Look Different? Advice From Maddy

I'd much rather someone asked me about my crutch, my bald head and my other "strange" looks than the stares I get. I don't like walking down the street bald, or even wearing a scarf sometimes. I prefer to wear a hat. But when I do, people comment on my appearance. The worst reactions I get are from girls about my age --
  • "Who does she think she is?"
  • "What does she think, life is a soap opera?" 
People seem to think that sick or disabled people should stay in their homes and not go out and make other people feel uncomfortable or awkward. We should be sweet and submissive and passive. Most of all we should not have lives!

It's time to take action! Go outside without your hat or wig or scarf on your bald head! Paint a design or put a temporary tattoo on it! Wear midriff tops and shorts so the world can see your scars! Decorate your wheelchair in bright colours so NO ONE can possibly miss it! Be loud in public! Go dancing! Show the whole world that we will not go quietly into that good night! Show them that we choose to be strong and to live and to be ourselves! We are not victims! Show them what living is all about!

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
   Associate Professor of Nursing, Fairfield University
Fairfield, Connecticut 06430

Last updated: May 21, 2000