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jberna

The People Who Stare

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I have only been wearing shorts for a few weeks now, and have my temp (bionic) leg on proudly....but have made an observation, wondered if it is true for others....since I have such a limited sampling here.

I have noticed that OVERWHELMINGLY it is the 15-20 year old GIRLS who stare the most.....most people have been great, glance down, get a *recognition* face, then move on. But I have had SO many late teen girls just be plain rude in the stare down they give me. I dont CARE, think it makes THEM look bad, no class. Example.....I walk in to my sons preschool every day, to pick him up. Through a big group of teachers/parents/kids, waiting for busses......I walked in yesterday and there was a girl there, this age group, who LOCKED her eyes on my leg and stared it down the WHOLE time I was in the lobby...just embarassingly so, for HER...SO rude and obvious. I was dying to say, "take a picture honey, it will last longer"...but held my tongue. Just thought about it later, in the car.....and thought, "if she had a large nose, or large breasts....and walked in a room, and I stared that body part down like she did my leg, she would be FURIOUS....so why is it okay for her to do that to me?"......

Any thoughts on that. Again, it doesnt bother me. I LOVE my leg...it gives me the life I always dreamed of....but I cant believe the rude stares of some people....is it because that generation was not taught manners? Or that they are just so into "looks" that it bugs them for someone to dare to be different? Anyone else have problems with a certain age group?

Judy

LBK

Utah

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Hi Judy

YES it is ignoranceand I'm sorry to say, just treat it with the derogatory contempt it deserves

Keith :rolleyes:

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HI Judy

Sorry it's Keith again and now I'm a bi-lateral and when I get my other leg I shall definitely be wearing shorts this summer and I don't give a jot about anybody looking c'os I shall be PROUD to walk again OK July take care and loads of luck Keith :P

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I haven't had my amputation as of yet but experience the same when I'm in my wheelchair....

To be blunt....I stare back! (Sometimes I stick my tongue out!...LOL) When I do they realize that they are making fools of themselves, hold their head down and look generally embarassed!

In My opinion....serves them right!

My Husband has pulled into handicapped parking...and people look long and hard at a truck that has the compaines logo on it (air conditiong company) and then see him bring a wheelchair round for me to get in....

My opinion? They have a problem and need to get over it!

All they have to do (and many have!) is ask me what's wrong and why I am in a chair.

I am more than happy to tell them and then we both feel better!

Don't let it get you down! I look at it as some people don't have any manners, or that they were never taught that someone with a disability can ACTUALLY see them...

In my opion it's just that they haven't had PROPER education that folks like us are actually around!

Regards,

JanetDD

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I have found that there are several different types of people who stare .

First there are the little children who do so only out of curiosity and that I don't mind so much . What I HATE is when the parents tell them DON'T LOOK andn hurry them away .

Then there are the teen girls who are well teens I guess and are not sure what to make of all this . Some stare some say funny things .

Then there are thee ones who stare and when you turn around and ctach them , they turn fifteen different shades of red and try real hard to pretend that nothing is going on . I did have one guy do that to me one time and I turned around and told him that an aligator bit it off . I asked him if he wanted to see the teeth marks . That was worth another 20 MORE shades of red . These are the ones I HATE .

I think it's hard enough for me to try and deal with now let alone a bunch of people who for some reason need that longer look . I think the next person I catch staring , I will tell that person that I went to a monster truck race and was eaten by the biggest monster there .

mj

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I have been stared at my whole life and to be honest it used to bother me especially in my teen years. I have noticed especially now that I get stared at by the little guys around the ages of 3 to 6 more then any other. I think part of it is because they have never seen someone with a cool looking leg like I have.. :P

Let me go back to when I was younger. My mom once told me that she thought people stared as the felt sorry for me until they saw how active I was. This was mostly from adults. The kids my age stared until they realized that I was just like them except that I wore a leg to help me walk/run and play like they could. Some where mean and called me things like pegleg, cripple and the like :angry: . This caused me to have low self esteem but that was all fixed a few years ago now I hold my head up high as I'm who I am and I can't change any of it. I wouldn't want to anyway because my family was great to me and never made me feel any less a person. Now look at me I'm a star athlete. :P

Now when young kids stare I let them and I also try to explain it so they will understand and maybe they won't stare at someone who is different in the future.

My husband is really funny when people stare at me he'll turn his foot in and start dragging it and limping really bad. The person staring at me will quit and look away as he turned the attention to himself. :blink: He's a funny guy and I love him...

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Yes....stares. I think it's mostly people, whatever age group, who are insecure in themselves that find it necessary to :angry: (yes stare) And isn't that mainly the 15-20 year old female squad?

