“What did you do to yourself?”
That was the first thing the saleswoman at the dress shop said to me before she even said hello. I was taken aback by her question. My good friend realized this and started to answer, “Nothing …” Then I gained my composure: “Nothing, I was just born this way.” The question really threw me, and that was the only response I could come up with.
It was the first time I was wearing shorts with my ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs). I also had my folding cane since we walked to the dress shop and around the town. Wearing shorts was a difficult decision because I knew people would see the AFOs. I was not so sure I was ready for the stares and comments. I certainly wasn’t expecting one like that. I do not think she meant any harm by her question, and I want to believe it was coming from a good place. I want to. But part of me feels it was an inappropriate thing for an adult to say.
I survived that uncomfortable incident, but it took me a while to wear shorts again. I do not feel good about having to wear the AFOs as it is. It is just something I need to deal with, and having people stare or ask questions like that makes it harder. I know a few people with AFOs who never wear shorts or skirts because of that.
I recently decided that I was going to wear shorts anyway because, honestly, it has been around 100 degrees. I am not going to suffer because some people do not have enough sense not to make others feel bad about themselves. I have started to wear some of my cute, short summer dresses. It is hot, and I should be able to be to be comfortable. I also discovered the joy of a maxi skirt! They are so comfortable and easy to wear! I love them!
From the incident in the dress shop, I realized that people are going to say or do things that make me uncomfortable, but I get to choose how to react to it. I decide how it makes me feel and how I want to handle it. It is OK just to smile and give a short but polite answer. It is also OK to smile then walk away. It is OK to dress how you feel comfortable and not worry about what others will think.
Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?