With all due respect

Yesterday I had an interaction I seem to have much too often to pass on not writing about any longer. You know, when a certain brand of folk who are convinced they know what I need and want more than I do. Almost like I cannot possess the capacity to help myself? The notion that I don’t, for whatever reason, have my best interests at heart is completely lost on these types.

But yesterday was a bit different than the many other times this sort of bullshit has happened, and I want to be careful. What happened strays heavily into the territory of faith and God. But I’d rather avoid conflating what happened with my thoughts toward either. Those who know me, know what I think on the matter. Those who don’t, just trust me, it’s not relevant to this conversation.

The interaction started when a curious party started asking a friend who I was talking with rather probing questions about me and my disability. Now said party isn’t a stranger to me, by any means. However, this person has never thought too far past themselves to engage me on matters pertaining to me. Especially considering the fact this person felt the need to go around me to get what they wanted — information. Even if it meant not treating me like a thinking, feeling human being. It’d seem little else mattered.

That wasn’t what concerned me. It happens all the time. You get used to it (not to suggest that’s a good thing). Anyway this person asked my friend about the nature of my injury. “What’s wrong with him” — remember I’m sitting right there. Like in their narrow understanding of existence there has to be something “wrong” with me. Because I don’t walk and talk like a “normal” person?

But what came next left me extremely agitated, they took it even further. And this is where it crossed the line for me. “I need to know the specifics of his injury to tell God what to fix.” Even after at least couple of interactions between us on the subject of religion. But that is beside my point.

Now before I proceed there is the chance the quotes above aren’t entirely accurate. I was extremely annoyed by this point and it’s possible my recalling specific details could be somewhat clouded. But what I wrote above is the gist. Plus I had moved from the spot my friend and I were talking to an adjacent space that was well within earshot of the interaction. And here’s the kicker, all this happened with nary an interruption in the “proceedings.” I mention this only for the fact the “conversation” was about me and my leaving the room had no effect on the questioner.

This person was way too arrogantly assuming I want or need to be “fixed.” For the record, I’m much more valuable to society as a whole, as well as myself, being in this wheelchair. I don’t need to be “fixed.” I don’t want to be “fixed.” Please don’t project your shitty attitudes, resulting from things you are entirely incapable (irony?) of judging, on to me. Just because you won’t bother to ask me to better understand my life, doesn’t mean I arbitrarily need you to do anything for me. Thank you very much.

Again, there is nothing “broken” with me. I’m not the one who is broken (speaking of assumption, it goes both ways and it does everyone a great disservice). People who live in hermetically sealed glass houses really should avoid handing people rocks only to dare them to throw those rocks to see if they break your surrounding “structure.” Not that I would.

Which brings me to my point, “with all due respect,” I guess that’s what it comes down to. Respect. I hope me titling this post as I have — because I truly do mean it — demonstrates my respect for people, despite any differences in opinion. But am I to gather expecting others to respect me, for other differences I’ve been handed, isn’t anything I should be counting on? How else should I interpret what happened yesterday?

2 thoughts on “With all due respect”

    1. Thanks for the comment, Lisa.

      Now that I have the benefit of “distance” from the event, I’m not sure this person’s approach was all that “desperate” — being there, and all. Not to suggest you were mistaken in the manner which you interpreted my words. Being “extremely annoyed” and writing this so close to the event likely didn’t paint an objective picture. In fact, I know it didn’t. Probably not the wisest decision I’ve ever made. But it’s done.

      But more to my point, again with time having passed, I’m not sure the intent was anything more than a helpful one. Since posting this “article” I’ve had some constructive conversations with a few people that have put my reaction into perspective a bit. I care to think the purpose of the offer didn’t purely stem from a place of self-importance.

      Specifically that “what’s wrong” question. It’s not so easy to find fault with. It’s a product of culture. In sense a person asking that, which I’ll quote, “wants to find wrongs and sell ‘rights'” (thanks Matt), primarily to feel they are helping. Meaning, as such, the onus on how I was treated wasn’t entirely their doing.

      Or that’s how I’m choosing to look back on it.

      Johnny

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