lesbianspaghetti

My Big Fat Life – What Are You Staring At?

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I used to get really offended when kids would stare at Gabriel when we are out in public. You see, because of the prednisone doses, Gabriel has been dealing with a suppressed immune system. Because of this, when we go out I make him wear medical masks to reduce his chances of walking into a cloud of droplets when kids (or adults) cough and sneeze, and fail to cover it up. This isn’t a hard concept to learn, yet I see people fail to do this all of the time.

Lately I have come to the conclusion that kids are just going to gawk at my child no matter what, and it’s not a reflection of crappy parenting, kids are just naturally curious and lack the politically correct barriers we enforce on everyone else around us. What I haven’t come to accept yet, are the adults that not only gawk, but I have seen whisper and then giggle while looking at my son. This isn’t even a politically incorrect response, it’s just a social douche move. I can handle the kids gawking, but the adults who lack any social grace just annoy the heck out of me. I’ve started just looking right at them, and informing them that my son isn’t contagious, I am protecting him from people. Yes, maybe a snarky response, since I am also giving them the “people like you” look when I say it, but really.. what the heck?

As if my son doesn’t already feel weird about the weight gain from the prednisone, he now has to deal with wearing a mask which further singles him out, just so he can have some sense of normalcy in his life, by getting to go out and do things. Add the fact that kids and adults (who should know better) stare, and it’s not exactly the most amazing experience to go out in public anymore.

I thought I would share a thought that may help with the social experience if you ever find yourself in the space that you are staring in curiosity, that would not only remove any idea that you may be one of those people who lack any social swag, but would also make the person on the receiving end of your stare, maybe a bit more happy. It’s really easy.

Smile.

Yes, just smile. No, not one of those douche snark ew-what’s-wrong-with-you smiles, but just a nice kind smile. If you find yourself staring at the guy in the wheelchair, or he kid with a medical mask on, and they see you.. smile. Make it look like a moment you are offering a moment human connection, and just smile. I would much rather you smile at my child than give him on of those expressionless stares, and whispering giggles. Okay, so you are probably stating and wondering what is going on, or maybe you are thinking to yourself some expression of sadness for whatever it is that ails a person to be in that position to begin with. Whatever it is that is going through your mind, just please find a way to offer up a genuine and kind smile. A kind, generous and often welcome response to whatever it is you are thinking can make all the difference to the person of your curiosity.

As for your children, it’s okay. Maybe not to other moms, I can’t speak for them, but I can speak for myself. Just perhaps if you notice your child staring, use that moment to teach your child to smile in response to making eye contact with other people. When you get to your car, share with them that sometimes people look different and that is okay, and a smile is an appropriate and polite way to quietly greet others. Can you imagine the way we could change the way we interact with others by simply teaching our children, and ourselves, to smile at other people?

That would be a wonderful thing.

Last night Gabriel had some pain, and it bothered him up most of the night. It was in his shoulder, which is one of the symptoms that we typically deal with when fluid starts to build up around his heart. Thankfully it is now 8 in the evening and it never progressed, so I am relax a bit with the hopes it was just a random ache or pain.

Since today is Monday, that means another taper of the prednisone and it being the 2nd of the month, it means this is the start of his very last taper. I always find myself riding the wave of anxiety when the time draws closer for him to go off of the security of the prednisone, but this time we have that little purple pill on board (colchicine), and so I am trying to let the cautious hope ease the crop in that wave, just a bit. I’m not really doing such a great job of it, but after months of having been in this place before, I am learning some coping skills. One is that I am shutting down emotionally from those around me, but I am not shutting people out. In the past, I just went into emotional survival mode and shut everyone out, with all of my energy focused on trying to ride the wave without falling off and belly flopping into my metaphoric ocean of anxiety. Now, I am still in that place, but I am learning to ask for a hand from those I trust will help catch me. I’m still not 100% with this skill, but I am getting better.

I still don’t have a lot to give out to those around me during this stage of the process, and I am learning to be okay with that. I used to put a lot of expectation on myself to meet the expectations of those around me, even in my stress, but that would just weigh even heavier on me, and honestly I can’t do it. I am learning to identify the difference of the expectations of others put on me, those I put on myself, and the reality of what I should take on at any given moment. That might sound like a big lesson, but really I am just living it one moment at a time.

Now if we could just live human connection, one smile at a time…….

(Gabriel at the grocery store. As my daughter, Sarah, recently acknowledged on a recent shopping trip.. no, I don’t mess around with the cereal)

Gabriel Shopping

 

 

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  1. What a wonderfully generous suggestion on how people can respond when seeing a person with a situation they are unfamiliar with. Beautiful, too…..just smile. That is a perfect suggestion.
    I understand children staring, etc, but I had no idea a so-called adult would ever do the same thing. Unbelievable.
    You are setting an amazing example with your enlightening suggestion. Hope many people read this and pass it on.
    Will be sending the best thoughts possible during this latest tapering process…..gentle hugs to you and Gabriel!

  2. Who said he was fat? He looks just fine to me! I wear oxygen, and people stare all the time. The only time I’ve gawked at somebody wearing oxygen is when she ALSO had a lit cigarette in her mouth… I was about ready to go park somewhere else, in case of an explosion. Sheesh, people… common sense ain’t so common anymore!

    • You give me an idea, that perhaps I should write a blog with the side by side changes that have noticeably taken place due to the medications. Yes, I have been guilty of looking and bewilderment when I have seen the same thing, or even doctors who are outside smoking when we have pulled into the hospital parking lot. I think those looks are more of shock rather than curiosity, but I plan to still smile as much as I can when I find myself in those spaces as well. Can I ask how you handle it when people stare? Do you just ignore it, or share a smile? If you have words of wisdom I could pass to Gabriel, to teach him how to cope with it, I would appreciate your thoughts.

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