IMG_00000755Image Description: A bad cartoon drawing of a guy in a power chair being blocked by a standing man.

Staring. Being pointed at. Being laughed at. Being made the butt of loud cruel stupid jokes. Okay, I don’t like any of those things. But those things anger me more than frighten me. To be sure I can feel anxious before going out because of those things, but anxiety, at least how I experience it, is different than feeling an immediate fear of danger.

There are times when I am out when I feel my safety is in jeopardy, that someone is going to do something that could physically harm me. It is in those moments that I have, in the deepest core of myself, a desire to not be different, to not be centred out and to not be afraid. This happened to me on Sunday. Joe and I were coming home, strolling along together, chatting.

Then, suddenly.

A fellow who was walking towards us, an ordinary kind of bloke. The kind of guy that would be hard to describe to the police. Average height and build, average demeanor, engaging in perfectly normal behaviour. Then, out of the blue, as we were about to pass him, he steps to the side, placing his body immediately in front of me. I screech to a halt and stop. He stands there. We are very close. He doesn’t look at me. He looks past me, as if he’d stopped to look ahead and as if I as invisible or immaterial to him. It was only a few seconds.

A few seconds where I felt in incredible danger.

A few seconds where I wished that I was actually invisible.

A few seconds where I just wanted, for once, to be able to be out and feel safe.

A few seconds where I wished I was different than I was.

Then, he stepped back and walked around me. And headed on. Completely oblivious to the damage he’d done. Or maybe not.

Or maybe not.