I believe it also has a lot to do with upbringing and education. Basic manners in dealing with any social situation in life...unfortunately not too widespread amoung the young 'uns these days...

I've noticed that if i walk confidently with my head up...the stares are few. If i look down and show vulnarability it attracts the stares :blink:

It has a lot to do with your 'acceptance' of your situation. If you are comfortable with yourself, the whole world can :huh: ....and you don't even see it as you're too busy enjoying life!

cheers K.

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Sorry about the second reply but I forgot to say something in the original reply .

What I REALLY , REALLY hate is when I got shopping for a dress or skirt or shoes and get these really funny looks from the sales people . I did smartass-ingly ask one sales person a while back if I get my shoes at half price . I was sure I can hear a pin drop with that one .

mj

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The stares don't really bother me. I've just learned to tune them out. In fact, usually my hubby will say, did you see that person looking at you or something of that nature and I will have no clue. Honestly, I think it's just human nature. I find myself looking at people that would be considered "out of the ordinary" so why should anybody else be different? I would really have other people look and ask questions rather than assume something. My thought would be, the next time you see someone blatantly staring at you just smile at them and say hello. Who knows, maybe that will strike up a conversation and you can help educate someone. :)

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I was on holiday in Spain about 6 weeks ago. On the coach journey and on arrival there were about a dozen men and women of pension age using walking sticks, getting the driver and courier to carry their luggage. When I arrived I was wearing my leg, after checking in, my wife and I went to our room and I removed my leg; it was getting painful. Later we went to the bar, my leg was still aching so I used my wheelchair.

In the bar several of the 'pensioners' were getting other people to go to the bar for them. When we got to the bar, they more than most, not only stared at me, but their stares were accompanied by the look of disgust.

My wife noticed this as well. I just ignored them.

A couple of days later we were sitting at a bar by the waterfront and several of the pensioners strolled by, no walking sticks, no obvious mobility problems. And yet they 'hobbled' about in the hotel getting people to get things for them. In the retsaunt there were several tables 'reserved' for disabled (wheelchair users) with 'reserved for disabled' notices on them. Of course the 'pensioners' had taken those tables, which made it very difficult for me and the waiters to find a suitable table. After a couple of days the management told the 'pensioners' not to use the 'reserved for disabled' tables.

The 'disgusted stares' I got from them was amazing. A couple of them even hired wheelchairs. But wasted their money because they couldn't use them properly. And everyone else had 'seen' through them, so nobody would push them.

Overall, my experiences lead me to believe it is the people of pension age and above stare at me the most.

Best regards

Steve

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Comment from Singapore,

In here, the most uncivilised stares come from Chinese females of 35 - 60 age group whose appearance reveals that they are not very well educated. These people cannot resist from staring a while longer and if they come in two's or more, then they begin to talk about you in there own language that can last about ten minutes. They also make revealing gestures during their conversation. I experience this often when I travel in MRT train (underground train), where you see these ladies face to face as you sit on opposite sides of the car. These are the very same people who rush to secure a seat in public transport, ignoring pregnant ladies, elderly and disabled. Not that I need their seat myself, I am only a LBK amputee who can stand on his legs better than they can on theirs, but they simply lack of considerate behaviour.

The rest of the stares are innocent, from children who are rightfully curious as they grow or just glances from adults who do not make a point of what they see. Sometimes I get friendly comments from males of 40 - 70 age group who are amazed of seeing an amputee cycling in full gear like a pro.

I have not noticed any stares coming from teenagers of Singapore. Teens here are now better exposed to accept differences in people thanks to Governments efforts to enforce racial and cultural harmony as well as acceptance of disabled. However I worry about media forcing anglosaxon influence on our teens, which I can see as very, very detrimental.

I do not want to blame these staring ladies on their absence of manners, but their uneducated/ non-exposed background. Singapore's today's population is much made of migrants and younger the migration, less the exposure to other races & cultures of Singapore. That makes them inferiour and they remain in their own familiar shell, which does not promote acceptance of anything different or of learning anything new to them.

So why to bother of any stares, they are either innocent or at least you can feel good to possess more grey matter than those who stare hard at you and your man-made leg. Being bothered is just an indication of our own immaturity.

I try to remember the following old wisdom if I am hit by a feeling of irritation from anyone staring at my leg:

The one who is pointing his finger at another has three of his fingers pointing at himself.

Jukka

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Staring did bother me at first, until I finally came to the conclusion, that so long as my husband is willing to be seen in public with me, then what other people think doesn't matter. I am proud of myself and he's proud of me and that to me is the most important thing. He says, " I'd rather been seen with your loss, than to be seen with what some have gained"!! :lol: Oh well...

