Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

On Making Assumptions and Giving People a Break

“Oh, to be her,” I thought, envying her beauty, her wealth, her career, her mind. Her life seemed perfect. Her life was perfect, at least to me, until we became friends. One night, after a movie, we were walking and laughing, trying to figure out whether to go to dinner or to a bar.

That was the first time that I heard her make a self-deprecating comment about herself. I was shocked. She was stunningly gorgeous. 

Except that to her, she wasn’t. She saw her almost wide-ish hips, hair that was not blonde enough or dark enough, and thought her height – which was majestic and model-like to the rest of us – was freakish.

***

LizziLove told me a story about a little boy with special needs. He was likely on the autism spectrum, had developmental delays, and some behavioral issues. His mom got “The Look from others, often.” Judgement. The “control your kid” and the “what the eff is that kid’s problem?” looks. One day, they got him a wheelchair. Know what happened?

People treated him with kindness and respect. They were compassionate. Once he had a physical reminder that he was different, people were forgiving. Less assuming.

***

My son Tucker gets looks at the bus stop some days, from other kids. He’s been bullied, and doesn’t realize that it’s bullying. I don’t know what people assume. Today, he tried to duel with an older boy using his umbrella. The older boy didn’t know what Tucker meant, said “sorry,” and continued to walk with his friends.

“Tucker!” I said, “That was not nice!” Tucker asked “Me, or him? Who wasn’t nice?” He really didn’t know. 

“Yes,” I replied. “What you did wasn’t nice.”

He burst into tears, saying that he meant it as a joke. Maybe there was a conversation on the bus that I wasn’t aware of. I don’t know. 

I do know that having assumptions about other people is natural, and I also know that our assumptions about other people are most likely wrong. My little boy, speaking too loudly? He’s developmentally delayed, and excited. He didn’t speak at all three years ago. His words, even the loudest of them, are a gift to him, to me, and to this world.

The perfect-looking woman we’re jealous of? She’s like you. Like me. Like all of us. She farts, has crampy icky periods, fights with her loved ones, and sees more flaws in herself than we do. I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that. 

assumptions make an ass out of you and me - findingninee.com

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post where writers and bloggers finish a sentence prompt. This week’s sentence is “I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that…” hosted by me, and co-hosted by Ivy Walker, famous weeniebutt and this week’s sentence thinker-upper at Uncharted,  and Roshni from Indian American Mom.

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  • allie - Well, you know what they say when you assume – the making an ass out of… But seriously, it blows me away about the wheel chair. SO not cool. Maybe that’s why they make t-shirts now for kids with autism, “I have Autism, what’s your problem?” I had every intention of writing this week, but I didn’t very late night last night and never quite got my act together r- plus kids are home this week on break and it’s rained very day. Every. Day. Still scratching my head about your text – I didn’t not understand. Call me…October 1, 2015 – 10:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Allie! I actually made a meme out of that ASS-U-ME. And yeah, I hate the wheelchair story. It makes me so sad. And It also makes me sad that a kid would need to wear a tshirt saying that he’s got differences in order for somebody to accept. Sigh. SIGH. Also if you decide to play, the linkie code stays open until noon on Sunday. When’s a good time to call?October 2, 2015 – 7:42 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - Ouch Yet another wake up call that we really don’t know what’s going on with someone else. Whether it’s their marriage, their kids or their opinion of themselves.October 1, 2015 – 10:15 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - It took me so long to realize that self love and acceptance is more powerful and healing than any hatred anyone could ever face. If you live your self and your child cruelty just bounces off of you. It doesn’t stick and you can keep moving forward but it took me a bit to realize it!October 1, 2015 – 10:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It really is so much more powerful and healing. It’s also harder for whatever reason which seems WRONG.October 2, 2015 – 7:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine Organ - We’re all in this together, aren’t we?October 1, 2015 – 10:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I have a friend who sounds similar to yours…she’s hot, and exotic looking with great everything and she doesn’t see it, or feel it. She’s constantly doing things (ie, botox, plastic surgery, etc) to her appearance, and it saddens me. I talk to my dudes a lot about making assumptions about others or about situations…the grass is NOT always greener, but it takes a long, long time for all of us to realize that. And, I think with social media and everyone broadcasting their “highlight reel” instead of their real true MESSY life, we can easily assume that everyone else’s life is so much better.October 1, 2015 – 10:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Ach, Emily. My friend is that too. And does the same. What’s UP with that (sys she who also tried Botox and was allergic).
      Yes. Let’s start doing the messy life.October 2, 2015 – 10:55 pmReplyCancel

