I recently dyed my hair a very bright red. The story going is that I wanted to be Oracle for Halloween, but really, I just love bright red hair. I was in a store one day and a woman came running up to me to tell me that she loved my hair color.
The most exciting part? That was it. She made no other remarks. She didn’t act uncomfortable. She just seemed the type to remark on something that excites her. I said ‘thank you’ and then we both went on with our lives. It was really nice.
When so many people come up to you and ask questions daily, you start to get a bit paranoid, and for someone who has issues with anxiety, it can often become a really stressful situation. But then there are moments in which people act as if you are the most normal person in the world, and they’re amazing. I was in the grocery store a couple of days ago, grabbing a couple bottles of iced tea and a man came up to me.
He started with, “Excuse me, can I ask a question?”
Honestly, I wanted to say no, but he was polite and very rarely do people ask if it’s okay before launching into what are usually rather personal questions. So, I ended up saying that it was okay and I waited for whatever ridiculous question that came out of his mouth.
There wasn’t one. He wanted to know where I got my chair. It turned out that his wife had gotten a new wheelchair but she didn’t like the footrests and he thought that the type of footrest I had would be better for her. I gave him the address of the dealer and told him that the brand name was Ki Mobility and that it is definitely a brilliant chair.
It was the way he asked about the chair that made my day. He didn’t see it as a huge deal. He asked about it as if I had a pair of sneakers that his wife would want, like a new pair of shoes. He ended up thanking me for the information and we both smiled and went on our way.
These are the moments I don’t mind. These are the moments that make me feel good about leaving the house. I don’t dread these types of conversations. I enjoy them. I don’t have a problem at all talking about my chair; I love my chair, it’s gorgeous, awesome, and fun. I do have a problem talking about my disability to strangers. But the chair is like a pair of shoes. It’s necessary but it doesn’t have to be solely for function. It’s flashy, yet simple. Clean lines. And perfectly conformed to my body. I think everyone who needs a chair should also have one that makes them feel excited to use it or at the very least, comfortable while using it.
It’s nice to be noticed because I have something cool. Not because I’m an obvious gimp.