Kindness is a Major Key

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have my longest class. It’s still only an hour and 15 minutes, but for someone that stops circulating blood after 8 minutes of sitting, it feels like forever. I love being at school, but sitting through this class generally ranges from mildly uncomfortable to completely hellish. In summary: Tuesdays and Thursdays are hard.

Last Thursday, I left this class feeling dizzy and weak. I drove to the building that my next class was in, and I parked in my designated handicap parking spot. After I pulled in, I noticed that a red car had pulled up behind me, blocking my car from behind. There were two large guys in the car, and they had their windows down with music blasting. I made uncomfortable eye contact with one of them while getting out of my car. I felt awkward and confused and so I walked in quickly, forgetting to grab my water bottle or lunch. As I walked away, one of the men yelled after me, across the courtyard, “Bitch doesn’t look handicapped”.

At this point I was already almost inside and couldn’t do or say anything without turning around and walking all the way back to their car. In all honesty I probably wouldn’t have said anything anyways. What do you do in that kind of situation? Explain the complicated internal processes that your body is incapable of completing? Flip them off? Give them a copy of your extensive medical files?

Instead I continued walking with my head down. I felt dirty and ashamed and threatened. I was scared of these men and the manner in which they spoke to me.

I got increasingly sick throughout the day due to the emotional stress of the event and my lack of food or water. By the time my last class got out I was seeing black and shaking so badly I couldn’t drive myself home. See, I am sick! I thought, as if my failing vision and unstable gait somehow proved to those long-gone men that I deserved a handicapped spot.

I wish this was an article about not caring about other people’s opinions, but it isn’t. I’m not at a place where I can comfortably do that. I spent two years being told by medical professionals that my inability to function was in my head, that it was my fault, that it wasn’t real. I just can’t handle being told that by anyone else, even rando college kids. Hopefully I’ll get there someday.

For now, this is an article about being kind.

I hope that when you see something that doesn’t make sense to you, you proceed with compassion and curiosity rather than judgement and scorn.

I look completely and totally healthy, but I am not. My heart doesn’t work and my brain is inflamed and my body is attacking itself. I simply do not have the energy to give to people who think that their limited understanding is truth.

Let’s both try to not be those people.

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