Today, I was reminded of a time in my life that enabled me to see just how discriminatory people can be. I ran into a Dollar Tree to pick up some table cloths for the weekend. At first, I wasn’t going to go because I was already running so late on time. But, in an effort to overcome my procrastination I decided to risk being even later – for my son’s school bus, which was to arrive at my house within minutes. I ran in, grabbed the tablecloths and ran to the checkout lane where I noticed the lady in front had an overflowing shopping cart of groceries.
Right as I began to get anxious and fearful of missing my son’s bus, I was quickly distracted by the young girl in front of me. She held in her hand two pregnancy tests. I watched her for a moment, thinking that she looked fairly young to be having a baby. But, then I recalled how when I was pregnant with my son people used to stare at me like I had some sort of horrific contagious plague. Yes, I was young. 18 to be exact. But, I looked much younger or at least that’s the impression I got by the facial expressions of those who observed me.
What they didn’t know was that I had gotten married right out of high school and my son was a planned pregnancy which occurred months after our wedding. I had done everything in the proper order and it baffled me how people could be so judgmental, especially without even knowing me. I dreaded going out in public and I won’t deny that these people really tested my patience. Of course, it didn’t get any easier after I had my son. It became worse actually, because then I was the “little girl” with a newborn.
The girl today buying the pregnancy test reminded me of myself at her age. Maybe she had been promiscuous and today was a terrifying day for her. Or maybe she was in love with her one and only. Perhaps even married to him. This is something I’ll never know, but no matter what the situation may be for her I hope that she doesn’t have to endure the same discrimination that I did with my son.
I personally do not believe that there is ever a good time to stare at someone, especially when you don’t know their situation. It effects them much more than you realize.
Have you ever been discriminated against?
I was divorced and raising three children on my own. People would stare when I had to stand in line at the welfare office. Luckily, I didn’t have to receive assistance or those looks very long.
You are so right. People judge others and it is not right.
Thank you for your comment. It’s sad that people feel such freedom to judge others, when they know that even their own lives need some fixing.
Thanks so much for sharing! What a beautiful example of how your life experience prepared you to love another human in a deep and meaningful way, sharing your compassion for her rather than resentment for what once happened to you. You sure handled that with courage and expansion.
Thank you so much for your comment. I believe that many times we must endure situations so that later down the road we can understand and be compassionate towards others who go through similar experiences.
I think I already left a comment. This is great. Good reminder for me.
Thank you. It’s a great reminder for all of us.
Not sure exactly how I ended up here, but the title captivated me straight away. I suppose it depends on the reason people are looking at you, but it’s very true how often misunderstandings crop up from such situations.
I’ve suffered from acne since I was ten, and I’ll never forget the child on the bus who asked me if I had chicken pox, or when his mother gave me an anxious look and pulled him down the other end of the bus as if she thought I was contagious. I don’t blame either of them, but it didn’t pass without hurt.
The above comments are very true: it’s wonderful how your own experience allows you to make allowances for others. Thank you for the reminder – I’ll try not to stare even out of curiosity, if not judgement!
Lillian, thank you very much for stopping by and for your comment. I am sorry for how those people reacted to you. Moments like those seemingly stick with us forever. Your story saddens me because those types of reactions happen all too often. I don’t think that most people even realize what they are doing or how their response effects the other person. It can be difficult to not stare when we see things that we’re not used to seeing, such as deformities, scars, etc. However, I believe that our own experiences help us to have more compassion and also help us to be careful about how our actions towards others are perceived. Thank you again for your comment and I hope to see you around my blog more often. 🙂
That’s a very wise way of looking at things. If negative experiences make us better people simply through understanding, you’re proof of it.