I had an opinion. And it upset me.
This is odd because I have opinions about everything. But this time it bothered me.
The bar had a patio and it was a nice evening so we took our drinks outside. It was nice to relax and just sit and chat. Then I saw her. Right across from me. Knocking back a beer with ease and efficency. Then she picked up a cigarette and took a long drag stubbing it out in the ashtray when she was done.
Except I'd never seen it before.
She had Down Syndrome and she was having a helluva time. She was with two other people, one of them obviously her boyfriend. They were partying. I did what I condemn in others. I stared. I couldn't take my eyes off the group. I figured that her boyfriend also had a disability but that the other guy did not.
Another round of drinks arrived at their table and she picked up her pack of smokes knocked one out and lit it quickly. In shock I realized that I had never, ever seen someone with Down Syndrome smoke. Or drink beer in a bar.
Never. And I've been in a lot of bars.
I tried to distract myself with chatter buy my eyes kept going back to that damn table. She was getting drunk for heaven's sake. She had that slurr of words that I've heard all to often coming out of my own mouth.
It bothered me. Weird. I've fought for the right for people with disabilities to grow up and become sexual beings. But somehow drinking and smoking just weren't really part of the equation.
I'm a hypocrite.
But I'm dealing with this. I realize that I have no right to an opinion over another person living their life fully in the community. None. The fact that I had 'caregiver brain' watching her pound back the beer and tuck into a couple of shooters while smoking a wack of cigarettes is just part of my heritage. That 'I know best' mantra that we all bring into this field.
Sometimes it's just none of my business.
Sometimes an opinion is really just prejudice.
Sometimes it's me that needs to be challenged and change.