Opinion Piece: “Love Bubble Living” by Whitney Sweet

Love Bubble Living

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine moved to a new condo with her family. It was their first home purchase and they were very excited to move to a new city, one that boasts a multicultural living situation. As a mixed-race family, they were excited to show their son around in a place where he would feel welcomed and fit in among a diverse world of skin colours and people.

Unfortunately, their first foray to the local grocery store was ruined when someone decided to throw shame toward them, for being a family with a white mother, an Indian father, and a mixed race child. Unaccustomed to being watched and judged, this day was an upsetting event for all of them.

Being watched is something that I am used to, we are used to. My husband Paul has Spina B

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[Image description: Paul and Whitney sit on a bench. Paul wears an orange shirt and blue jeans, he has short dark hair. Whitney wears a brown t-shirt and green khaki pants, with a red purse slung across her body. She has short, light brown, curly hair, and glasses. There is a big leafy green tree in the background with a white picket fence. They are visiting Green Gables in P.E.I.]

ifida and walks differently than most people. When we are out, especially someplace new, we are watched. Mostly by children who like to scream out “What’s the matter with that man?” or “What happened to that man’s legs?”, which is especially popular during summertime months when Paul likes to wear shorts, showing off his leg splints while keeping cool. At worst, he is stared at by slack jawed men in their forties while we grocery shop, at best, treated just like everyone else. Mostly, people just watch him, watch how he does things. Or they watch us, together. I’m plus size, and I suppose when we are together, we make an unusual visual for people to look at.  We have developed a coping mechanism for being different, and just as I shared this with my friend, I am sharing it with you lovely people of the internet.  It is the love bubble, and using it goes like this:

  1. It requires actively ignoring those around you. Don’t pay any mind to ignorant people. Now, this doesn’t so much apply to children, who might never have seen the thing that makes you different. They just want to know why you are the way you are, so, they might get a pass, or an explanation if they are brave enough to ask. Adults, on the other hand, you can freely ignore, with no guilt whatsoever.
  2. Have fun. Paul and I always have fun when we go out. We flirt, we laugh, we possibly even make a spectacle of ourselves from time to time. I like to push the boundaries of what people are used to seeing.
    Wedding 1

    [Image description: Paul and Whitney on their wedding day. Paul wears a brown tux, Whitney is in a strapless white dress. There are large green hills in the background, and a moody grey sky above them. Paul holds Whitney’s bouquet, that is wrapped in blue satin ribbon, as they kiss.]

    Nothing too crazy, but enough to show that we are just like them. People who present in a different package are just the same on the inside.
  3. Getting into the love bubble is by invite only. Not everyone is welcome. And you must be okay with that. When you are different, you don’t fit in everywhere. The same goes for outsiders, they don’t always fit inside the love bubble. Who fits and who doesn’t is a personal choice.
  4. The love bubble is a safe space, for just you and your loved one(s). It is also self preservation. Expending energy on mean spirited, judgmental people in this life is just too sad.

I don’t understand why, in this modern time, people should be so cruel to one another. It seems like the biggest waste of energy to judge and purse your lips at how someone else lives their life. I always try to see the beauty of love, and hopefully manage to be an example of beautiful love with my husband. The love bubble helps to facilitate, and protect, the delicate balance that needs to be found for those who are different.

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[Image description: Whitney and Paul pose with their dog Echo (AKA the editor’s assistant). We see just their faces, laughing as Echo pushes his head between Whitney and Paul and mugs for the camera.]

I hope that for those of you who get stared at or shamed, when you go out and about in this world, find these words helpful in some way. They are based on my personal experiences and are my own opinion on how to handle the situation. I would love to know what you do to create your own love bubbles out there. Please share your comments and experiences.

 

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