I’m sat here broken and sobbing.
I just had one of the most humiliating experiences a person can have, and the worst part?
It won’t be the last time.
It’s a sunny Tuesday afternoon. I’ve just had my hair done for the first time in a year; my boyfriend arrives tomorrow and we are off on holiday with the family at the weekend. I’m smiling, and excited as I park my van near my daughters school, ready to collect my children. In the playground Mums and Nans tell me how great it is to see me, and how good I’m looking after a week or so off the radar, poorly. It’s quite lovely, and their kindness and words mean the world to me, when I have been feeling so low.
I collect my youngest two, and meander back to the car, noticing a traffic cone on the pavement blocking my drivers door. That’s weird I think, while struggling to lift and strap my three year old into her car seat on the road side. I become vaguely aware that a woman is ranting to her daughter”… Fucking unbelievable. Who does she think she is?” I continue trying to coerce my monkey into her straps (I can’t physically do it without her cooperation) …”there’s fuck all wrong with her, people are so fucking lazy. what the hell is she doing parking outside my house, and could she get any fucking closer to my car!”
Shit. She is talking about me.
I look up and she’s standing 5 feet away from me, glaring at me with such venom, while continuing to rant to her obviously uncomfortable 20 year old daughter, who is strapping her own toddler into a pushchair.
My recently potty trained daughter then, with impeccable timing, decides to have her first accident “oh no mummy wee is coming out”. I continue to ignore the irate woman, now mortified and bright red, and release my daughter from her belt and pop her by my van wheel to sort her out. “Now her fucking kid is gonna piss on my car, unbelievable!!”
My daughter doesn’t continue to wee, as she now notices the woman and becomes totally embarrassed. I tell the woman “she’s potty training”, clean her up and strap her back in. I then walk back slowly around to the driver door, remove the cone blocking it, that I now realise was put there by the woman, and try to get in.
“You’d better not reverse into my bloody car!”
My van is a foot away. I am an excellent driver and manoeuvre my van with great skill. In twenty years driving I’m yet to dink anyone, or anything.
“I have to drive an automatic, it won’t roll back” I mumble, now fighting back the tears, trying to retain some shred of dignity as I drive off (without hitting her car).
I get around the corner, pull over and burst into tears.
A million things I should of said flood my mind. Why didn’t I explain that I need to park there, and point to the parking pass, and blue badge on my dash board? Why did I just stand there and take that abuse in front of my children, when I should have stood up for myself? Why didn’t I say anything, literally anything to defend myself?
In that moment I felt shamed, frustrated, humiliated, and like I am still fighting a battle I can never win.
I don’t look sick.
I don’t look disabled.
I am a fraud.
I have had people challenge me for parking in blue badge spaces before, but never with such venom. The irony is that anyone could have parked where I did on the street. It was a safe, legal, free space. It’s only due to congestion that people are asked not to park on the street unless they need to, by the school. There is no law being broken and no safety being risked, by any single road tax paying driver parking in the space I chose to park in.
People need to see the profound impact that such ignorance has on the individual. It’s beyond hurtful and humiliating to have some one shouting at you that you are lazy and fake, when actually every god damn day of your life is a battle. I experience pain and limitations that most people thankfully will not in their lifetime. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
It is fucking shit.
I have to fight for every god dam thing.
To live. For money. For my sanity. To stay strong. To be the best mama can be. To get up. To do the god damn dishes.
The fact that I choose to fight with a smile on my face, and joy in my soul, should be something to be celebrated, not something I should be publically shamed for.
So this one is for all the ignorant idiots out there. Shame on you. This is how you make a person feel when you make judgments of them without having a clue about their life:
I hope that face becomes etched in your mind, so the next time you loudly proclaim someone doesn’t look ill or sick or disabled, without having any idea of their private battles, you stop yourself. Instead smile, and continue going about your business, as I am mine.
This is me fighting back.
I am not ashamed.
And if this post exposing me at my most vulnerable, protects someone like me in the future?
Then love conquers hate.
Hope beats fear.
Kindness and compassion wins.