The Disguise of Contentment

Stephen Hawking

 “I can’t disguise myself with a wig and dark glasses – the wheelchair gives me away.”-Stephen Hawking


 The Disguise of Contentment

by: Ronovan

Do you have certain thoughts when you see an elderly person slowly getting out of the car in the handicap spot at a store? What do you do when you see an elderly person in a store having to use a walker to walk with? What about those with obvious disabilities?


If you were to think about it honestly, you probably don’t give it a second thought. That’s who is supposed to be using those parking spaces and walkers, right?


I recently changed my Profile Picture back to my real photo. I was hesitant to do so because I was worried it would take away from the impression one gets from my writing. I know how when I read someone’s work the image used does sometimes add or take away from what I am reading but eventually I no longer even see the person as I read more and more of their work.


Now, look at my picture. You see a man that’s 6’1”, fairly clean cut, broad shouldered, some say rugged looking. I think rugged means someone who has been out in the rugged weather to much and is worn out looking, but okay, I can agree with that. When I wish I can assume the role of a bulldozer in crowds, politely so and people tend to get out of my way. This has usually occurred in the past when someone has held onto my shoulder and others are holding onto them in order to follow me through the crowd. Teenagers love me for this.

The rugged guy is leaning on a rail over a beautiful river, and somewhat smiling at the camera or at least not frowning. In other words you see the picture of contentment.


Arthur Erickson

“Illusion is needed to disguise the emptiness within.”-Arthur Erickson

I’m the one that gets out of the car slowly from the handicap spot. I don’t use a walker in the grocery store, I lean on the cart instead. I’m the one that walks slowly forcing anyone with me to take their time. I’m the one that people have to get things from the bottom shelf for.


I’m the one that people look strangely at as he gets out of the car. I’m the one they look strangely at as he shuffles through the store. I’m the one that gets left behind as people walk on ahead. I’m the one that can’t get anyone to help get things from the bottom shelf.


I’m the one leaning on the rail for support. I’m the one hoping he doesn’t fall into the river as spasms of pain shoot through his body. I’m the one holding his dark glasses so he can have a normal picture of himself while hoping the earplugs blocking out the sounds don’t show up. I’m the one hoping the smile reaches the eyes in time before the click of the camera happens.


But what do you see?


Do you get yelled at as you get out of the car because you ‘look’ healthy? Do people stare at you as you shuffle through the store because they think you are on drugs or drunk? Do store employees chuckle when you ask for help as they walk away believing you are in jest?


Did you have to spend two hours of pain in a car . . . one way . . . to have your picture taken over a river? Do you have to hear the grinding of neck bones and the snapping and cracking of back bones every time you take a step?


Do your fingertips ache and hurt and feel like nails are being hammered into them every time you hit a letter on your keyboard? Is that keyboard your only escape and healing and chance at distraction and happiness? Do you pound the nails deeper or give up happiness?


I didn’t write this as a complaint about some of what I go through. I wrote this to show you that you don’t know what is on the inside of a person. I don’t go around wearing my illness and pains on a t-shirt or make it obvious. Just know that when you see people that there is a reason they are the way they are. Maybe it’s not a physical thing, it might be they are shy and don’t want to be bothered. There is a reason for it. Respect it. I walk slower, I move slower, but I ‘look’ healthy. And I am fine with that.



But here are some things I am not fine with:

  • A relative, knowing about my amnesia telling me to not forget about my family and then saying it was his attempt at a joke.
  • A person assuming that if I build up the courage to ask for help that I am just joking
  • A person assuming seeing me walk upright at a decent pace means I have been faking it
  • A person assuming because I have a blog and type a lot that I must be okay
  • A person assuming that because I can type that I am not exhausted and barely hanging on
  • A person assuming that because I can give words of encouragement and love that I must not feel pain inside
  • A person assuming that because I feel pain inside that I cannot give honest words of encouragement and love


Two things made me think to write this, one was a comment recently and the other was a thought I had.

 “Friends may not know who you are, but they’ll never forget who you were.”-Ronovan


“The best live among us in disguise.”-Louis Dudek


© Copyright-All rights 21, 2014.


31 thoughts on “The Disguise of Contentment

  1. I can empathize with you Ronovan. I do not know exactly what it’s like, but I do know that people judge outward appearance, and this sadly seems like it will never change.

    Just like some one who suffers from PTSD or severe depression, some may think they are fine. “come on, get over it, move faster, enjoy life.” These people don’t realize that there is a battle of massive proportions withing. The slightest sound or smell may paralyze them. Some have illnesses that are not seen outwardly, but like you mentioned in may too painful to even roll out of bed.

    My husband was like you at one time because a traumatic brain injury. He walked slowly and would pull to the right. He couldn’t not handle loud noises or quick motions. People often misunderstood. He was an athlete in top shape most of his life. Many did not realize how much he suffered.

    Thank you for writing this. More people need to be aware that strength on the outside does not mean you are in tip top shape. Everyone has a story and a struggle that no one knows.

    Mahalo Nui Loa!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ahh yes, I more often than not feel the same way. But in another aspect since I’m small and people assume that I always need help. Alas, what a world we live in is. But I’m not losing hope that more would be aware. And I’m glad you posted this.

