To Those Who Stare at Me and Whisper When I Use My Cane


I hear you. I see you.

I hear you say I do not need this cane I am walking with and give me scornful looks as you walk by, older lady at the movie theater.

I see you mocking me and laughing as I walk by, teenagers at Walmart.

I hear you answer your daughter’s question of why I have this cane with “She’s pretending,” stranger on the street.

I do, in fact, need this cane.

I do not have a disability sticker, and I do not have to use my cane everyday.

But I do need this cane.

I have a condition that is very painful, and gives me grief when I move. It is harsh and some days I cannot even get out of bed. My flare-ups send me reeling.

Other days I have little pain, and I can move around. When I can move I use this cane, to prevent the pain from coming.

I use this pain to give me some freedom. Something many of you take for granted. You walk around freely, with no worries about mobility at all, or with an image in your head about who can or cannot use this device. I am here to tell you to erase that image.

Anyone who needs it, at any age, may use it, I can use it.

Please stop your scorn and mockery.

I see you. I hear you.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Chronic Illness

Hand drawn vector illustration or drawing of some people with masks

The Strange Dichotomy Between How I Look and What I Feel

I distinctly remember watching a video my husband taped of me approximately 10 months ago. My mannerisms seemed poised, my speech resonated in an even, pleasant tone, my thoughts appeared collected. But how could this be? I thought to myself, how in the world do I look like this when I feel like junk? Why is [...]
sunrise over houses and neighborhood

The Nighttime World of Someone With Chronic Illness and Insomnia

I’m lonely. I’m going to die too soon. I must write a will. I hope I don’t give my children my illness. I’m a terrible mother and a failure. How am I going to get everyone to school tomorrow? I hurt. I wish I didn’t hurt. Damn it, I forgot to put the washing on. [...]
sketch of person with laptop on crossed legs

Embarrassing Confession: On a Bad Health Day, Facebook Has the Power to Make Me Cry

“I’m so grateful that the Universe has given me [insert amazing career/creative opportunity] and wonderful friends who have donated [insert enormous sum of money] to my Kickstarter so that I can follow my dreams…” the first post on my news feed might say. It occurs to me to wonder why the Universe isn’t doing things [...]
woman holding grocery basket in fruit section of store

The Difficulty of Grocery Shopping When You Have a Diet-Sensitive Illness

We live in a world surrounded with social media, advertisements and the desire to always be more then what we feel we are. Life moves very fast, and it always feels like there is more we should be doing. I tend to feel like I will get left behind and replaced because I am not able [...]