The Look

March 31, 2016

Make It, Bake It, Fake It

This week, my friend and I, were victim to The Look. The judgement filled, questioning eyes of self righteousness. The stare of condemnation. The Look.

My bestie and I had just pulled in to the supermarket parking lot on the way back to her place. She was driving...I was semiconscious in the seat next to had already been a very long day. I grabbed my Disability Parking Permit out of my handbag and placed it on the dash as we pulled into the spot in front of the entrance.

The man walking next to us began the size up...two beautiful foxy young (enough) women pulling up. Instantly we could see the judgement dare they park there? Are they just trying to duck in and out? Was it a park of convenience with no regard for the law or others?

We could see the disgust in his eyes. Momentarily the embarrassment and shame washed over me. Imposter! Faker! Liar! All these words filled me with hatred of myself...then the realisation...if only he knew.

I stared back...willing him to say something...ready now to stand my ground. To shove the truth and the permission in his face. To will him to gain some understanding.

He continued The Look as we exited the car park...part of me resigned to the fatigue that had washed over me filling me with no energy to fight, and the other part of me ready to shove my Disability Parking Pass in his face. We laughed off his ignorance as we drove home. Yet, there is something unsettling about The Look.

The Look continued to haunt me today as I pulled in to buy some fruit and vegetables. I avoid the shops as much as possible...but today was meant to be achievable...the parking spots were 20 metres from the fruit and vegetable shop. The only problem is, these spots are directly in front of cafe seating. Would The Look be out in action today? Would I have to fight to look unwell enough to be using these spots? Would I be judged and condemned for needing to leave the house for fruit and veg?

My heart sank as I pulled into the parking lot. All the Disabled spots were taken. I could circle around a few times trying to wait for one to free up, or I could park the other side of the car park. With not wanting to fall victim to The Look today playing in the back of my head (and not having a choice), I parked 150 metres away. It was either that or come back another time...and who has energy for that.

I completed my shopping and with coffee in hand I pushed my trolley across the car park...the whole time wishing I had parked closer. The trolley was a struggle in my once strong arms, now fatigued and heavy. My brain was mush from calculating the best prices of produce and trying to remember what we needed. My body heavy as fatigue washed over me, I was now on auto pilot...get back to the car...get back to the can do this was my mantra. If only I could have parked closer.

The Look of ignorance versus surviving life with a chronic illness. At times it is a really hard choice.

Keep fighting The Look.

One day The Look may be one of compassion.

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  1. It's such a difficult choice to make. I used to live in London and felt the same about asking for one of the priority seats if the carriage was full. I look 'healthy' and worried about judgement (and also whether the person in the seat also had an invisible illness) vs struggling to stand in a moving tube for maybe up to an hour.

    Chronically Caitlin

  2. Great post! Shared on my Facebook page MSnubutterflies.

  3. Buuups here we go again... again good stff erased... i get those looks too girls when after buying stuff on a wheelchair on scooter scooter get The way you look When at the cahier i stand up to gather the things an pay. The biblic look... LAZARO stand and walk or...FAKER you just wanted a shorter line.

  4. So as my problem is in my legs and not in my energy/voice or capacity of making one mind my disability. I most of the times answer back quite acid reflection about a weird look...

  5. My standard reply now is: take a picture, it will last longer. Then I fix my lipstick and go on about my day.

  6. My standard reply now is: take a picture, it will last longer. Then I fix my lipstick and go on about my day.

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A photo posted by Kate Eastman (@makeitbakeitfakeit) on