This morning when I got to the gym and waited for my friend, there were a couple of kids that came in and stopped in the middle of the lobby and looked at me. It was kind of sad and it made me uncomfortable to be stared at. I know that they don't understand that it's not right to look at people for an extended period of time... But I just wanted to say "What the hell are you looking at"? She honestly stood there and stared at me for what felt like two minutes. Then she started walking away to catch up with her mom further ahead all the while her head was turned back at me.
It feels like people are looking at me every 5 minutes today. I don't know why. Has anyone ever seen a person in a wheelchair talking to their friends? Is that shocking? I don't get that. I seem to elicit two different reactions from being in a wheelchair. Either someone will unconsciously stare me down like an alien... or they will do the apologetic "avert the eyes" where they immediately look away after noticing you're in a wheelchair to prevent them from staring. I get this all the time and I'm used to it but sometimes it pisses me off. Sometimes I want to say something or look at them the way they look at me.
All I'm trying to say is it's ok to notice me, it's ok to see me. I'm a person who deserves the same respect of personhood like everyone else. Staring at me or pretending I don't exist are equally inappropriate responses to me sharing a public space with you.