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Wednesday, 27 January 2016

PSA: Don't get on my bad side!

"There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil."
Ayn Rand

Today I am making a public service announcement.

Don't get on my bad side. 

I mean literally my bad side. When I say 'my bad side' I don't mean the side that will cut a bitch or the side that doesn't photograph as well. Although I'm sure I have those too, I mean my right side. I'm sure some of fellow disabled readers will perhaps be able to relate to this, but my right side has always been my 'bad side'. My contractures are worse on that side, I have arthritis in my hip on that side, it's my weaker side and - finally - it's the side I find it difficult to turn to.

The latter is what this post is about. I have written some about my social anxiety before and some of it stems from the fact people don't realise I have a bad side. So I'm constantly worried when I'm in public that I can't turn to see on my right and that someone might sneak up on me or I might miss someone by accident and seem rude. When people unwittingly speak to me from my right side I worry I might seem disinterested because I'm not turning to look at them properly, giving them closed off body language. I've felt like this when I've been at ice hockey games and have people sitting to the right of me. When they tried to interact with me I've not caught it properly and then I've just felt incredibly rude and antisocial. I miss most of the social cues.

Now, you're probably wondering why I don't just warn people. Or why I feel so bad about it when I know it's not my fault or intentional. Firstly, unless I wear a sign that says 'approach from the left' I can't warn everybody. And it's the people I unwittingly snub that I feel worst about. Secondly, I can't help hating the idea of seeming rude to anyone. Even when I know I'm not, I will anxiously and irrationally dwell on it for a long time, going over the interaction and dissecting it. I'm sure others with social anxiety and even general anxiety can relate.

So that is what led me to writing this public service announcement. So if I bump into any of my readers (as has happened at hockey games) or go to any meets, some of you will at least now know not to get on my bad side. Or at least you'll understand why I'm not able to fully turn to the right if it's the only side available.


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