  • Shay from Trashy Blog - Your story about Tucker and the umbrella brought tears to my eyes. Our kiddos are so innocent and all we want to do is protect them, but it can be so hard. I take pride in getting to know people–and the more difficult they are, sometimes it’s the harder I try. They usually end up being huge softies. Or huge dicks, but hey, at least I tried. 🙂October 1, 2015 – 10:56 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love that you try, especially because I know both of our pasts mean that we might not. They ARE so innocent and FUCK. Really.October 2, 2015 – 10:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Angel the Alien - Powerful story about the wheelchair! I will always find it strange how society is somehow trained from an early age to be compassionate towards someone who LOOKS like they have a disability. (Not saying that all people are compassionate, just that it is encouraged by most self-respecting people.) Yet if someone is ACTING differently from what we’d expect, our first reaction is fear, and maybe dislike. When I worked in the camp for kids with sensory processing disorders over the summer, there was this awesome 7-year-old boy whose mother was always dressing him in shirts that said, “Autism is my superpower,” or “Oops, is my autism showing?” etc. Some people would think it is odd to advertise autism on a shirt… but I think it was his mom’s way of telling the world, “My son has autism! Got a problem with that?”October 2, 2015 – 1:08 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Angel, I kinda hate the story about the wheelchair. I mean so not fair that we don’t assume people have issues when we can’t see them. I also get it about the t-shirts but that makes me sad, too. We shouldn’t have to explain what’s going on on our insides for people to be compassionate.October 2, 2015 – 11:00 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - My grandfather always said, “Don’t ever assume, because if you do you make an ass out of you and me!” He was always making play on wrods like that, but seriously never truer words were spoken and to this day I always try my best not to assume anything about anyone, because he was indeed so very right about this. And still loved your post tonight, because I couldn’t agree with you more about this if I tried.October 2, 2015 – 2:07 amReplyCancel

  • Julie Martinka Severson - We really are all in this together when it comes right down to it, all of us carrying fears, insecurities, need for acceptance and belonging. I loved how you tied these two scenarios together. I don’t want that perfect lady to feel flawed or have crampy-icky periods, but you know, it’s always comforting knowing somebody else does, too, especially those you think have everything going for them. A good reminder that everyone has a story within, and it’s not always as rosy as it may look.October 2, 2015 – 2:34 amReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - Ah… YES. I love the examples you shared here, my friend. It’s just so sad and natural for people to have their own assumptions about people, isn’t it? I have had those mom moments too- assuming the worst, when honestly? My kid had no clue. I wish we could all take inventory of our perceptions, before we respond or even think about another person. Why are we thinking this? Is this about them or us? Do we even have enough information to make a judgment call? These are things we each ought to discern…October 2, 2015 – 3:38 amReplyCancel

  • Kerri - I want to punch bullies in the nose.

    The story about the wheelchair? Totally true. Bridget is treated completely different if her braces are visible and/or she is in her “chair”.October 2, 2015 – 10:30 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Wow, it is sad that a physical reminder such as a wheelchair makes us more compassionate.

    Poor Tucker and the umbrella duel. I wonder what the other side of the story was 🙁October 2, 2015 – 12:55 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - So sucky that the wheelchair made a difference. And yeah, I don’t know more about the umbrella duel but I have to wonder if maybe I was in the wrong.October 2, 2015 – 11:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Yup, my Grandfather said that, too – never assume because you just don’t know. That, however, is easier said than done, isn’t it?
    As for the wheelchair bringing about more compassion – that makes me sad. I mean, good for the person on the receiving end of that compassion and understanding. But for those of us and our children who live with invisible struggles, it’s sad. Just because my kid looks one way to you on the outside doesn’t mean she isn’t struggling on the inside. Every day. Just because I look OK doesn’t mean I’m not in pain. But what do you do? Tell everyone “hey, I’m miserable but you can’t tell?” No, of course not.
    It’s a dilemma. One for which I have no answer.
    Anyway.
    I have yet to finish my post…hopefully I will before time runs out on the link!October 2, 2015 – 1:24 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yeah, Lisa, the wheelchair story makes me so sad too. Lizzi told me it last night, and ugh. I pretty much hate it. You’re right. Those of us (us or our kids or both) who struggle on the inside but look normal, yeah. And what is “normal” anyway when it comes to these things?October 2, 2015 – 11:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie Smeltzer - You’re so right that we see more flaws in ourselves than other people do. And yes to the other point, people seem to assume what they see is what they get, but there is so much more that we cannot see. That wheelschair example is so perfect – once people can see the situation and recognize it, they are kind, but when they can’t see the person’s special needs in a physical way, they just don’t understand and can be quite cruel about it.October 2, 2015 – 2:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - I made assumptions about a woman in my kids’ preschool – she was attractive, fairly quiet, and lived in a HUGE home. I assumed she was snotty, for no reason other than stereotypes. Turns out she is one of the sweetest, kindest, and most generous people I know, and she has been my friend for over a decade. I would never share my first impressions with her, because I am ashamed that I made them without even getting to know her. Fortunately I didn’t share my assumptions with anyone else, and I remember them when I start to make other ones in my head.

