I wrote this post about a year ago and even added to it more recently meaning to post it but I just haven't been able to yet... I am still in a way traveling through this place in my life and I think I will to some degree or another for the rest of my life.
I have to be careful what I wear when I leave the house these days. Not that I do it all that often but when I do I feel like I have to look as good as I possibly can. If I know that then I can almost convince myself that all the looks people give me as I walk past them are because they are thinking that they like my top, not that they are wondering why I am limping and what is with the cane and the huge brace on my leg. I sometimes feel people almost leaning away from me as if I am defective and I feel like screaming at them... Other people, they kind of just ignore me... But it's more than that, I don't mind it when people don't care... It is more that I can feel them trying way too hard not to look at me. Maybe I should wear a shirt: Don't worry I was only hit by a car, it's not contagious.
Not everyone is like that though... For some people it seems to open something up and they tell me their own story about a knee or hip or whatever. Or they genuinely want to know what is up. Other people just really don't care and treat me normally. Some people know. But most people don't.
The hardest are the ones who think that just because I currently walk with a cane I must be mentally disabled.
I sometimes worry that I worry too much about what I look like... This is just a season in my life when I am dealing with something hard. Should I really care what other people think? Does it matter if people look at me like I am defective? I know that I'm not, and all the important people do to... Why does it matter so much? I know that I have always in a way used my appearance to help me... I don't mean that in a weird way, just that when I feel down I wear something that makes me feel happy or when I am scared, or nervous, or excited, about a situation I am going into I tend to spend way too much time on my outfit... I know that most people work that way but for some reason it freaks me out a little bit that I worry so much about what all these random people think of me.
I know that part of it is that I like to look my best and I feel like I can't do that right now so I am compensating but it is still hard.
I think that I am using my appearance as a shield right now both for the people around me and for myself... If I can keep myself busy enough then I don't think too much... Because if I think too much then everything becomes too much for me.
I am using it to tell everyone around me that I am fine, even when I am not.
When I wrote this post I was right in the middle of recovering from the initial accident... I was well enough to walk around and to want to get out, but I could only last for about two hours and it was a lot more obvious that I had trouble walking.
I have slowly gotten stronger and I have a new brace so it is easier these days. I can wear pants again so my brace is not quite so obvious, and I limp a bit less, but people still look at me strangely.
Just because someone is walking with a cane or wearing a brace does not mean that they should be treated differently Please remember that, because it really does hurt.
It hurts quite a lot actually.
What really bothers me about the fact that people treated me differently (and still do!) is that I am, aside from the brace/cane/crutches, a fairly 'normal' looking person even after the accident. And if I am being treated differently enough that I can feel it, then how much more is someone in a wheelchair going to feel it? Or someone who has slurred speech? And you do get used to it eventually, and find ways to deal with the really rude people, but my point is that you shouldn't have to.