This is a post about appearances. And how incredibly deceiving they are.
This is some real talk. Talk about something that is very, very real in my day to day. It relates back to my deep, dark secret. At the end of this post, I am going to ask you for a favor.
Most of us work incredibly hard to keep up appearances. We putty the cracks, smooth the wrinkles. Put a little paint on to freshen things up.
We assume the identity that we want the world to see.
Some days, I like to pretend that makes me like a comic book super hero. With awesome tights and a great butt.
Except that I am not. When I become not me, I become that normal, average person. A klutz who spills her double dirty soy chai on the train. An irritated commuter who just wants the tourists to step aside so I can make my train. I am the girl that would very much like for cupcakes to have nutritional value. The girl who gets kinda (yes, kinda) giddy when the guy she has been seeing calls. The very same girl who would gladly come over and make you chicken soup when you are sick. The girl who is almost always up to do something fun.
And in normal life, this is a very good thing. It means that my friends don’t see something that they would pity me for. It means that I can go out without someone wondering if I can handle it. There aren’t pity stares or unending questions about what I can and cannot do. I am normal.
I look normal. Well, as normal as the next
It just works for me.
Until I need help.
You see, I’ve never been good at asking for it. It was a cause of many fights in my last serious relationship. My sister would just show up at my old apartment to make sure that I got to the grocery store and that the laundry made it to and from the laundry room. if I bother to ask, it means I really need it.
I am independent. I was raised to think and act for myself. It suits me.
But I have lost some of that independence. Sometimes, I do have to ask.
Some days that means asking someone sitting in the handicapped seats on the train to not take all 4 seats for them & a laptop. Some days that means asking for priority boarding for the Amtrak or a plane. It might mean that I ask for a ride through the airport and a jump to the end of the security line. Or maybe it is as simple as me asking for a minute so I can go somewhere private and adjust the electrical current that runs through my spine and my leg so that I can more comfortably do what ever it is we are doing. Or I’ll ask that we take a cab instead of a walk.
So, I ask you this.
Please, if someone asks you for your seat on the train or bus, give it to them. When you see someone who appears able bodied get out of a car in a handicapped parking space, do not be so quick to judge. (The number of times this has happened to me, you think I wouldn’t even notice it any more). If you work in a customer service job and someone asks for accommodations for a disability, do what you can to help. It was probably already hard enough for someone who looks able bodied to ask because we have to endure the silent judgement of those around us who think we are lazy.
(This is not so different from the eye rolls and sighs that people with food allergies and celiac receive from restaurant staffs)
Be kind. Give someone the benefit of the doubt. You never know what it is they are struggling with.