I have had a particular idea for a blog rolling around my head for a while now. It needs a bit research and time for me to put my thoughts down. My family and I are in the midst of moving this week, so unfortunately time is a hot commodity.
Thankfully, the Universe delivered some good, lighthearted material for a post the other day. The theme of this “lighthearted” substance may sound like an oxymoron – projected anxiety. You know when someone sees you and begins assigning a worry or a fear they have onto you. I have found this happens from time to time when someone makes instant assumptions about because of how I walk.
In their eyes, I appear unsteady due to my gait and that causes immediate concern in the other person. In general, I believe people have a difficult time being with their concern and even a harder time labeling it anxiety. If people were able to do this more, they would in a better position to catch themselves and project far less anxiety onto others.
Here’s my brief encounter to illustrate my point. Over the weekend, I got a haircut at a salon I’ve been going to for years. The salon¹s in an old house so there¹s a couple steps leading to the front door. As I’m paying my hairdresser (do they still call them that?), her next customer comes it. I say goodbye and walk to the door.
As I do, the Next Customer follows me. My hairdresser, who has a knack for totally getting people for wherever they are, says to Next Customer, “Did you forget something?” Next Customer replies, “No, I am going to help her with the door.”
Yes, a nice gesture, but I didn¹t really the help, nor did I ask for it. Plus, her holding the door made my exit a bit more challenging because I was not able to hold onto the door as I stepped down. It just threw off what is easy for me.
Then as I am descending the steps, Next Customer calls after me, “Don’t fall.”
I know it probably doesn’t sound like this after reading this post, but I¹m actually not a sarcastic person by nature. I’m not as quick with comebacks as I¹d like to be. What I would have loved to say is, “Thanks for the reminder. Otherwise I would have planted my face on the cement.”
Don’t fall. Like I’m trying to? Do people think before uttering these words? No need to answer that one. Obviously not. I¹m usually pretty tolerant of other people¹s comments, especially when I know the person is trying to be but has their own anxiety thrown in the mix.
Statements like “Don’t fall,” especially when the person knows nothing about me except that I have a disability is just condescending. Would that woman have said the same to someone without a disability? I don¹t think so.
I will end my rant with a plea for all people who feel uncomfortable with anyone¹s difference, check in with yourself first – is what you¹re about to say coming from a valid place or one of projected anxiety? If it’s the latter, take a deep breath, count to 10, and people see themselves to the door.