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 her...it 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.
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 car...you 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.