the insensitivity BLOWS ME AWAY

October 31, 2010

fair warning: this is a vent post.  i am just so appalled at the insensitivity of some people, and their boldness in making it known.

i was at the grocery store this week, with my sweet daughter … frantically grabbing a few groceries for our presentation the next day.  we were in the produce section, and maddie was getting some squash while i got the onions. i looked over and noticed the lady next to her was speaking to her … so i walked over. at that point, maddie walked toward me, her eyes filled with tears.

“what happened??”

maddie shared that the lady had asked her, “what is wrong with your face?

(( may i just stop here and take a few breaths because even as i write this, the feelings of mama-bear protectiveness nearly explode. ahhhh.

so, maddie is having allergies this week (major change in weather) which creates itchy, watery eyes.  add to that she had just returned from swim practice, and likely rubbed her itchy eyes after … which resulted in redness around her eyes. ))

i asked maddie what she said to the woman, and she told her, “i don’t know.” she was too embarrassed to tell her it was allergies.   i hugged and reassured my girl; reminded her that some people say things that are just silly and ridiculous, that are none of their business; that her face is fine and beautiful and and and … as much mama-reassurance that i could provide.

a few minutes later, the woman approached me and “apologized” but really, was just excusing her behavior. she said to me, “haven’t you ever done that – asked a kid what was wrong with them?”

i looked at her, as level as i could, and said, “i sure hope not.”

i don’t remember the rest of her rambling but i’d had enough; maddie was humiliated and i had no interest in this woman’s reasoning behind her actions.

NO, i hope that i would NEVER embarrass a child by asking them what was wrong, no matter if there was some obvious physical issue. NEVER. i can hardly imagine a scenario where i might speak to the parent, not the child .. but to go up to a strange child and humiliate them?!

so the story doesn’t end here. we finished our shopping and while we were checking out, maddie was helping bag groceries while i paid. the cashier looks up at me and asks, “is she wearing ghoulish makeup?”

oh my word.

“excuse me??”

she repeats her question and i, in an attempt to minimize the volume and conversation (hoping maddie can’t hear) tell the cashier that no, she is fine, she has allergies but is great. DONE.

as we leave the store, maddie asks, “what is ghoulish makeup, mama?”

at this point, my frustration and protective instincts are in overdrive and it is all i can do to not just lambaste the insensitivity that was just demonstrated by these women. instead, i say something about it being makeup to decorate one’s face and again reiterate that some people make poor decisions in what they say and that we can understand even more how it would feel to be stared at or handicapped  etc etc etc.

i don’t even remember what i said in any detail. i just know that i wrapped my girl up in my arms, reeling inside at the experience we just had.


5 Responses to “the insensitivity BLOWS ME AWAY”

  1. Jessica Krohn Says:

    Oh my Word! I am actually in tears right now after reading your post. My heart just hurts for both Maddie and you! Praise God that not everyone is that insensitive. I feel bad because I remember being Maddie’s age…it’s sort of an awkward time anyway…and to have thoughtless comments added on top of it is difficult.

    Madison IS beautiful! Period! Inside and out!

  2. Meredith Says:

    Poor Maddie! I know just how she feels…my allergies result in DARK circles under my eyes, and I cannot tell you how many times people comment, “Oh, you look TERRIBLE!” to me during the height of allergy season. It’s always hurtful, and I’m so sorry that she had to hear that!

  3. jani Says:

    So sorry. It is amazing how many people don’t think before speaking.

    Keep your chin up and go on, knowing you’re beautiful and it doesn’t matter what others are thinking.

  4. Life Says:

    Oh, Baby Girl — hug her from me. Don’t bring up why. Just tell her I think she’s a beautiful young lady.
    Is she drinking nettles tea ok? I’ve seen some folks’ allergies, though not as tough as Maddie’s have been, disappear entirely with 1 quart (adult dose) strong nettles tea with honey to sweeten it daily during allergy season. Hugs, Mamma Bear– you’re beautiful, too!

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