, you may think that people being dicks because my kid stands out is something that happens rarely.
Ha ha ha ha ha.
At the BlogHer Special Needs session, Shannon from Squidilicious said that we need to learn to wear an emotional flak jacket in public. I tend to think of mine as more like body armor.
Last year, I helped chaperone Crow’s class on a field trip to the children’s museum. His sweet young teacher was shocked by some of the rude comments she got from other parents at the museum. She asked me if that happens a lot, and I started to say that it doesn’t but then I realized that it happens all the time but I barely register it at this point. The looks, the little comments made to someone else but loud enough for me to hear, the disapproving head-shakes – they still happen, I’m just not thinking about it.
I think the part of my brain whose job is to generate fucks to give about random people’s approval of my child/parenting has mostly shut down from lack of use.
And then something like yesterday happens, where it’s clear that there are people who don’t think I should be out in public with my kid, that we haven’t passed some kind of ‘you must be at least this normal to ride’ bar. And on the one hand, fuck those people gently with a chainsaw, but on the other (the hand without a chainsaw), I’m still capable of feeling shame when someone is trying to make me feel ashamed. Even when they have exactly zero legit reasons for doing so and we have exactly a millionty (©Crow) rights to be exactly where we are, doing exactly what we are doing. It still hurts, even if the hurt morphs into anger pretty quickly.
I said it’s body armor, I didn’t say it’s always effective. It sucks that just being out in public while disabled has to feel like so much disobedience and rebellion. It’s energy I’d rather be putting into other things, but that’s not an option. This is my life now. It’s why breaks like Doobie going to High Sierra Music Festival and me going away to drunkenly craft with my friends in hotel rooms matter so much – it’s a chance to slip the armor off entirely for a while.
Maybe one of my new responses should be to (perkily) ask people who are sharing their wisdom with me if they are familiar with Wheaton’s Law, and if they aren’t, just say, “It’s simple. Don’t Be A Dick.” with a big smile and turn away.