That's how it can feel to a person with an invisible illness or injury. We look as though we should be able to carry our own groceries, climb the stairs vs the elevator, or stand and give an elderly person the seat. And don't even get me started with the disabled parking.
When I'm travelling, the minute the plane lands and the seatbelt sign goes off, I stand. I have learned I have to stand and get my legs balanced before I call on them to walk after sitting for awhile. When I do this, everyone around me looks at me and stands and jostles for position. I now say to these strangers, I just have to stand, you can go ahead when the time comes.
As you can see, many of these cases I have not even met the people I am explaining this to or have just met them through friends or relatives.
Once again I ask you to think about what you perceive as your weakness; now imagine having that as a topic of conversation when you've just met somebody.
Even the most confident person gets worn down after dealing with these sceneries time and time again.
I feel like I spend a lot of time explaining myself and my actions; why I choose not to do things, or why I do some things differently than others.
My body is different than anyone else's, I've known that my whole life. What I didn't realize is that it's capabilities would be compared to those of my own age simply because it looks okay on the outside.
What I realize is people of all ages, and races deal with this dilemma all the time.
There's a sigma when you can't do what is expected of you, period.
I'm not sure what the answer is, because I have really worked on self acceptance and gratitude for the body I have. My perseverance has allowed me to keep moving. When I'm faced with a new situation in which I have to explain why I can't do something someone my age should be doing, I feel it in the pit of my stomach.
Smiling and having a positive attitude goes a long way, but feeling judged does not make anyone feel anything, but shame. So the next time you hear someone with different abilities explain themselves, just remember how difficult that conversation is for them. A little compassion goes a long way.