There were probably fifteen of us in the movie theater waiting for Looper to start when this pre-trailers commercial came on:
Immediately, I got self-conscious. I felt like everyone was looking at me. “Hey, that guy sitting there has one arm, too! He must love this commercial! I wonder if they’re friends?!” they were most likely thinking. Then, just like that, thirty seconds went by and it was over. Onto the next commercial. Mr. Derelian was a flash and then gone (though you can also see him in Forrest Gump). And I can guarantee you one thing:
None of the people in that theater were thinking about me.
That said, it got me wondering about whether or not this was just a “me thing,” or if other people react this way? Like, what about someone in a wheelchair? Do they glance around to see who’s looking at them when “one of their own” comes on the screen? I mean, I got so caught-up that I didn’t even remember what the commercial was for. I actually called the theater later that night and asked a manager if he could find out for me!
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that I’d react the way I did in the theater. I’ve positioned myself as the “guy with one hand,” so it’s already in my head. If you have a noticeable difference in your life, even if it’s just noticeable to you, you might feel the same way in these situations.
So, I ask you…do you ever have these moments? I’d love to hear about your experience!
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I’ve definitely done that with my daughter. I sense myself stiffening and feeling like all eyes are on her, and they’re usually not….. Although when they are, it’s usually because she’s being goofy and doing something to weird people out with her pokey arm! (Or that she’s adopted from China and with sisters people think they’re triplets b/c they dress alike all.the.time.)
Love your blog. Grace likes watching your videos. I like having your perspective to help me parent her. Thanks!
My difference isn’t physically noticeable, but with my being deaf in 1 ear and wearing a hearing aid in the other, every time I don’t hear what was said and have to ask “what” I feel insanely self conscious. But I’m pretty sure it’s because I want to strangle people who when I do say “what?” reply “WHAT” loudly in a manner of mockery. In the past I actually threatened a couple people with physical violence for doing such. I’ve found it much more effective to explain how it bothers me or to say “If you were attempting to hurt my feelings, you have been succeeded.”
BTW, now I think I feel like a jerk for saying you should watch the new Spider-man movie. Hope I didn’t offend you.
Hi, my 14 year old daughter was born with a limb deficiency that resembles your arm, almost identical I must say. My daughter has those moments all the time, especially in high school, which is rough! She gets self concious and feels everyone is looking at her, especially when they watched soul surfer in class. She automatically looks a around to see who’s watching her, it’s such a normal reaction, just like if your overweight and stuff on tv is posted about “fat” people, it’s the same reaction! God Bless:)
Ryan: There are two things that people generally share with me on Facebook: Articles about people with limb differences and articles about suicide prevention. Sure, they may think of me as the lady who has a daughter who’s missing fingers and who lost her brother to suicide. But I am glad they make the association … I think of it more as I am doing my job raising awareness for two things that mean a great deal to me.
I feel this way every single time there is someone with a limb difference onscreen or if there’s a random person with a limb difference by me. I get especially nervous when I’m with someone I’m not too comfortable talking about my disability with, like my parents. I’ll get all embarrassed and feel like everyone is thinking about me whenever they see someone with the same kind of arm as me.