I'm feeling angry today, both angry and hurt.
Having lived in the body of a person with a obvious physical disability I have often wondered what it would be like to be normal for a day. If I could only have one day.
Last year I saw a show on the Discovery channel that dealt with specific traits of the human body. One doctor could take a group of healthy men, look at their hands, and by correlating the length of their fingers compared to their other fingers, could then determine with absolute certainty who would win in a foot race. Highly athletic people have certain genetic characteristics that can be seen in the structure of their hands. Comparing my own hand with what the doctor was saying, I have the hands of someone who would have been very athletic as well as someone would be a strong sexual partner. If it were not for just slightly warped legs, I would have been a winner. I would have been a great athlete and desired. Instead, I'm a curiosity.
I was born with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. This is a long fancy way of simply saying "someone who walks funny." It's not hereditary. If I had kids, they would not have it. It's just a fuckup in the gestation process, most likely from being a big baby in a small womb. Having AMC makes me no different from someone who was born healthy and then fell down some stairs and limped for the rest of his life. I walk weird, that's all. As a child and then young adult I would sometimes tell people that I was in an accident and that would seem to satiate them, otherwise I would be teased. One person actually said "well at least you weren't born that way."
Because of a random mishap, rather than be the strong man that I was meant to be, those who don't know me usually consider me as the potentially retarded and clearly crippled freak. People always told me that the teasing would stop as I grew into adulthood but it reality it just transformed itself into subtle variants. I'll call it well-meaning teasing.
Examples of such are where, last year a co-worker decided to compliment me by saying "When I first saw you I thought you were retarded, but I knew you weren't from the minute you spoke." On the other hand, after having dinner with a large group of people for a while, upon returning from the restroom I was told that the conversation had been about whether I was "stable", as if being physically disabled correlates to mental disability. My talking about being an engineer went unnoticed. A friends wife made it a point to tell me that one of her co-workers keeps referring to me as "that creepy guy" after me inquiring about her when I was shopping at a store where she worked. I know that some of these people meant well but it really ripped my heart out. I literally just wanted to die. It seems that nothing I do in life matters more than the fact that I have a disability.
Last week, after I got out the hot tub, I saw two adult men just plainly staring at me as I walked by. They were staring at my legs, to be more precise, and their heads kept tracking until I rounded the corner of the shower entrance. When you're at a nudist resort, hell, when you're anywhere, you should not stare any anyone to the point of making them uncomfortable. After leaving there I went out for lunch and just as I was sitting I noticed an entire family of people staring at my legs and throughout the whole meal their children would turn around and look at me and then my legs.
This isn't about being paranoid and thinking I am seeing people do this, this is clearly observing people stop whatever it is they are doing, turning their heads and staring at me. Many people with physical disability can relate the exact same stories.
I'm fucking tired of being a freak.
If I could only have one day of being thought of as normal.