I’m used to people talking about me. Yeah I wish it was in that Taylor Swift, trying to generate a lot of PR for my new album kind of way. I’m used to the whispers and stares that have happened my entire life when I walk by. I’m used to an entire crowd going silent as I walk by. I’m used to hearing the chatter about my limp. When you grow up with a disability or any kind of perceived “difference”, this becomes a part of your life on almost a daily basis.
As I’ve gotten older this behavior has not only continued, it’s gotten worse. I’ve had to get used to people going behind my back and tearing me down or lying about me, sometimes to very important people. I’ve had to get used to friends coming to me saying someone was asking about them about me trying to get information. I’ve had to get used to friends being upset about a decision I made and as a result, walking into a room that suddenly goes silent with my presence. I’ve had to get used to grown adults pointing and whispering about me in places that are supposed to be fun or by my solitude.
When you’re younger, you think that when you get older this kind of thing will just go away, or a least get better. You expect that adults won’t act so terribly to each other. But they do. I wish I could be the type of person who just doesn’t care, who in fact feeds off of people’s negativity and pettiness and says “bring it on.” But I’m not. I understand that by caring, I’m giving these people power over me. I understand that however they choose to behave is because of something that’s wrong with them and not me. But I’ve had to deal with so much bullshit as a result of my disability that I just don’t have any energy left in myself to deal with other people’s ridiculous behavior with forgiveness and grace. I have to spend every day of my life trying to justify my existence on this planet to people. Justify my needs. Justify that I am in fact disabled. Justify who I am. Justify that I am in fact a human being too. So the last thing I want to have added to that is people talking crap about me and other related childish behaviors.
At what point do you just stop trying? Trying to be nice. Trying to be kind. Always working hard. Always being the bigger person. At what point do you just say screw it and start being the bitch people seem to think you are? At what point do you just start treating people the exact same way they treat you? At what point do you just stop putting in effort because it’s never enough? I really wonder.