This Autumn I am relishing being able to walk unaided and independently. This was not always the case.
This post is adapted from a Facebook rant that I posted early last year. At that time, I was still using a crutch and I was not only self conscious about the way that I walked but also feeling incredibly vulnerable as my balance was still not great.
For one of the first times, I had ventured into town alone. I was walking slowly, concentrating on the pavement in front of me to avoid tripping, when I heard a man’s voice ring out. ‘Oi Pegleg!’. Startled, I looked up. ‘Oi Pegleg!’ he repeated gleefully from the other side of the road. I stopped, looking at him with confusion. He looked at me, smirking, but offering no further insults. It was apparent that he had no motive apart from that one act of public humiliation. I flushed hot with embarrassment and anger at myself for feeling intimidated.
Whilst that was the most unpleasant incident, it became a theme that being out alone, on crutches led to near constant commentary from men about the state of my mobility. Some well meaning, but almost all uninvited and intrusive.
So to the men (and it is almost always men), who think that it is acceptable to yell things at a woman in the street because they are on crutches or walk with a stick, let me answer your questions for you:
1. Yes, if it looks like it hurts to walk, then it probably does hurt.
2. Yes, we are aware that we are walking slowly, please feel free to overtake.
3. No, we don’t wish to discuss our medical history with you, a stranger, in the street, thanks for asking.
4. No, we didn’t injure ourselves doing something frivolous, like wearing heels too high or dancing on tables (unless of course we did, in which case; fabulous, at least we were having fun).
5. No, not all of us are going to ‘get better’, sometimes that crutch is a permanent accessory.
I hope that covers all your frequently asked questions, please carry on being obnoxious somewhere else.