A few years ago I had to undergo surgery on the joint of my right big toe. A few years after that, I had a second surgery where an implant was inserted to aid said joint. The implant failed. This left me with a stiff toe, a lot of pain and great difficulty in any kind of exercise that involves toe movement, such as walking. And this is permanent.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was on the bus on my way to meet some friends. I was sitting nice and quietly by the window wearing my mask, like a good girl. Out of nowhere, a lady comes up to me and tells me I should get up so that someone less able to stand could sit.
For a split second, I thought about getting up in order to 'do the right thing' and allow this gentleman to take my seat. But then I thought to myself, I AM one of the less able to stand. I have every right to be seated and I don't have to explain why. So I decided to speak up.
I looked the lady straight in the eye and told her she shouldn't jump to conclusions. She shouldn't dictate who can sit and who cannot. I told her that some disabilities or impairments are hidden. Lastly, I said that it was my right to be seated and I shouldn't have to explain or apologise for it just because I didn't have an obvious disability.
And then there was silence. Nobody said anything. I guess everybody was processing what I said. And this was my goal, to allow people to process their thoughts before they speak.
So next time you find yourself making a quick judgement, allow yourself time to process the situation. Question your decision and challenge your thought. This way, maybe you will allow yourself to see things from a different perspective.