Get A Good Look! It Is OK To Stare At Me And My Arm!

In most cases I am telling the parents of children, “It is OK for them to stare at me. They are just curious.” Blog #38 of “40 Blogs in 40 Days about 40 Podcasts” is all about my being stated at by other people. Sometimes I find how parents react to their kids looking at me to be both disconcerting yet understandable. It is a lottery pick trying to guess what their reaction to their children staring at me will be or the response to me if I say something about it. There are times I feel that some parents are more uncomfortable with themselves when their children are looking at me. Maybe they think I should be the one who should be uncomfortable or even upset. It is as if they are more concerned about how I feel than the interested curiosity of the child. These interactions I see in other people because of me is a most intriguing part of my one-handed life. Most of the time parents know most children are curious and bold as part of the youthfulness of early life. As a result they know questions in their children will arise. Then there are the not-so-cool times when parents reprimand their kids or make them wrong for staring at me and wanting to ask me questions. Depending on the level of “un-coolness” I see, I may not do anything except smile at the child. Regardless of how these interactions unfold, they are simply part of the life I live. 

Most of the time the parents are relieved I am very open and willing to talk to their kids. Often they are quite gracious and thankful when we have our turn to talk to one another. In some cases I have heard the parent tell their child to come over and ask me why I only have one hand. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. In these situations I need to “extend the spirit” of my personality to help them see I am open and approachable for Q&A. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. What is so special about these “win-win-win” situations is all three of us receive a benefit. The parents know I am open and kind as they watch me interact with their kids. The children get all the answers to all their questions for as long as the moment allows. This helps both of them realize I am OK with who I am and how I was born. They also learn with some people it is OK to be curious, have a look, and ask questions. I benefit by just being that one person with a different kind of body that makes it OK to be curious, have a look, and ask questions. As cool and special as these interactions are, not all of them unfold that way.

Children, Staring, Curious, Disability, Social Etiquette, Q&A, Questions

Sometimes young children are unsure if it is OK to stare at AlejAndro or ask him questions. Though AlejAndro is open to the observation and questions of children, sometimes the parents are not so open and understanding.

An average amount of the times I see that the parents are unsure of how to manage the situation. They do not want to suppress the curious nature of their children or have me become upset or offend me because of what their child is doing. Often I go over there and tell the adult, “It’s OK for them to stare at me. They’re just curious.” Once I see the parent is comfortable with me being observed by their child, I then ask the child if they have any questions for me. If they answer right away the game of Q&A has begun. If they hesitate a bit out of shyness I might say, “Well, now would be a good time to ask a question because you might not see me again.” That usually does the trick. Most of the time the parents jump in and start asking a few questions of their own. Now both parent and child are asking questions and feeling pretty good about themselves and the situation.

On other fewer occasions parents have shunned their kids from looking at me as if there was a problem with looking, being curious, or by how I was born. It could be the parent who is really uncomfortable and just transferring that unto the child. Or it could be any number of other issues. Regardless of the reasons, I have seen some adults treat their kids very unkindly because they wanted to look or are staring at me. When the feeling is right I can say what I usually say and the situation can be diffused. But this is not always the case. I have had parents tell me they, “don’t care if it is OK or not! I do not want my kid staring at people!” Other times I know there is not much I can do and I leave with situation as it it. I find these types of interactions to be the most difficult for me to observe.

As hard as it was for me as to be looked at and stared at a child, I am very comfortable with it right now. I actually welcome it and invite it. People have stared and observed me my entire life. I am sure this will go on like this for my entire life. What works for me is the extending of the generosity of my spirit. By allowing other people, especially children, to look at me and ask me questions they can see I am OK with who I am. And to be the condition of other people’s comfort and inspiration is an invaluable quality of my one-handed life.

To hear the story of my one-handed fashion revolution I invite you to click on the link and enjoy my One Hand Speaks Storytelling Podcast Episode OHS040.

Please feel free to share this blog or my podcast and I ask you to offer a comment with your opinion and feedback! Thanks!

AlejAndro Anastasio

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