    I hope you the best though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing this Ronovan. Raw, personal and very brave. At the end of the day, we’re the only ones to know our stories. I often wonder what’s going on for people who think they know them better than us!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ronovan, what a very touching post. i know you didn’t write it to throw yourself a pity party, but it touches home with me. my husband suffers depression and chronic pain. he puts on a happy face when in public, yet at home he’s himself. and i get tired of it. this helped me see things through his eyes a little.
    i don’t want to be that bitchy resentful wife that i am becoming. thank you for sharing such a private part of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How brave of you to write this post, to speak such truths. I am full of admiration and understanding. Though I don’t oft speak of such things (about myself) out loud. We are judged, no matter who we are. People can only see the world from the perspective between their ears. Much Respect, and thanks for your heartfelt post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello handsome. I really enjoyed and appreciated the way you wrote this. I am so happy you shared your picture with us and some of the things that you’re going through. There are many of us out there that have physical frailties that hold us back, it gives us hope encourage when others write about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow – this is a powerful and honest post. Thank you for your courage Ronovan! Thank for the wake up call.
    p.s. I was thinking you look quite Scottish and would look good in a kilt 🙂


  8. Wow. I came to read your humor post and checked out your other stuff. Quite well rounded. And terribly real, always a good combo.

    Thank you for sharing your perspective, as a reminder to ‘look past what we can see’.


    • Thank you. I just visited your site and love the layout. I enjoyed your About page. I always check that before I decide to Follow someone. So I clicked like and Follow. 🙂


      • Thank you for taking the time to look around, and the follow. Yes, some of us have visible trauma, others, not so visible. One of the things I truly enjoy about WP is hearing the voices of others, and learning from them.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I read this in a daily motivation book recently:

    “Impatience with other people is one of my principal failings. Following a slow car in a no-passing lane, or waiting in a restaurant for the check, drives me to distraction. Before I give God a chance to slow me down, I explode, and that’s what I call being quicker than God. That repeated experience gave me an idea. I thought if I could look down on these events from God’s point of view, I might better control my feelings and behavior, I tried it and when I encountered the next slow driver, I levitated and looked down on the other car and upon myself. I saw an elderly couple driving along, happily chatting about their grandchildren. They were followed by me – bug-eyed and red of face- who had no time schedule to meet anyway. I looked so silly that I dropped back into reality and slowed down. Seeing things from God’s angle of vision can be very relaxing.”

    I guess what I am trying to say Ronovan, is to please pray for us for we know not what we do! And personally, regardless of who or what you are, I look forward to reading your writings every day and truly appreciate the time that you give to others that are maybe trying this blogging thing for the first time, you truly made me feel comfortable posting my thoughts and ideas.

    God Bless!


    • Thank you. I am thinking my article has come across more negative than I intended. I really just wanted to share what it’s like on the other side. The truth people make an opinion in an instant without realizing it.
      This song in a way speaks to it. I shared it with another blogger who was facing returning home for the first time after making some life changes. He was concerned about their understanding him and his understanding them.
      Thank you for the comment and the time and consideration you put into it.
      Much Love and Respect


  10. Sometimes, when I ask for help I guess people think I’m just joking or maybe they’re afraid to help me. My biggest problem is I have a speech impairment which makes it hard for people to understand me. I’ve come across people who just are not willing to take the time to understand what I’m trying to ask them when I try to ask for help. Personally. I find some people who don’t want to take the time to try to understand me very rude.


    • Thank you for commenting and sharing. There are times when I have similar problems. I have Fibromyalgia and it can just almost knock me out and I go into a Fibro Fog and my speech gets slurred and sometimes I just say the wrong words. It frustrates me. I usually end up giving up because I get so tired of trying and just leave what I am doing if I can’t figure out how to get whatever it is I need myself.
      I know that’s not the best way to do it, but sometimes you just get tired of fighting against the rudeness.
      But I always pull myself out of it and end up okay. I shared this today because I wanted people to realize there is more out there than they know.
      Again, thank you for sharing.
      Much Respect

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Personally, I can’t view the post as a negative one or take it in that perspective. You are shedding light on a subject that you have exponential knowledge, because it directly affects you; in turn it also promotes encouragement to others.

    The entire piece is wonderfully written, sharing a part of you that you might not have intended, however, letting everyone know that you are most definitely human. 🙂 I congratulate you on taking these strides, sharing your story, posting a real picture of you…I’ll stop rambling and just say – Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Health conditions which don’t show themselves in a plaster cast or other visual indicator can be difficult for others to accept. Those with them can be classed incorrectly as malingerers, particularly if on a good day they manage to do something they weren’t able to do the day before. It can be so difficult for the sufferer – the day they managed to actually climb the mountain is the day others may question if there is anything wrong with them in the first place so instead of a feeling of pride in there is suspicion. That well known phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is so very apt for people with invisible health conditions. Well done for highlighting this so well 🙂


  13. It almost seems pointless to reply to this, Ronovan, when so many others have said it all already… including you with that last line. My partner looked healthy, moved fairly well… even when the benefit fraud showed up on the doorstep two weeks before the cancer killed him. He’d been reported for cliaming social help when he was ‘obviously faking it’. He also had generalised, severe and acute arthritis that made every step painful. And a pride that hid that when he could.

    I have a damaged spine… some days it stops me, others I win. Pain, mental and emotional illness… all invisible except to the few who know you well enough to really see.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. An amazing post, Ronovan, and one that took courage to write. And I can relate, too, because of my arthritis and four (yes, four) joint replacements. I look at people with walkers, canes, and wheelchairs a whole lot differently than I did when I was young. Well done for writing about this issue and good on you for the strength with which you face each day.

    Liked by 1 person

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