Saturday, October 4, 2008
Which is better, being uncomfortably connected or contentendly detached?
I realized just the other day how awkward I can feel when I'm with handicapped or disabled people, especially those I do not know. It's not like other people can notice this, but I feel tension increasing within me when I'm with people who are physically very different.
For example, in my sociology class, there is a midget/ dwarf; he is the first dwarf that I can remember being in a group with. In our 50-minute class, however, most students don't interact, and besides, the littler guy usually sits towards the back of the classroom. The first time I realized there was a midget in the room I was afraid to turn around and check the situation out because I didn't want him to think I was staring. I mean, I'm sure he is used to being stared at, but it doesn't feel good to be paid attention to solely because of physical differences. At the same time, my instinct was a natural one. These are the types of conflicts I have sometimes, but I have come to understand the universality of human emotions, so I know that I am not alone in this instance and in others (and neither are you).
Another instance: I was filing into a small plane on my recent trip back to Charleston and there was a passenger guiding a physically handicapped woman towards the seats they were to occupy in the front. The handicapped person used some sort of device and was going very slowly, holding up the other 1o or so passengers that wanted to get through. The woman who was guiding her friend that was handicapped said something like, "Come on, keep going, it's not that difficult." She was neither malicious nor placating, but I felt uncomfortable watching the scene because I could imagine the slower woman feeling like it actually was difficult and the other woman, nor the other passengers, would understand. She also may have felt uncomfortable at being watched as she struggled.
Fine, this post is not exactly of journalistic quality, but it certainly feels good to be honest. I want other people (yes, I know that there are only a few people reading this so far!) to realize that it's okay for them to feel uncomfortable in situations in which they are somehow superior (in my instances I was physically superior) as it indicates that they are attuned to other people's emotions. Remember, it's fine to be alone sometimes, but connectedness is really the key to a satisfying life.