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

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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.

Originally published: September 18, 2016
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