The title for this post was prompted by a remark my son Daire made to a schoolmate who
obviously made a comment when he saw me drop Daire to school one morning.
“Would you like your dad to look like mine?”
It was said in anger, and out of love for his dad. And I’m very proud that he reacted the way he did. I know he said it because he also wanted to protect his dad from others who might be prompted to say the wrong thing about me. And, as far as I am aware, there were no other
issues involving my kids. In fact some of their school friends have grown up like my two and even follow me on social media!
I was thinking of Daire’s words the other day, though, and the words of another blogger about the depths of our tolerance. Here’s the thing: Would you like to look like me? And if not, why? Are you reading my blog out of curiosity about me or pity? Could you handle my life and deal with my everyday experiences? Could you take people staring at you and try not notice those piercing eyes? Could you avoid hearing snide remarks directed at you – words that hurt the core of your very being? Could you step outside your comfortable life with my face and hold your head high knowing that you look different?
Well, I can. I get up every day, step outside my comfort zone – my home – and make the most of life. I cannot change my face but I can change my attitude. And I have. I’m tolerant of
other people’s thoughtless words and actions, their inability to handle facial difference. I shove all that to the side whenever I meet it, switch off and remember I have conquered most of my fears and triumphed.
Every day of my life is a victory, a reason to celebrate my fabulous wife, Trish, and my wonderful children, Daire and Sarah Jane. I’m so grateful that I stopped feeling pity for myself and realised not everyone cares about facial differences.
You may not want to have my face, but you need to face me – and others with a facial difference – and not feel uncomfortable, pity, or horror. We are people just like you – can feel hurt and love, despair and delight. Think of that the next time you meet me or other facially different people.