I find small children are mostly inquisitive, which is understandable. Once they know that it's nothing to be afraid of they seem to be fine. I agree some of it may be due to human nature to look, but not to STARE. That to me is just plain rude and shows one's ignorance. What really gets to me is when your going through a door, such as the Mall, etc. and someone else opens the door, just as you were going through, they grab the childs hand and step back like you have a disease or something. True, there are some really nice people out there, who are only just trying to be polite and want to help you, and for that, I thank them. To the others I say, " lighten up, we're harmless."

I don't believe staring is something one will ever get accustom to, but instead has/should learn to rise above it. I've been pretty much stared at since my early 20's..... just a few years back. :lol: I have psoriasis, that perhaps many of you aren't familiar with, but it's a chronic skin disease that can cause you to have really bad sores all over your body. Therefore causing many people to look/stare and wonder what I had, which I again can understand to a point. However, I honestly had a person say to me once, " I'd rather shoot myself, than to look like that". I in return said, " that's strange, I'd rather live, than to waste my life over the likes of you." I always wore long sleeves and pants, even in the summer, to get away from the stares and the remarks, I got over those stares, only to be subjected to more due to the amputation. Only now I say, never again, for anyone, anywhere!! :P I realize there's some awful rude/ignorant people out there, but to let them dictate my life, is a form of controlling me and that's certainly NOT what I'm about, just asks my husband! :lol: The way I see it is, you don't have to earn anyone's stamp of approval, so long as you approve of yourself. ;)

Sheila, LBK

Maine- USA

Keep Smiling :)

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I was getting on a lift last week and this kid ahead of me in line was staring at my leg over his sholder. He was staring so intently that he skied right into the chair!

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I am still using my wheelchair at present and i am so busy looking out for any obsticals in the way that i don`t really think about who is staring at me. If i am with a friend they have told me that the odd person has been staring with a look that seems to say ahh what a pity!, i am glad i don`t notice as i don`t want pity. Even friends i have seen since i have had my op started the conversation with "oh you poor thing or oh i am so sorry", I tell them not to be cos i certainly am not. I then explain that i decided that amputation was the best way forward for me to get my life back on track. I was in terrible pain before now i am not.

Before my op my leg was scarred from top to bottom,very vivid scars they were, from 2 previous operations to replace my main artery, if i wore shorts or when i went swimming people did stare but i never let it bother me.

I also have a scar on the right side of my back, i had to have a tumour removed 3 years ago. Just before this op i went and had a dolphin tatooed on the left side. If anyone comments i just say look at the dolphin if you don`t like the scar.

At the end of the day each scar represents a time in my life when things were wrong inside and have now been put right, they saved my life, i wouldn`t be here without them. :)

I believe that most people stare out of curiosity, it would be better if they asked questions but then we would never get anywhere for people stopping to ask.

Lesley xxx

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Guest lyinhart

Hi, the newbie again...... putting in my 198 cents worth (it IS 2004, isn't it?).....

I remember (in the 1950's) the way people used to stare at the mentally disabled people (they had worse words for them back then). I often get that same look today and I'm only a LBKA. Some of them take their children by the shoulder and put themselves in between their little ones and me as if my amputation is contagious. I just shake my head at those because, even more often than that, I get good vibes from everyone else around me. I've been told I have the best outlook my doctors and prosthesist have ever seen...... what else can one do but have fun with whatever they're dealt.

Richard

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I have been an AKA amputee for 23 years.I am a non user and People stared at me with or without a prosthetic. Of course it is more pronounced without wearing one but I have no choice but to use crtutches .Now I live a MUCH happier life without the constant agony and pressure to endure the agony to wear a prosth.

23 years later still I think other peoples reactions are the second toughest part to adjust to for you and YOUR LOVED ONES.(They want to protect you, and I have a real tough time with my dates who get very offended and want to strike back. I tell the them you can't protect me from the whole world. Two of my boyfriends straight out asked me to wear my leg despite how painfull it was becaue they were uncomfortable with the stares. sometimes I would oblige them and pay for it later, not anymore (IT's not easy dating and being disabled)

The Generational tendencies that you have noticed are due I THINK to

to a lack of awareness, and the focus on the pefect body in the media, and a lack of education by their parents.(But many times you are the first amp the parents have ever seen In third world countries that have experienced life with land mines during and after war, I would be a common site. (Since most of them cannot even imaging wearing a well fitted leg with an expensive cosmetic cover)But thanks to the current Presidential Administration those 15 to 20 year olds will be meeting many more soon, about a thousand of them soon.

Please don't get me wrong folks, but we western amputees live a PRIVILGed life.

