Being “Different”

I go out each day knowing I’ll stand out. That someone might ask me if I’m OK. Even though I don’t know them. That I’ll struggle to make eye contact, and have enough energy. That I may accidentally walk into something during my errands. That my speech patterns will have a different cadence than those of most people I see. That someone may ask me where I’m from, even though I’m a native English speaker with training in English language, literature, and writing. That a person hoping to spread a religious message or ask for donations is more likely to pick me than a more fluid person. That I may spend too much time walking around a store. That my gait is a little swayed. That I don’t have a super-expressive face or voice. That I may not “see” everything about what someone else, especially a stranger, is trying to get across. That someone may act like I’m a little kid, or slow, or both. And that I’ll forget something I was supposed to do, even if I have a list. Even though I’m very organized. All this happens in a day.

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