    “You never know what goes on behind closed doors,” my mom used to say. Or in other people’s wallets, or relationships, or homes. So true.October 2, 2015 – 3:32 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love that story Dana. Same here, with this woman. I knew her for a few years and finally reached out and she’s one of my very best friends today although she lives far away.October 2, 2015 – 11:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Clark Scottroger - simply the basis for, imo, all self-improvement and being more sucessful people, this ‘perspective’ that I read in your Post today. You totally hit the nail on the head in that it is within us to find/realize/adjust to/benefit by having perspective on others, the world and, probably the most difficult of all, our own selfsOctober 2, 2015 – 4:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - I read a quote once that has always stuck with me. It basically says that EVERYONE is struggling with SOMETHING – even it we can’t see what that something is. I try to remember that before I make assumptions and judgements about others, but I often forget.Thanks for the reminder.October 2, 2015 – 7:26 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Lisa, so so true. We all struggle. So much. I wish we didn’t though you know?October 2, 2015 – 11:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni AaMom - Oh, absolutely true! But, people, including me, pass judgment all the time based on a few moment’s analysis.October 2, 2015 – 7:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Nina Badzin, Writer - Demonstrated so well . . . and such a great topic– one that comes to play a lot in my friendship column.October 2, 2015 – 9:45 pmReplyCancel

  • marcia @ Menopausal Mother - It’s amazing how easy it is to assume things about others and their lives when really we have no clue what’s going on inside their heads. I think that being misunderstood is usually what creates so much drama in our lives.October 2, 2015 – 11:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It sad how easy it is to judge. Really and you’re so right that that’s what creates more drama in our lives. Thanks, Marcia.October 3, 2015 – 8:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Sandra - I just want to put it out there that I don’t fart…ahem…when anyone’s around…
    As a nurse, judgement is such a big part of how we give report to one another. It’s awful! If one nurse had a bad experience with a patient, as she’s reporting off to me, for instance, as soon as the bad experience is mentioned, it’s taints my experience with the patient. I go into that room thinking “Oh this is that stupid one” or “these are the people that are going to be on the call bell all night.” And most of the time, I make the best connections with these people.
    And maybe Tucker should have been sticking that umbrella where the sun don’t shine on that other boy…who knows what was said or done on the bus. I get a kick out of hearing about Tucker kicking some ass!October 3, 2015 – 12:18 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL that you don’t fart. Um when anybody’s around. I actually started to a few years ago because I got mad about my husband being able to think that his were funny? Gross I know.
      I know about who knows and I too get a kick about Tucker kicking some ass! Hope you are okay!! At least for now.October 3, 2015 – 11:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Echo - I have always told my son, “don’t judge and don’t assume, it just makes an ass out of you and me and we don’t like assholes, do we?”. I’ve always parented bluntly.October 3, 2015 – 12:42 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You kick ass as a parent. I’ve known this for a long long time, baby. We don’t like assholes.October 3, 2015 – 11:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott Hansen - Even though I’m aware of how judgemental I can sometimes be, and I do not like it and try not to be, I still do it and have to wag a finger at myself afterward. I don’t kno how to stop.October 3, 2015 – 1:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Nicki - Yes yes YES! I tell myself this all the time: everyone has sh*t they’re dealing with. Everyone. Thank you so much for writing, and illustrating, it so perfectly! xoOctober 3, 2015 – 6:12 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG My worst post in so long so figures that YOU would read this one because I admire you. But thanks, and yeah, we all need to shut the fuck up when it comes to judging and assuming.October 3, 2015 – 11:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman - The ability to look more deeply at a person is a learned skill, I think. I try to remind my kids not to judge so quickly (teens are especially adept at this!). We never know if someone’s simply having a bad day or a bad life and our compassion can make all the difference. Plus, it just feels better when we’re nicer, right?! Great reminder K. xoOctober 4, 2015 – 5:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I did have to laugh about the farting. My sister claims she doesn’t fart! But she does have icky crampy periods and fights with loved ones.
    I have spent most of my life just assuming everyone one earth was better than me. It’s weird.
    It’s nice to open up a new perspective.October 4, 2015 – 7:43 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - She claims she doesn’t fart? Like ever? Does she burp a lot? I think most of us assume that others are better than us. Too easy. Let’s be better okay?October 4, 2015 – 8:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Rabia @TheLiebers - Reading people is tough and making assumptions is not wise. My husband just got his arm out of a sling. When we go places, he has to baby that arm until he gets his strength back. I know people think he’s lazy when I’m carrying everything and holding the doors, but the truth is he can’t do it.October 7, 2015 – 8:54 amReplyCancel

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