You know what I would have done...
You know what you should have done ...
I was telling someone, someone I like, about getting on the elevator the other day and having a man, in a business suit, chat with me about the weather. Nice, I suppose. Except. EXCEPT. As he was wishing me a good day, he rubbed the back of my head. Really. Yikes. Joe looked startled. I was stunned into silence.
My friend said, 'You should have reached back and rubbed his crotch.
I was telling someone, someone I know, about being in line up at a deli counter and having a woman step right in front of me, pretending not to see me waiting there. I called out to her but suddenly she couldn't see me either. She ordered, got her stuff, stepped over me and went on her way.
The person I knew said, "You know what I would have done, I'd have run right into her, smashed her shins with the chair.
I was telling someone about going into a store, where I shop all the time, as do many other wheelchair users, and found that they'd blocked the entrance with a display. There was no possible entry.
Listener said, "You know what I'd have done, I'd have smashed through the barrier and gone about my shopping.
I'm bringing this forward for two reasons, first, none of the people who offered either outrageous or violent reactions would have done what they said. Not for a moment. They don't deal with their own stressors that way. Second, I always feel, after their advice about what they would have, I should have, or other could have done ... like they'd just be a way better disabled person than I am. That I'm a failure at even this.
I know they don't mean anything by it. But still, I can't find the support they are offering me in these answers. And I know they are offering support. Instead I feel, when trying to connect, really, really alone. In the end I I feel just hopeless - that there aren't any solutions so it's best to just joke.
And joking has a place.
Just not always.
Sometimes I just want someone to acknowledge the frustration, or the anger, or the sense of violation I sometimes have. That's it. Just a moment that lets me know I've been heard and understood.
In case you are wondering, I am not a whiner, though it may seem like it here. I only mention these things to friends when they really bother me - not every time they happen (I'd never stop). So I'm not a constant drag on their empathy. I think they think that by suggesting those strong reactions they are letting me know that they get it, but by offering those strong reactions, I know they don't.
So ... some guy rubbed the back of my head in the elevator ...
What would be the best response to say to someone who has just said that, I'd like to know, maybe I'm off base, maybe what my friends said is really OK ... over to you.