Bare bones outline of a post

There’s this thing where symptoms (broadly defined) that aren’t a serious problem for the person who has them, become a serious problem because other people feel uncomfortable about them.

To the person who has them they’re a harmless nuisance thing, or they’re a problem but there’s a treatment/assistive thing/workaround that fixes the problem reasonably well.

But, in order to go around with this harmless nuisance thing occasionally happening, or to use your workaround assistive whatever, and just get on with your day– before you can do that, you have to get everyone who might see you doing the thing on the same page with you that it’s not a big issue.

Otherwise they might think something is seriously wrong and they need to help you, or they’ll question whether your workaround assistive thing is correct/allowed/necessary, or they’ll just feel really uncomfortable because you’re doing a Weird Thing, a Creepy Thing, a socially unacceptable thing.

People respond to those varied types of “this isn’t normal, something needs to be done” in a lot of different ways, some of them genuinely well-intentioned and even genuinely helpful. But I think the basic reaction behind a lot of those responses– even the helpful ones– is an uncanny valley type of discomfort. That’s the root of a lot of the trouble people have with being noticeably disabled in public. That’s the force we have to counteract to keep things that should be minor problems from becoming big stop-everything issues.


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