Walking into a room full of people, especially strangers, feels like the following. First, you’re trying not to notice the people who suddenly stopped their conversation right at the moment you walk by because they just noticed your limp. You try not to notice the people who are blatantly staring at your limp and resist the urge to say “take a picture, it’ll last longer” (sometimes that resistance doesn’t work out so well on this one). Once you sit down in your chair/on the sofa/etc., then you can’t think about anything else but how you’re going to get back out of said seat and if anyone is going to notice or say anything to you about it.
Then there’s the other internal brain stuff that’s going on. You know on the outside you “look” like everyone else, but inside you don’t feel like it. No matter how hard you try. Yes you’re all human beings. But to you, you’re still different. You don’t feel like you can relate to any of these people sitting around you. They can seemingly sit and enjoy this experience you’re having mental panic about because everything is difficult from getting up, walking, god forbid you might fall and then what. If you have to go to the bathroom and there happens to be a crowd of people around, then what? You’re afraid to walk through them because what if one of them doesn’t see you and knocks you over? Then, if you actually make it to the bathroom, you hope the handicapped stall is actually open so you don’t have to find yourself not being able to get off of the toilet.
You tell yourself just to let go and enjoy the experience and for some moments here and there, you can. But then something inevitably comes up to remind you that you’re not like everyone else in that room. It reminds you of your disability and that carpe diem comes crashing down like a bookshelf full of vases in an earthquake. It makes you more and more hesitant to go out and do things even though you know you should. Even though you know you need to do as much living as you can. Even though you know you can’t just hole up in your house so you never have to deal with living with a disability, as much as that might be the route you want to take.
You see, walking into a room is never really just walking into a room for you. It’s walking into about 5 million other things too.