handmade clay button I’m pleased to say I had an uneventful shopping trip. This is the 3rd time I’ve used my little clay button that asks people not to touch me. People do that here so much. They will touch you in a minute.

I’ve had one cashier ask what’s wrong with me. I just said, I have chronic pain. I changed the subject.

I don’t need to have the small plaque on my backpack when I see my psychologist because people in the waiting room are not touchy feely there. Last week while at Dr D’s office, a man ask why I have on the brace / vest. He then told me that one of his daughters has some kind of issue. I don’t remember. Then he said, I’d rather people ask questions than stare. I didn’t say anything.

I’d rather people let me do what I need to do and keep their Midwestern hospitality off me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind when people talk to me, I just wish some would leave the personal side out of it. And for the love of Pete, don’t touch me! Today at the store a guy was chatting with me about how he does the cooking at home. We talked for maybe 3 min. Not once did the conversation turn inappropriate or overly personal. He didn’t ask a single question about the braces, nor did he pat me on the back or shoulder when he said, have a good day.

I wonder why people with a disability are treated like they’re an information hub. I don’t need to be asked about my health. I’m shopping, I’m not taking questions as a representative of all things Fibromyalgia and Lupus related.

Why do people feel free to ask about my disability? There’s no way it would be acceptable to walk up to a woman and say, “How did you get all the grey out of your hair? My 65 year old mother has a hard time getting the right hair dye.” Try this one. “I see flab on your arms while the rest of you is thin. Did you have bariatric surgery to lose the weight?

It doesn’t matter where you live, that’s not OK. However, it is common to ask a total stranger about their health issues. I have a theory as to why. 

About 5 years ago, when I had a television at home, many commercials brought the most intimate parts of life right in my face. I learned about ED, about prostate screening, about yeast infections and different sanitary items for menstruation. I was constantly reminded to get a mammogram, and that one situation where they put a camera up your rear. Oh yes, let’s not forget commercials for condoms and flavored lubricants. Don’t get me started on what can be seen on YouTube or read in blogs – such as this one.

There is nothing sacred, nothing left out of commercialism. Nothing is sacred, no part of life that hasn’t been video taped, recorded on cell phones or posted on the Internet. If people are bombarded by these breaks in intimacy then they will behave in an intrusive way. Boy, oh boy do they.


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2 thoughts on “My Stuff and Your Stuff

  1. We walk away from strangers who ask personal stuff, like about the scars we have, or we simply ignore them. It’s uncomfortable though because why would I tell a stranger or someone I hardly know?

    I love the idea of your button

  2. People with a disability or scars are not an information hub. When you see a person with braces and physical ailments do not assume you are the only person that day to approach with probing questions.

    I think sometimes people start talking to me about my health as a way of saying, I’m comfortable with your difference. It’s as if they’re trying to validate me.

    Other times there’s an attempt to connect which fails in an epic way. They say stuff like , “You have Lupus? I had a friend die from that.” I want to ask, Did you hear yourself? Can you hear yourself at all?

    That comment used to make me mad but now I all but laugh at them. I don’t laugh in their face but I do get a chuckle out of the look in their eye that says, Yeah, I can hear myself and I’d like to now crawl under a rock ….. Who of us has not put our foot in our mouth?

    I don’t appreciate questions from adults. I haven’t noticed children staring or cowering, but adults will ask questions as if they have no idea what it means to mind their own business.

    I should make up a horribly tragic story so they never ask a total stranger a personal question ever again.

    story: Pa and I were tending the fence while Mary ran the plow. While tending the fence we heard Mary scream, then she ran over me with the plow. She kept screaming and laughing hysterically as she dragged my body over the river and through the woods. Mary kept driving until Pa was forced to shoot her. (cue tears and trimbling) What Pa didn’t know was that Mary wore a thick bullet proof vest knitted from wool. Mary kindly dragged my body to Doc’s house where I was given this vest and Mary was given a tight fitted white jacket. I can still hear the lambs screaming as she drove through their pasture. (wiping tears away) That was the worst 2 days of my life.


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