Thursday, August 17, 2017

What People Think When They Look at Me

Today my friend and I were on the c-train going downtown. Sitting across from was a young lady, well dressed and likely on her way to a meeting.  She said "Hi' to me with that gooey eyed look in her eyes like when you greet a child. I respectfully said "Hi" back and then continued chatting with my friend... I didn't engage with her further because she kind of rubbed me the wrong way. My friend and I were chatting and laughing (I'm hilarious after all) and she tried to join in laughing with us... Then she said to my friend "She has a great sense of humour"! I don't think she knew I was telling her a really funny story, she just assumed I was "making noises" and laughing. I shot her an unimpressed look when she said that and my friend and I just carried on our conversation.  

Here's the thing, I don't believe she had any bad intentions... she may have thought I was a child, or at least quite young, if she didn't hear/understand my words she may have thought I don't have much cognitive ability. She was trying to be friendly and inclusive, but in a bit of a forced way. She didn't pick up on my dead pan look to her and back off a little. My friend kept asking me questions to demonstrate to her that I am a fully cognitive and aware (adult) person. 

This can be a really delicate situation because you don't want to shame somebody or make them feel bad because they don't understand who you are.  Would it have been better to say to her face that I am a fully functioning adult person? Or just continue demonstrating that with my friend? 

I don't care what people think about me, but don't assume that my disability defines me in this world.