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Thread: "You're a beautiful person."

  1. #1
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    "You're a beautiful person."

    So, today I was out with a friend in her car instead of my van. We ran a few errands and then went out for lunch. Had just come out of the restaurant and I am sitting on the sidewalk waiting for her to unlock the doors when a woman went by and looked at my friend and declared her a beautiful person, ostensibly for hanging out with little crippled me. I resisted the urge to say anything until she could no longer hear anything I said, but I turned to my friend and said "what, I don't get any credit for hanging out with you?" We laughed about how this woman's comments, which I am sure she thought were lovely, was basically dismissing the fact that I could have anything to bring to a relationship to equalize out my disability. It was not a big deal, and I am not going to lose any sleep over it, but it was still a little shocking that in this day and age there are still people out there that assume if an AB is with a disabled person that it must be one remarkably unequal relationship, and that they AB should be practically sainted for taking me somewhere. My friend and I laughed a lot, and as she was leaving to go home this afternoon I couldn't resist saying "you are a beautiful person" as she left.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    What exactly did she say after saying "You're a beautiful person" to your friend? Because I feel like you're assuming a lot and placing a lot of judgment on this woman, but it's hard to tell because you've barely said anything about what she said. Maybe she just thought your friend was beautiful?

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    i agree with scorpion but i'm glad you two laughed. sometimes ppl just say weird shit for no reason.
    "Smells like death in a bucket of chicken!"
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  4. #4
    People say goofy stuff like that to me sometimes too. (though have never been called beautiful and am not going to hold my breath for that one!)
    Oddly similar it is in the parking lot when loading Dave- like he can't hear. "Look at that nice lady."
    We laugh about it too.

  5. #5
    I'd like to know the exact words she used and why you did not just confront it at that time. I know it's not a easy thing to do in confronting these sort of things you are talking about (and yes you are right there are people like that out there) but not having a direct confrontation just allows idiots like that woman (if true) to keep on doing the same thing over and over. Just talking with your friend about it after the fact is not good enough and actually can only strain your relationship with her because if you were really upset over it (and who would not be) and went on with it to her then she could end up stressed over it.

    Who knows from the way you describe what happened, maybe the woman was a lesbian interested in your friend? Just trying to figure out what really went down here as all the other inquiring minds want to know Eileen, lol.

    Not trying to hurt you or anything in saying what I did, but I think we all need to work on reacting fast when we feel we are being discrimated against and yes it does happen a lot. The minute wheelchair is mentioned even in a phone conversation with someone for say like tickets to an event or what not, the tone generally changes. It took me years to truelly figure out why things are this way and the conclusion I've come to is people fear what they don't really know anything about. If this woman you referred to had a son or daughter that was SCI or other disability, you better believe her attitude would be much different. It is our responsibility to eductate these sort of people, even though a lot of us are not crazy about confrontation.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

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    Not sure why relating a simple story of a strange interaction resulted in the assumption that after 45 years post SCI I wouldn't recognize an inflection that was coated in gooey sugar, complete with a heartfelt look of wonder that someone would take me out in their car. I didn't respond for two reasons, the primary one is that she was elderly and I respect my elders, especially if they mean no harm. Even the elderly usually do not emote all over the place just because someone is helping me into their car, however. The point was that I knew exactly what she meant, my friend knew exactly what she meant, and that we laughed ourselves silly. I told her I wanted to say "I can hear you, you know. It's the mobility that is screwed up, not my hearing."
    I smiled at the idea of either my friend or I being called beautiful people based solely on our physical attributes. That ship sailed awhile ago, and both of us would be the first to admit it and not be flustered by it either.
    Anyway, I was just trying to share a funny story, although apparently it was taken far too seriously. I am glad my friend, who called me once she got home, broke out in laughter again when I suggested she would soon be turned into a saint and become an icon in the church.

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    Senior Member zillazangel's Avatar
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    I hear you completely.
    Wife of Chad (C4/5 since 1988), mom of a great teenager

  8. #8
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eileen View Post
    The point was that I knew exactly what she meant, my friend knew exactly what she meant, and that we laughed ourselves silly.
    I guess we should've just replied, "How dare that bitch be so rude!", huh?

    Ok, I gotcha. My 22 years post-SCI must have made me soft; I hope at 45 years post I can be just as hard as you Eileen, just as intuitive as to ignorance, pity, and condescension of able-bodied people.

    Whatever. I still say you assumed a lot and were very judgmental about someone you were annoyed at for assuming and stuff. Even if she did mean exactly what you're so self-assured that she meant, it's good to laugh this stuff off, but I don't see the point of the smugness that you expressed in your posts here, but hey, whatever gets you through the day...

    The chip on your shoulder must be a burden, Eileen; it's a chip that apparently is there for not just the able-bodied but the crippled as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
    I guess we should've just replied, "How dare that bitch be so rude!", huh?

    Ok, I gotcha. My 22 years post-SCI must have made me soft; I hope at 45 years post I can be just as hard as you Eileen, just as intuitive as to ignorance, pity, and condescension of able-bodied people.

    Whatever. I still say you assumed a lot and were very judgmental about someone you were annoyed at for assuming and stuff. Even if she did mean exactly what you're so self-assured that she meant, it's good to laugh this stuff off, but I don't see the point of the smugness that you expressed in your posts here, but hey, whatever gets you through the day...

    The chip on your shoulder must be a burden, Eileen; it's a chip that apparently is there for not just the able-bodied but the crippled as well.
    I wasn't suggesting that I had a leg up on you Scorp in the being able to read people. I was merely suggesting that I knew how to read THIS woman as it was rather blatant. Whatever. It seems there are chips on peoples shoulders here for sure, along with reactivity and hostility. I was just trying to share a funny interaction. My bad. Should never do that here apparently. How odd that my AB friend "got it" and that you come after me with knives drawn, saying I have a chip on my shoulder. It was meant to be a totally not important story with a maybe a "gee, I have had that happen too" response. Call it a giant FAIL on my part, and thanks for making me feel like crap.

  10. #10
    Eileen, I get the story. I too very self assuredly can tell when people are condescending. My friend Lisa, who has been disabled for decades, calls this her "antennae twitching." Your antennae must have twiched with a fury with that one. I too typically laugh it off if it is an ignorant and harmless LOL (little old lady)

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