Do you ever get the funny feeling that you're being watched? You might be shopping in your favorite store, enjoying a day in the park or having dinner with friends and you just feel it. Those eyes from across the room piercing into your very soul. When you attempt to make eye contact with said person they quickly look away, like a child who just got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
My entire life I have dealt with this exact scenario. For whatever reason being in a wheelchair makes you a beacon for gawkers. It's like I'm waving a huge red flag, "Hey, I'm over here. Look at me!!!"
When I was a child it used to irritate me to no end that people would stare at me like I was some zoo animal on display. I remember seeing children walking away from me, holding their parent's hand with their neck twisted as far back as they could to continue to look at me. One even ran into a wall because they were so focused on me (Hysterical!!!).
I can almost understand this coming from a child, but are the parents that oblivious? Wouldn't they teach their children it is not nice to stare? I guess not when most of the time the offenders are the adults.
I like to have fun with the situation. When I notice someone staring at me, I don't just shy away. Oh no. I stare right back. I want people to know that I see them looking. Granted, I don't give any dirty looks or make a scene. I just make them aware that their mesmerization by my fierce looks (*wink*) has not gone unnoticed.
The part that is even worse is when people get bold enough to ask. . .
"So what's wrong with you?"
I kindly reply, "Nothing, what's wrong with you?"
What it boils down to is this; I realize I look different. I realize that my wheelchair looks different. I am not shy. I will tell you why I am in this chair if you treat me with respect, because the wheelchair is just a part of me and I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for my wheelchair.
But I know deep down inside, the real reason I'm being stared at is because, well. . .I look good today!!!