Please stop staring
Please stop staring at me.
I know you’re just a child, clearly you don’t know any better, yet why don’t your parents say something? I could try to be polite, I should try to be polite, after all I am the adult and you the child, but I tired of this cycle. I’m tired of being on the receiving end of quiet whispers that are far from subtle. I’m tired of the obnoxious and rude attempts to reposition where you are standing to get a better look. Do you really think you are being less rude by acting the way you are acting than by simple asking me a question?
And what is wrong with your parents, for that matter? You have tugged on their sleeve 7 times already and have whispered in their ear each time. I don’t speak your language, but there is no doubt about the content of your comments. The incessant pointing kind of gives it away.
Yes, my hand is different, but it’s not mutant. In fact, you look as different to me as my hand does from you. Your language is different. Your culture and style of dress are different. And yet my children and not staring at you. My children are not poking at my side, trying desperately to be my attention so they can point at you and ask me, “Why does she dress like that mommy, and what is with her hair, and why doesn’t she speak English?” They are not doing that to you, so why do you stare so intently and so rudely at me?
6 thoughts on “Please stop staring”
Having Poland syndrome can be a challenge on a good day! I hear you. It’s hard to sort out what’s appropriate sometimes but you have a right to your feelings about being stared at. There were days (I have a small webbed hand with no fingers & a tiny thumb, a shortened small forearm Etc) that I want to snap at folks who stare or act as though I may give them a horrible disease if gotten too close to! I’ve been laughed at & mocked, & though I usually can take it in stride, on rare occasion I can’t be sweet nor helpful. Anyone who criticizes that is not being honest with themselves! Would yu, or do you, always respond to rudeness with kindness? And are your feelings always so easy to control? Probably not. We deserve the same patience as the startled observer. After all, we must be faced with the others reactions on a constant unrelenting basis. So if kindness or a measured response is what we prefer, aiming for a good 85% or more in the positive column is a fine record. Maybe even better! But be nice to yourself on the days, or time, that u wish u had done better. We are not robots. As much as we would like it to not be true, it’s personal, not always being easy to shake off. I understand. Many of us do. Thank you for your honest sharing!
Thanks for the encouragement!
As a person without my left arm, I understand your frustration. But I think you are focusing your energies in the wrong place and this post is very ill conceived. You are talking about children who have all the right to be curious, and ask questions, and unfortunately for us: stare. And that whole rant about the child being an immigrant, totally unnecessary. I’m an immigrant myself and I feel that comment is out of line.
I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. Sorry it has taken so long for me to reply.
Children are curious; but I would contend that when their curiosity becomes rudeness, they have crossed the line; it’s the parents that need to explain those lines. There is no universal right to be rude and inconsiderate.
I have four children; inquisitive and curious children. I would never allow any of them to behave in the way that little girl did. As for commenting about her not being American; I actually don’t think they were immigrants. I believe they were visiting from their country to consider the school, so they have no legal status at all in America. But that is irrelevant. The reason I mentioned any of that was because that same “right to curiosity” that even you mentioned doesn’t seem to go both ways. The way the dressed was very different from me and my family, their language was different. Staring at them, making comments about them to my children or from my children to me, aren’t under an umbrella of curiosity; that is in the arena of rudeness. If the motive was curiosity, then I’d encourage my child (or do so myself) ask about their background, their culture, their country, etc. Staring, whispering isn’t curiosity, and I think if we behaved in that way towards them, we’d be deemed as rude, among other things. Yet why is it acceptable for that behavior to go the other way.
Also as my article said, I don’t know that I handled it in the best way possible. Yet it was an honest account of what transpired. It wasn’t a treatise on how to respond to staring eyes, but an article specifically for parents more than any other group, to give them a glimpse at how their child will likely feel at some point. As for misplaced energies: any energy that helps to equip parents to understand and parent their differently-abled child is an energy well spent.
Thanks again for reading!
Hi my grand daughter has Poland syndrome. She is 4 and is such a cutie pie. Glad to “meet” you.
Glad to “meet” you as well! Thanks for reading.