>First Impressions

I’m terrible for making snap judgements, especially when I first meet someone. I think it’s kind of similar to how I automatically assume that everything that happens to me is because of my CP even when it blatantly isn’t (which is something I got very stuck on and very upset about yesterday). Both things related to thinking I know exactly what the situation is, what’s going on and what’s going to happen next. I’m finding a lot lately that I’m having to reevaluate my assumptions – those pesky first impressions.

Recently I briefly spoke with someone and within a couple of minutes I’d decided I didn’t like them. Part of it was an innocuous but very annoying comment they made. But the big thing was this: I was moving round a tight space. It’s one I do often but it’s a bit of a squeeze and to save time I’d decided to go backwards a tiny bit then turn. I misjudged it slightly and needed a second attempt. My left foot had spasmed off my footplate sometime before this (before I met them) and the person I was talking to obviously thought my foot was part of the problem as without saying a word reached down and moved my foot back onto my footplate. Not on. Rude, inappropriate, belittling and just plain wrong even though they clearly meant well. It spasmed back off immediately as well.

So I was prepared that we would have our conversation and we’d both do what we needed too but this was most definitely not going to be someone I thought well of afterwards. I tried not to let on they’d annoyed me and after a few minutes calmed down.

And as we talked I came to realise my first impression had been wrong. They weren’t the sort of person I’d willingly spend time with but they weren’t a bad person or as patronising as I’d assumed from their earlier actions. In fact as they shared a little of themselves beyond what had bought us together I came to see something of who they really were. Someone with a lot of courage who could teach me a lot.

Then there’s tonight. I decided to go for a bit of a wheel in my manual as I needed both fresh air and exercise. My neighbour has this friend who it seems is always there. He’s basically harmless but full of it and often talks at me and no matter what I say will not stop (true story I once went in from my garden because nothing I said would get him to go while I was still there). Others who know him say the same thing.

As I wheeled up the path from my front door the friend came out of next door with his girlfriend. He said hello and asked how I was, quickly catching up with me. All I could think was how I shouldn’t have left when I did because knowing him he’d grab my chair and start pushing.

But he surprised me. He asked “are you going this way?” and when I said no replied that he would have offered me a push if I had been. Then he commented that it was good I was wheeling myself as I’d build up my strength. I agreed and told him I’d have said no even if we’d been going the same way for that very reason. His final comment was that his sister has Spina Bifida and uses a chair too.

I was surprised by both of those conversations but in a very good way. First impressions can be very important – but I’m definitely going to take a bit more time before coming up with them from now on. And be more open to changing them if experience shows me I should.

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