The Art of Not Being Subtle (at all)

Last week I was in a shopping centre with no makeup on – feeling a bit conscious, and if I’m honest – a bit hungover. Birthday week and all that. I was about to head to another birthday party and was definitely not looking my best.

I wanted to put my make up on, but is that a thing not to do in public? Would everyone be watching? I don’t know. I thought about doing my makeup in the loos, but didn’t want to take up time if anyone was waiting for them outside. After oohing and arhing I decided to head to a nearby cafe. The waiter asked where I wanted to be seated, I replied: “somewhere in a corner that I can hide”. He looked at me, with that knowing look, I know I know, it’s pretty hard for me to hide… being subtle is not my thing. I laughed and said, well as much as possible anyway.

What is it like creeping up at midnight to get a quick snack? Tiptoeing to the fridge? I wouldn’t have a clue. When you rely on a device to get you from A to B that clicks at every move it’s pretty hard to be subtle. My version of getting a midnight snack includes a lot of clicking, reversing forward and back to open the doors and trying to grabber available food. Eventually, all the doors are scratched, the whole house is awake and the dogs end up stealing my snacks.

The key, of course, is to get the emergency snacks in close proximity just in case.

Hearing “now then trouble, I knew it was you!” Or “ere she is, I can hear her a mile away!” Is pretty common. Sometimes it can get tiring. People overemphasising my presence, covering nerves with jolly intense welcomes. Bending down to my level in the proposal position and giving me a cheeky pat on the head.

Stares are part of the everyday routine, some days you see them more than others. Going to the train station and the assistants shout “WHEELCHAIR COMING THROUGH”, you cannot tell me you don’t go a little bit red at that. I would smile and weakly thank the grumbling crowd as I pass them behind the assistant.

As I’ve got older I realised not being able to just be me, quietly do my own thing did affect my confidence when I was younger. I would subconsciously be used to this attitude and want as little fuss as possible. I would enter a room and wonder what reactions I would get. I’ve learned that ultimately, not being subtle is ok and I actually embrace it now (most days). This is something that’s part of the package and actually, it can provide pretty funny moments. Like the waiter trying to hide a 14 stone, metre wide wheelchair in a open plan cafe…

If you’re the person who makes a big deal when meeting disabled people, let us unsubtlies sneak in – smile and carry on doing our thing. And if you’re someone who can’t be subtle either, welcome to the club – let me know your cringy unsubtle moments too!

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