On a daily basis we are judged or judge people on their physical appearance, everyone does it. Quite often my mum & I will go to our local shopping centre and 'people watch' whilst having a coffee, but never would I stop someone and question them about their fashion choices for the day; you wouldn't would you?
I know people can't help but look or treat someone differently based on any physical abnormalities they may have, but is it okay to go up to that person and ask them for an explanation as to why they are different? This is what I want to know, because on a daily basis, numerous times a day if Lyla and myself are out, we are stopped so someone can ask a question, or we see someone performing some kind of Exorcist neck twisting manoeuvre because they just caught a glimpse of Lyla from the corner of their eye.
Monday for example, I was sitting in the new Rundle Mall Plaza, feeding Lyla with a couple of friends, a guy walks pasts, stops, walks back, looks at Lyla points to his nose and asks "What's that for?" to which I replied "For feeding", he walks a few steps and then said "Oh I know what happens otherwise" and stands there (in a packed food court, mind you) puts his hands around his throat and pretends to choke. Are you serious? This is the kind of stuff I get whenever we our out in public, okay, well maybe not this dramatic, but still, I don't think its fair to be making fun of my daughter.
These are some of the questions I get or comments I overhear...
"Was she premature?"
"Is she okay?"
"What's that thing in her nose?"
"Is that for oxygen?"
"Look at that poor, sick little girl"
or my personal favourite "What's wrong with her?"
I have no problem talking about Lyla if someone ask a question, but it all depends on how someone asks me the question; when I get "What's wrong with her?" which I get quite frequently, I reply with "Nothing, she is fine" (I want to say 'what's wrong with you', but I don't have the guts). And "Poor sick little girl", well actually she's not poor, she has a great life and she is not 'sick', in fact she has never been sick! *touch wood* At the end of the day, or by the time they walk away, they've forgotten about Lyla and they don't really care 'what's wrong with her', so why should I be expected to tell them anything?
So the next time you see someone who looks different or acts different - like that child throwing a tantrum in the supermarket, maybe take a second to think about how your looks are perceived to that child or carer, or those questions you ask; are you asking them because you really care and want to know, or because you are nosey and want to know why they look different, or that child throwing a tantrum, did you think maybe this child has a disability like autism?
Just a thought.