I remember the looks… the remarks… and the embarrassment. The way the woman on the bus clenched her child when I walked past. The Vice-Principle in Elementary School who said to my mom as I sat beside her, “Ma’am, are you absolutely positive your son doesn’t have mental issues, after all, it’s apparent he suffers physical disabilities.” Adolescence; what a nightmare. I would look at a pretty girl only to be met with, “Ewe, yuck!” The girl I was admiring would evade my gaze quicker than a bullet in the night.
And siblings, they don’t need additional ammunition; they can ridicule one another barring provocation. “Mom the retard won’t me alone”, that was the typical grievance, or “Hey crazy-eyes, how many fingers am I holding up?” Becoming the holiday donkey was not the best honor, “Hey let’s play hide-and-seek, he’ll never find us, even if we’re standing right in front of him!” Getting in trouble was no fun, “I would knock you silly, but someone already beat me to the punch.” The all familiar, “Sit back from the TV before you end up more screwed-up than you already are.” Being “different” was…well… different. I was not normal because I was treated as abnormal – different. Normal meant perfect; perfect I was not – perfect I am not.
Later in life, after surgeons “perfected” me, I became aesthetically pleasing. I began living “normal”. I then passed by a park and noticed a girl who was playing baseball with her friends; they were making fun of her because she stuttered – I snickered. I laughed, I cried, not for her, for me – I was embarrassed. How could I have forgotten?
Now, years after the perfecting process has passed, the physical imperfections are beginning to return. I rather enjoy revisiting the old me. The old me knew how it felt to be different – to stand out in a crowd. The old me, was never too proud to sit beside the man on the bus who has no legs. The old me never looked at a child and joked about his or her imperfections. The old me never used the word idiot, stupid, or retard. The old me… never judged a book by its cover!
This has been a… View From My Loft