A friend came knocking at my door the other day with a gift for me which was lovely. Most would agree that it is special to receive a gift out of the blue for no apparent reason. Though this gift made me wonder what people really think of me? Sometimes it feels like the more someone gets to know me, the more incapable they believe that I am. I appreciate that if you don’t have a disability yourself or you don’t know many people with disabilities, it can challenge your whole belief system and be quite confronting. For me though, I am a person with thoughts and feelings just like you. Yes, I do things a little differently to everyone else though this is just to fit into a world that is not very accepting of differences.
I thought that I was being shown this gift and how it would fit because it was strategically draped over me. Then a camera was shoved in my face and I heard the word ‘smile!’. Immediately I put my whole arm over my face and I thought that this person would either, stop and tell me why they wanted to take a photo or would ask why I covered my face.
Then this person said, “I’ll go and put it on your bed.” and before I could say anything, they were halfway down the hallway to my bedroom to put the gift on my bed. While this was a very kind gesture and would have been done out of kind-heartedness this left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I found these few minutes very confusing and frustrating.
On one hand I was given an unexpected gift which to me expressed love, appreciation and wanting friendship. On the other hand, I feel that I was totally disrespected. A camera was shoved in my face with the assumption that I’d be happy for my photo to be taken without knowing what it would be used for (if anything), this person went through my home without really asking then left without much other conversation.
Who knows what I could have had on my bed and I am sure that there is a hell of a lot of people who would not want anyone going into their bedroom especially without their say so. As a person with a disability, I have to have people go through my home every day but this does not mean that it’s ok for anyone and everyone just to walk through my home.
After this person had left, I wondered what just happened and started questioning myself as to why I hadn’t said what I was thinking at the time. I became frustrated with myself for not being assertive and asking for the gift to be left out in the lounge room.
I am sharing this because I need to understand the fact that it is ok to express my own thoughts and feelings. It does not mean that I am being nasty, ungrateful or unloving nor does it mean I don’t want to be friends with people like this. I just want to be respected, heard and loved just like anyone else.