Something interesting happened to me today, and as I was expressing my feelings on it to my Mother, she smiled and said, "You should write in your blog about it!" And so I shall!
Today I spent the day with my best friend, Kate, for her 20th birthday. By the way, in February it will be our 9th "Friendiversary"! I can't believe we've known each other that long without killing each other... We should get a trophy or something...
Anyways, we went to Boston Pizza for lunch, as we HAD to get our signature Tropical Chicken Pizza. While we were enjoying our meal, an older man walked up to me, handed me $20 and said, "I think you are a brave woman." I've been in these situations before, and yet I'm still not entirely sure how to react. This happened to me in the grocery store once, and I ended up arguing with the guy, telling him that I was thankful, but I wanted him to take his money. In this instance, I decided not to argue, as the man was already half way out the door, so I said thank you very much. I sat there, staring at the money in front of me, wondering how I should feel about it. I never know how to feel about this certain issue. However, as I thought about it during lunch and then on the way home, these two things came to mind.
I always feel horrible about people giving me money. Some people might think it's awesome, in fact most of my friends thought that when I was young, but it almost makes me feel ashamed. I think it's odd, giving someone money because they think they are brave. I think that just the compliment would have been enough. Now don't misunderstand me, I am very grateful to those people, and I pray that God will bless them. But I always think, what is it about me that makes people want to do that? It certainly isn't just because I smile a lot, and like to laugh. I think it's my wheelchair, or the way I look, which might cause them to want to "satisfy their conscience". This is probably what makes me the most upset. I do not want to be pitied. I don't need to be pitied. My physical appearance is probably my worst enemy, because it causes me to be misunderstood and judged. I just want everyone to treat me like a human being. We are all flesh and blood, so why can't we all treat each other the same? If you receive a gift, and you judge it only by how it's wrapped, and never open it, how will you ever find out what's on the inside? People are the same way. How will you ever find out what a wonderful gift they really are, if you can't get past the outside wrapping? It's a shame. And yes, I have restrictions, but so does everyone else. We all have things that hold us back in life, or cause life to be difficult. I wish that people could look past those restrictions, and see how wonderful life really is. It's not about how hard it is, it's not about the nasty blows that it has dealt, it's about being thankful to even be living. It may be hard here, but we're here aren't we? Shouldn't we consider every breath we take as a blessing? I'm going on a rant here... I don't want people assuming that because I'm disabled, I am financially unable to support myself. I would rather have people put that money to good use, and give it to someone who needs it. By the way, I ended up putting the money up for grabs, as I didn't feel right in taking it. Some people will and have disagreed with me, but unless you step into my shoes, or socks... you won't be able to understand.
I also don't like being called brave. Again, I was thankful that he said it, but that's not what I am. I am not brave, by the definition of the word, because I manage to get out of bed in the morning, and remember my own name. I am not brave because I decide to have a good attitude towards life, and not lie in bed all day thinking about how terrible my life is. I am simply making the right decisions. Do you know what I consider brave? Someone giving their life for someone else. In fact, the dictionary defines brave as "ready to face danger or pain." Am I brave? Uh no... I can't even get my ears pierced without crying... I would have preferred it if this man would have said that I was joyful, or that he enjoyed seeing me smile, or something more appropriate. I am not extraordinary, because I live with a disability. I don't deserve any awards, and I should not be considered brave. I do what everyone else does: I live.
Now I know that a lot of you will disagree with the two points I made, but as I said, once you step into my shoes, then you can tell me I'm wrong. I still don't know how I'll deal with this situation in the future, but I sincerely hope that people will put more thought into it before they do it.