28 February 2010

Are you looking at me?

I went to high tea at the National Gallery of Victoria today with a group of girls I hadn't met before. We came together because we are all users of the Vogue Forums.

It was really good fun - they were all lovely and the food was great - there are no pictures because the ones I took on my iPhone are blurry.

When I was walking to the shops then train station afterward with one of the girls, she noticed a man staring at me as he walked by and asked whether it happens often.

I hadn't actually noticed him staring. I hadn't noticed because it does happens so often.

I can't think of a day when I've gone out and not been stared at. I can't think of a day when I haven't had to explain why I look they way I do.

I'm definitely used to it, and as I said, a lot of the time I don't notice it. Family and friends notice it more than me. But it does annoy me.

Sometimes I see people in conversation, then they see me and stop talking immediately.

Other times people stare and comment to their friends, trying to be discreet but I can always see them turn around to look at me before I've even walked past.

People shake their heads at me, probably wondering how I got so sunburnt.

There are kids that see me, stare, point, tell everyone around them how red I am, and their parents sit there and do nothing, or smile and look embarrassed.

I know my looks have scared children. I hate it when they see me then hide behind their parents' legs.

I can sometimes feel people staring at me from behind - they will stare at me when they are oncoming, and then turn around after they've walked past.

Sometimes I feel my presence makes people very uncomfortable. Like they may catch something from me, or they take pity on me.

I hate this.

I deal with it by ignoring them, or smiling at them, or asking if they are ok.

There's a line in a Darren Hayes song, Setting Sun, that reminds me of when people stare at me.

'Do I make you hot?
Do I make you uncomfortable?'


Friends and colleagues say people stare at me and ask questions about my appearance because they are concerned and curious.

I take no excuses. Even if they are children.

One should never stare at another person and point.

One should never comment on another's appearance unless it's a compliment.

Sometimes I just want to be stared at because someone thinks I am beautiful. Sometimes I just want to be wolf-whistled at.

15 comments:

  1. Sorry that you have to endure the rudeness and ignorance of people on such a regular basis and what a sad reflection on society this is.
    If people are concerned they would make a concerted effort NOT to stare or look twice at you (as I often try to do) so that they can be sure they haven't made you feel uncomfortable.

    I also completely agree with you when you said 'one should never comment on another's appearance unless it's a compliment' it stuns me what some people say in reference to others appearance. It makes me want to say - 'did you actually think that was a helpful comment, you've just ruined that persons day instead'

    Thanks for sharing such a personal account of what every day life is like for you.

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  2. That's terrible that you feel this way. I'm all teary now.

    You are beautiful, though. In all your pictures you have the most gorgeous smile on your face. Which is even nicer considering what you have to put up with on a daily basis- besides the horrible stares the physical pain you have to endure.
    I can't even crack a smile! True story!! I get told by people in the street I need to smile because I look so angry haha

    I think happy people are beautiful, especially when your lovely spirit radiates on the outside.

    And this is going to sound completely vain and condescending, but getting wolf whistled at is really not all its cracked up to be. I find it really threatening. But that's just me!

    Don't let other people get you down. I bet there are a tonne of people out there who would give you nice compliments; but I think people in general just don't hand them out as often as we should.

    xx

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  3. Thanks so much for your comments, girls :)

    Your compliments means a lot.

    Today's staring didn't get me down at all. I guess it just happens so much to me that I wanted to write about it.

    The times it does get me down are those in the heat of summer when seven people ask me if I am sunburnt.

    I don't think people realise the impact they have on others by commenting on their appearance.

    A friend asked me my opinion on whether it's ok to ask someone about their appearance because they are concerned or their kid wants to know. I said it's not ok because if one person asks another person about their appearance, chances are many others have done it that day too, and it gets tiring.

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  4. Carly, you are an amazing woman! Thank you so much for sharing this. People just don't get it do they!!

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  5. Thanks for the handbag challenge. I will do it this week. You are a brave soul and a Survivor. Keep the Faith. Who came to your vogue meet? I went to one in 2005. Stay STRONG Carly.xxxx

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  6. That guy is lucky I didn't say something to him, along the lines of "What exactly are you looking at?" As it didn't bother you, I tried not to let it bother me.