I have also come to realize that people who stare are both in shock and trying to pictue themselves/their daughter/lover /sister etc in your place and they freak out.

It is a the first toime they realize thah it could possibly happen and that is something that most have never thought about,just as most of us don't consider cancer on a day to day basis.

On a wierd note, when I go to the hospital (no prosthetic) I can pick out all of the diabetics, they stare with fear and they always ask me the Question???

I am not sure about the rest of you but seeing my stump took a whole LOT of getting used to, and I still am taken aback when I see another amputee without a leg. Nobody likes to be reminded of their physical image. Because just like on day one, when we strugled to look at the stump, they are struggling, it is a little overwhelming and I think in most cases they are NOT AWARE of how rude they are being.

Being stared at comes with the devils bargain, your life was saved (Just 30 years ago some of us would not be alive) it sucks but it is part of it. Why waste your precious time ans energy getting upset about it. We must face the fact THAT WE DO LOOK DIFFERENT, why not make a postivie impression. Since on a an idividual basis we represent a goup, I guess I think that we should take the high road and ignore them and LIVE THE MOST PRODUCTIVE LIFE YOU CAN. Thier reaction is Their problem not yours. You can only controll your reaction.

Unique no more

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VERY well put! :)

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I totasly agree with Kaz , waaaay greatnessingly put .

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Unique, I too agree we western amputees are very fortunate for the care and the prosthetics that are available to us. We really are privileged in many ways and I for one am so thankful to have been born in this wonderful country where I live. :D

I think people who stare are rude and ignorant, rather it be at an amp or any other physically challenged person. It's only natural that people will look, NO PROBLEM and for the most part, I find that's what they do. But for those ones who want to stare, in my opinion, have the problem not us. You are absolutely correct in saying, take the high road and live the most productive lives we can. It's such good advice Unique, thank you.

Sheila lbk

Maine USA

Keep Smiling :)

First live your life as you want it to be, second as an amputee.

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It is amazing the turn that our lives take sometimes. Before my amputation I always tried very hard to blend in, not stand out in a crowd. In college classes I would make sure and be there early and leave at the very end, seems odd looking back on it now.

Now, after the amputation, I have people looking at me all the time. I work at a place where I am in front of people almost every day and enjoy it. It has surprised me how the people that I work with still stare at my leg. I have not worn a dress or shorts yet, so it's just the pants or jeans that they're looking at. I would have thought people would have been tired of it by now.

Most of the time it doesn't bother me. I'm just glad to be walking. I look forward to wearing shorts next summer so I can show off my prosthesis. I have it covered in cool fabric with blue sky, stars and the moon. My next one will be covered with happy faces.

Besides the positive side of walking, my amputation has forced me to come out of a shell that was self imposed. I am amazed now that I wear bright suits and don't really care what anyone thinks. I am just thankful for each step.

Caroln

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I don't mind the stares...I consider it a compliment that I am so MESMERIZING that people are put under my spell, and can't take their eyes off me :D !!!!

On a more serious note...I also hate the parents that say"don't stare, come on lets go". Kids need to be able to ask questions and get information if there is any hope in them growing up to be sensitive and caring instead of hot head jerks.

I say, LET THEM STARE...You know deep down, you are gorgeous and unique. Find that spot...NO MATTER HOW SMALL...and go with it. I quite enjoy the fact that I know I am beautiful and people stare...I love the attention.

It's kinda like....even bad publicity is publicity.

:rolleyes:

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Let people look i say . I'm a survicver and i made it . I am beautifull inside and outside too .

( not intended as a comment to suggest that i am sefl centered but to say that i FEEL wonderfull and hope it shopws ) does this amke sence ?

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YES, perfectly :)

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Josh gets more than his fair share of "stare bears" as we call them.We find most of our stare bears at the shops or sporting venues outside of our own suburb.Josh has several reactions to the different age groups,but it rarely upsets him.

Josh has a plexiform tumor in his eyelid which causes more stares than his leg.

On the odd occasion when I have had enough of people staring or when a cruel child has a great long stare then goes and gets his friends to come and have a look I have found it very effective to suddenly say "Boo" in a loud voice.This generally sends them packing.

Debbie

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Yes MJ, you are beautiful inside and out, and that makes a whole lot of sense to me. Small_rainbow.gif

Debbie that's a good name for them, 'Stare Bears'!! I guess they just can't be avoided, no matter where in the world you live. I think at first it probably bothers most anyone, but as time passes, you learn to deal with the 'Stare Bears' and for the most part ignore them or even better do what you suggested, just say BOO and send them running!!! mouse.gif

Sheila lbk

Maine USA

Keep Smiling :)

First, live your life the way you want it to be, second as an amputee.

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