Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Developing a Thick Skin

I've had this topic on my mind for a few days but I wasn't quite sure how to word it. I was reading a comment on a forum written by a mom whose daughter had a birthmark on her face. She was upset that someone had thought to use that situation as an example of a distraction in a school setting. I'm not going to address that particular situation, just what it made me think about.

I'm sure that what I'm going to write about isn't considered politically correct and it may even upset other mothers of special needs kids. However, it's just something I feel led to write. Taylor doesn't look "normal" and she never has. Even when she was little you could always tell there was something different about her. As Taylor was growing up, we dealt with stares and rude comments and I will admit that my feelings would be hurt a lot. I would get angry and lash out at the insensitive or unfeeling person. Of course, it never made me feel any better but I always thought I needed to be outraged on Taylor's behalf because she didn't know enough to "feel the slight". So I felt it for her.

As the years have gone by, I realize that my desire to strike back at rude people has waned. I have read the blogs of some parents with disabled children in wheelchairs who watch for people that park in the handicapped parking spots. Even if these people have placards, this mother will say something if the person doesn't appear to be visibly disabled. I have a placard for Taylor. Is she in a wheelchair? No. So by that mother's standards, I shouldn't park there. To her, my daughter having seizures every few minutes in a parking lot shouldn't mean that we get to park closer. Are there people who park in handicapped spots illegally? Of course…but to demand everyone "look" disabled is ridiculous and shows that ignorance can be found anywhere.

I guess my point for writing this is that after 20 years, I've developed a thick skin. Maybe if my daughter could have hurt feelings or understood things, I would think differently. But she can't. So why should I waste one second on a negative emotion when I can just focus on the silly, happy, child that Taylor is. There are always going to be ignorant and rude people. Don't get me wrong. If someone is just downright ugly about Taylor right to my face, then yes, I will say something, but i've learned to let the negativity roll off my back.

I hope that I've worded this post in a way that people understand what I mean. Taylor doesn't need me to be outraged on her behalf. She doesn't give a rat's ass…so neither do I.


Robyn said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I'm mom to Seth who is developmentally delayed with no real diagnosis. We are only 4 years into out journey so my skin isn't quite as thick but it is surely getting that way. We have a quite diverse, multiracial family so we attract attention in many ways! Taylor is so special, you can see the joyful girl she is even through her photos. Thank you again for sharing your journey it has surely made me feel no quite alone.

erica mac said...

Although I can't not fathom what it's like to have someone make a comment about that about my child, I admire your stance on the topic. I find engaging idiots never fixes anything, and just adds to the problem. You and Taylor are in my prayers! She seems pretty special in many ways those idiots don't deserve to ever know. -Erica

Becca said...

You've worded it perfectly, Dawn. Beautifully said. It's really not worth spending your whole life trying to find the things that anger you about ignorant people. You've got to pick your battles, and if it's something directly to you or Taylor, yes, that would be the time to act. You can't let miserable people make you miserable.

Heather said...

i'm sorry that conversation ever came up. crappy, crappy, crappy. i can only hope the person in question had some second thoughts.

Mandy said...

Stumbled on your blog and love it :)
I really need to work on getting a thicker skin....ugh, I hate that my heart breaks and the tears flow when some comments take me by surprise.