    I think you are gorgeous and love it how you don't let others get you down.

    Am doing the High Tea post now :) Will put your pic up so u can steal it for this blog lol

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  7. you are amazing carly!!! you are a warrior!! I have so so much respect for you + am in complete awe of your intelligence, charm, beauty + inner strength. you are one in a billion, woman!!!

    xxx

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  8. Even though we've never met, I can tell from your photos that even on your worst and most painful days, you are beautiful!

    To my eye, kind people are absolutely radiant, while insensitivity and stupidity mask any sort of outer beauty a person may have.

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  9. Being stared at is the worst!! It sucks that people are so rude! (I do hold exceptions for those from cultures where staring isn't considered rude, although I'd REALLY like to tweak those cultures ;P) I'm usually trying not to look at people when I have to use the wheelchair or even the cane/crutches because I don't want to be bothered by their stares - I had a woman circle me while I was sitting in the wheelchair at the shops once, just staring! I can't always walk straight when I can walk and I find people like to stare at the wobbly person too - they'll just stare at anyone who's different!

    It can be so draining, I think you do fabulously not to let it bother you too much - your integrity just makes you more beautiful!!

    xx

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  10. Hey thanks everyone for your kind words and compliments - it's been a buck up! I am very flattered :)

    FF - I met about 8 voguettes inc Aspiring Goddess - it was a lot of fun! Pics up at http://domesticdivinity.blogspot.com

    Caf - that really sucks you get stared at in a wheelchair :( You don't have two heads.
    As for the cultural staring - I find this very difficult and have had some rude encounters. A whole separate blog post!

    Ruby's Raiser - thank you so much for your kind words from across the seas. I know you're such a compassionate person just from the great work you do raising your puppy.

    Nikki - great to hear from you! Thank you for your lovely words - you are amazing :)

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  11. Aspiring Domestic Goddess - thanks so much for putting the pics up - my picture looks very nice! Thanks so much for the compliment. It was nice to meet you and I hope to see you again xx

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  12. The ignorance of some people really baffles me, it really does. Manners and politness costs nothing, but unfortunately this isn't the way or the world. There will always be ignorant people out there, it's all in how we cope or deal with these situations.

    I've had my fair share of stares, rude comments and name calling because of my skin. ALthough it really hurt deep down, I never let it show and always gave as good as I got. It still happens now, but thesedays I just shrug it off.

    I too would much prefer it if people would just come right out and ask me about my skin rather than stand there gawping, making themselves look like idiots lol. The way I see it is, I don't actually feel embarrassed for myself when these situations occur, I feel more embarrassed for the person being ignorant, staring etc.

    An example, I was on a bus going into town a few years ago when I was getting off there were two lads in their late teen behind me. They noticed my skin and I could 'feel' them staring and braced myself for the comments - funny how you know when to expect them when you've experienced these situations so many times. As soon as I got off the lads walked ahead of me and started talking about me "Did you see the state of her neck, she looked like she had Rhino skin" My initial reaction was that I was upset, but in a split second I stopped myself and thought "hang on a minute Rhino's are cool, they're big strong animals who take no messing" and ended up taking the comment as a compliment lol. One of the lads turned round to see if I was still there and was surprised to see I was, I made sure he knew I'd heard what he said... not by saying anything by just giving him a look. He put his head down and looked quite embarrassed.

    I had one kid call me alien hands another time.

    I could go on but I won't lol But yeah, they say ignorance is bliss but.......

    Thanks for another great blog Carly. Stay strong xx

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  13. I think you're amazing. And gorgeous.

    I've only visited your blog once before and I lurked *blushes* but I truly thought you were very beautiful when I saw your pic.

    I know that some of the folk staring are rude but some will be staring in admiration too, because you literally glow and people like me (closet hippies! I'm big on energy and auras etc) will be in awe of your beauty and positive energy.

    You're spectacular <3 xxx

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  14. Sometimes people can be so aweful! I would say ignore them, but that is easier said than done. I get that! Know that there are more people in this world that aren't like that, good people. I really truly believe that!
    Blessings,
    Dana

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  15. You do have a great smile. If we are ever to cross paths I'll wolf whistle at you and you'll think "man, that is really overrated and obnoxious". I promise!

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