Throughout the years, there have been some really outrageous, ignorant comments I’ve gotten regarding my foot from complete strangers. It’s a wonder how some people actually function socially when they can be so insensitive. I used to get embarrassed and let it get to me, but now I realize how hilarious some of these responses are. Now I just laugh, and that honestly is what gets me through the awkward encounters because it’s not like I have to live with these people. Here are a few of the most ridiculous comments I’ve gotten about my CLOVES foot. (And mind you, these are all total strangers that decided to get into my business.)
1. Whoa…!!!! (pointing)
Um…yes? Are you going to finish that sentence? I had a grown woman just straight up point at my foot, stare, and say…whoa…? Now what do I even say to that? Are you wondering what’s going on down there or are you just going to stand there and not use your words? You are a grown woman, probably in your 40’s. You can use your words. And your brain, while you’re at it, but that pretty much went out the window the minute you started pointing. Sometimes you just don’t know what to say to some of these people. I think they need to take a class on building social skills.
2. Wow, that’s pretty cool.
What’s cool? The chronic, irreversible syndrome I was born with and will continue to live with? The pain, the inability to wear shoes I like, and the rude experiences with people like you that damaged me growing up with this syndrome? Is that cool? Sorry for the pessimism, but I’m not sure I exactly understand what people are trying to say here. Lots of people don’t have filters–they just say whatever they want without thinking first, not knowing how it’s going to impact the person you’re talking to. I mean yeah, it’s cool being unique and learning to gain the willpower and courage to deal with people like you every day of my life. But honestly, it’s really not cool living with a rare disease that has little to no treatment options but yeah, okay, thanks for your interest.
3. Those are funky shoes! (laughing)
This always puts me in such an awkward position. Every time someone says this, I literally have no idea what to say. Uhh…okay? They’re the only custom-made shoes I can wear so thanks? I usually just go for the “no, this is my foot, I was born with CLOVES” to speed up the painfully awkward tension between us. And in my experience, they just continue to laugh awkwardly and say “ohh.” Honestly, it’s hilarious how crappy some people are at being around people who are different than them!
4. Oh myyyy, what happened?!
Do you want the long story or the short version? So many people think I broke my leg or am wearing a boot so they automatically go to this question, wondering what the hell happened that could EVER make my leg and foot swell that big?! Sometimes, I’ll tell them I got bit by a shark when I was little and it never healed properly (although sometimes I can’t even get that sentence out without laughing). And that look on their faces is priceless. Sometimes you’ve just gotta have fun with it! I’ll probably never see most of these people ever again, and they’re already being ignorant making these absurd comments, so I may as well make something up to scare the crap out of them. Some light entertainment, if you will.
5. Do you have your brother’s shoes on?
Uh, what? First of all, why do you care? Let’s mind our own business. Second of all, why would I have my brother’s shoes on? This comment just baffles me! I got this when I was really little, too. What kind of question is that, especially for a child? There is just no logic in this conclusion they made, and it’s honestly hilarious. I just wonder what goes on in people’s heads.
And my very favorite…
7. What is THAT? (aggressive pointing)
When I had an older lady say this to me, she literally pointed and stared at my foot like there was a flesh-eating monster clinging to my leg. I almost wanted to be like “OH MY GOD WHAT IS WHAT?!?” as if there was actually something on my leg and start trying to shake it off and freak out. I honestly was appalled at this lady and looked at her like, did you really just say that? When I told her about my syndrome, she sighed and said, “oh my, well at least you can walk.” …..Yeah, well, at least I never have to interact with you again after this. This was by far the most shocking response I’ve ever gotten about my foot. Some people really just don’t know how to talk to people who are different.
What I’ve learned throughout all of this is that people (especially strangers) can be so ignorant and rude, but that’s just the way the world can be, unfortunately. You’ve got to have some fun out of it and realize how stupid some of these reactions are or else you’ll just become worn down. What’s amazing is that you will most likely never have to see these people again. They’re the ones who have to live each day saying something stupid to people around them, creating their own awkward situations and making themselves look like total jerks. We get to laugh about it and move on with our own lives, knowing we are a little more mature than those people. It takes strength, willpower, and resilience to get through these unreal situations with unreal people, but it’s possible.
And adding a little twist of humor to it never hurts.